Stephen Joel Trachtenberg

George Washington University
Academic administrator; Educator; Education and public affairs specialist
Leadership, Policy, and Communications
Educational and Academic Leadership


Stephen J. Trachtenberg is President Emeritus and University Professor of Public Service at the George Washington University (GWU). Trachtenberg served as the 15th president of the GWU for nearly two decades, from 1988 to August 1, 2007. He came to GWU from the University of Hartford (CT), where he had been president for 11 years. Before assuming the presidency of Hartford, Trachtenberg served for eight years at Boston University as vice president for academic services and academic dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Earlier, in Washington, D.C., he was a special assistant for two years to the U.S. Education Commissioner, Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He has been an attorney with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and a legislative aide to former Indiana Congressman John Brademas. At GWU, Trachtenberg started a full scholarship program for DC public school students, increased the national profile of the university, and fostered the observance of school traditions such as George Washington's birthday celebration. During his tenure as president the university created five new schools: Public Health and Health Services, Public Policy and Public Administration, College of Professional Studies, Graduate School of Political Management, and Media and Public Affairs. At his request, the university renamed the public policy school for Trachtenberg, calling it the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. He is the author of numerous books including The Art of Hiring in America's Colleges & Universities, Thinking Out Loud, Reflections on Higher Education, Speaking His Mind, and Big Man on Campus. Trachtenberg has received 16 honorary degrees, including an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Columbia University (2007), a Doctor of Public Service degree from The George Washington University (2008), an honorary Doctor of Public Administration degree from South Korea's Kyonggi University, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Hanyang University (South Korea), and an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from the University of Hartford (1989).

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