Updated: Feb. 9, 2015 at 4:09 p.m.
David Nadler, a trustee who served as a mentor to other board members and to GW administrators, died Thursday after a two-year battle with intestinal cancer. He was 66 years old.
The Elliott School of International Affairs alumnus served on the Board of Trustees since 2011. Earlier, he served as the chairman of the Elliott School’s Board of Advisors.
Nelson Carbonell, the chair of the Board of Trustees, said there was “no replacement” for Nadler.
“What I really appreciated most about David was he was somebody who would engage with you and he was always looking to help, and that’s a quality that made him special,” Carbonell said.
A consultant to chief executives, Nadler launched Delta Consulting Group, a firm that created the practice of organizational change. He later sold the company to Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., a New York City risk management and insurance brokerage firm.
After retiring from his post as vice chairman in 2013, he and his brother started Nadler Advisory Services, a consulting group that works with chief executive officers and senior leadership teams.
Nadler earned his bachelor’s degree in international affairs from GW in 1970. He then earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a master’s and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan.
He wrote books about corporate governance and was an expert in institutional leadership, which made him an asset to the board, Carbonell said.
University President Steven Knapp said Nadler was a personal mentor, and that his experience with different organizations’ leadership teams helped him advise GW officials. He said Nadler also offered input for GW’s strategic plan.
“We all share the same sadness about his passing,” Knapp said. “He had loyal support for our University.”
Nadler’s family has long been tied to GW: His younger brother, Mark, is also an alumnus and his father was a professor.
He donated $1 million to the Elliott School in 2012, creating the Nadler Endowment Fund in Leadership and Governance. That gift helped the school expand its programs related to global leadership and governance.
Nadler is survived by his three daughters, Amy Horowitz, Cara Cook and Katie Nadler; sons-in-law, Andrew Horowitz and Brian Cook; grandchildren, Marley, Alex, Sophie, Emily and Henry; brothers, Mark and Scott; and former wife, Donna Gould.
Colleen Murphy contributed reporting.