Stephen Joel Trachtenberg

Understanding our electronic age

As our world goes about changing itself at a phenomenal pace into a different kind of place, a school like GW faces all kinds of problems as it strives for self-definition. Should it resist the pull of the internet by making its campus ever more attractive, ever more laden with interest and entertainment? Or would […]

Toasting the class of 2004

Last February a 20-year-old D.C. area university student died in an alcohol-related incident. His passing heightened awareness among Washington’s college students of the tragic effects of excessive alcohol consumption. Last year more than half of all GW disciplinary cases were related to alcohol abuse. On one occasion, federal agents were compelled to enter Thurston Hall […]

What exactly does GW’s president do?

The student, an undergraduate, had a problem. She was getting ready to enroll in GW’s upcoming semester, but had no place to live for a couple of days before the semester actually began. So my wife and I invited her to stay with our family, and over dinner on the first evening of her visit […]

Higher education as a center rather than an alternative

When American universities and colleges underwent their great post-war expansion, most historians agree the motivation was not entirely educational. Millions of young, able-bodied American males were returning from the battlefields of Europe and East Asia. They expected to find jobs waiting for them. And a traditional post-war economic slump could have resulted in serious political […]

`Volunteer Week’ highlights service

As part of GW’s ongoing effort to serve the greater Washington community, the Neighbors Project will sponsor its first “Volunteer Week” Oct. 18-23. The events during the week will celebrate the work that GW student volunteers and work-study students do in the Shaw community through the Neighbors Project: community cleanups, delivery of groceries to seniors, […]

SJT looks to the future as millennium approaches

The “millennial” academic year we are just beginning promises to be one of the most remarkable in the long history of The George Washington University. We will close out a century with pride and begin a new one moving swiftly toward fulfillment of bold and exciting dreams. These are dreams for the place we call […]

Measuring the success of a University

Folks who visit the GW campus see around them all the signs of success. New buildings are under construction. Our students get better and better. Every room in the student residences is occupied. The place bustles with the comings and goings of important people from Washington and other cities. But some of those measures would […]

Our new age of heroic striving

Books that tell you everything’s OK don’t usually sell many copies, so publishers give preference to those that are full of bad news. And you don’t have to roam through too many bookstores – actual or electronic – to learn how sadly we have fallen away from our far superior ancestors. We’re full of weird […]

As world shrinks, what are we?

In the earlier 20th century, the distinctions were clear. America was a place devoted to industrial efficiency. Americans went to Europe for small neighborhood caf?s, long and relaxing lunches, and all of the visual delights that result when things are “hand-made” and “hand-maintained” on a strictly local basis. In those days, Americans who couldn’t afford […]

The future of GW in the Information Age

When a university is doing as well as GW has been doing in recent years, all kinds of temptations arise. There is the temptation to take success for granted and to relax rather than seek out new levels of accomplishment. There is the temptation to take the present shape of the University as its final […]