Roughly 150 people gathered in the Marvin Center Great Hall Tuesday to welcome Provost Brian Blake to GW.
Blake was named provost and executive vice president early last month and replaced Forrest Maltzman, who announced in April that he would step down from that position at the beginning of November. At the event, University President Thomas LeBlanc said Blake brings “vision” and a “collaborative approach” to the University as officials develop GW’s next five-year strategic plan.
“We’re very fortunate to have Dr. Blake joining our community,” LeBlanc said at the ceremony. “He has a record of transformative academic leadership. I have no doubt he will also be a tireless advocate for undergraduate and graduate students and our faculty across all disciplines.”
LeBlanc thanked Maltzman, who was unable to attend the ceremony, for his service to GW as provost during his remarks.
“Forrest is an institution builder, and he has strengthened our faculty and our institution over the years, and we owe him a debt of gratitude,” LeBlanc said.
About 150 students, faculty, staff and administrators attended the event, including Student Association President SJ Matthews, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Cissy Petty, Executive Vice President Mark Diaz and the deans or interim deans of at least five schools.
Former colleagues of Blake, who served as Drexel University’s provost before arriving at the University, said last month that he brings a “data-driven” and “thoughtful” approach to the role.
Blake thanked LeBlanc for the “amazing opportunity” to serve as provost, adding that Maltzman left “big shoes” to fill.
“I’m so excited to join you and be able to do the best I can in the role in supporting the institution,” Blake said.
While he previously worked at Georgetown University, Blake discussed one tie he had to GW – he said his first date with his wife began in the Marvin Center.
He added that after his experience as provost at Drexel University, he feels prepared to take on his new role.
“After four and a half years I said, ‘All right, well, I’m not perfect yet, but I think I understand the role,’” Blake said. “So coming here for you having this amazing diversity, having a campus that is on meteoric rise, I just want to be the best provost for George Washington.”
Blake said he has three top priorities as provost: supporting LeBlanc’s planned enrollment cut and the strategic planning process, working with deans to improve the University’s academics and engaging directly with students. The deans have the “most insight” into the University’s academics, he said.
Blake added that he wants to be as “visible” as possible and encouraged the University community to approach him when they see him walking around campus and provide feedback about how he can improve in his job.
“Make sure you let me know if there’s something that I can do better or things I can do more effective at George Washington,” Blake said.
Jared Gans contributed reporting.