President Steven Knapp Announces the Retirement of Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald R. Lehman

March 16, 2009

To The George Washington University Community:

It is with mixed emotions that I announce today that Donald R. Lehman, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, has informed me of his decision to retire from the University, effective December 31, 2010.

Dr. Lehman, a GW alumnus and, as George Gamow Professor of Theoretical Physics, one of the most distinguished members of the GW faculty, has served in his current role since the fall of 1996. Among his many accomplishments were the recruitment of 16 deans and interim deans (including all but one of those currently in office); his key role in the creation of two schools and a major institute (the College of Professional Studies, the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, and the GW Institute of Public Policy); the launching of the Writing Program Task Force and the University Writing Program; and the Strategic Plan for Academic Excellence.

Dr. Lehman will continue to serve as executive vice president for academic affairs through June 30, 2010. From then until his retirement, he will serve as special advisor to the president on science and engineering; in that capacity, he will help guide the University in its ongoing process of planning for the replacement of the aging facilities now housing our scientific and engineering programs and the creation of new space to support innovative research and teaching at the interface of science, engineering, and medicine.

This September, we will launch a national search for Dr. Lehman's successor, with the goal of completing that search by the end of the academic year. When he or she arrives, the new chief academic officer will carry the new title of provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. This change will provide an opportunity to continue the strategic integration of administrative functions that I began last year. Under the new structure, the vice presidents responsible for student affairs and health affairs will now report directly to the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Dr. Robert Chernak, currently the senior vice president for student and academic support services, will become the senior vice provost for student affairs, enrollment management, and athletics. Dr. John Williams, currently the provost and vice president for health affairs, will become the senior vice provost and vice president for health affairs. This change will establish a single point of accountability, immediately below the president, for all academic and student-related programs of the University.

I know that you will want to join me in extending my heartfelt thanks to Don Lehman for his long and faithful service to his alma mater. We will find a suitable occasion to celebrate his many contributions at a later date.


Steven Knapp

Release Date: 
Monday, March 16, 2009 - 4:06pm