Stephen Joel Trachtenberg is President Emeritus and University Professor of Public Service at The George Washington University. He served as GW’s 15th president from 1988 to 2007. Trachtenberg came to GW from the University of Hartford, where he had been president for 11 years. He also held positions as Vice President for academic services and Academic Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Boston University, and was the Special Assistant to the U.S. Education Commissioner, Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Trachtenberg is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Phi Beta Kappa. He is on the Board of the Bankinter Foundation in Madrid and the Ditchley Foundation in England. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration. Trachtenberg chaired the Rhodes Scholarships Selection Committee for Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Trachtenberg served on the DC Mayor’s Transition team. He has been on numerous boards such as the DC Chamber of Commerce, which he chaired, the National Board of Trade and the Federal City Council. He was a member of the Board of the Loctite Corporation, MNC and Riggs Bank. He served on the CNO Executive Panel and The White House Fellows Selection Panel. The Secretary of State gave him the Open Forum Distinguished Public Service Award. He received the Department of the Treasury Medal of Merit. Trachtenberg earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University, a Juris Doctor from Yale University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University. In addition, he holds 22 honorary doctoral degrees, including a Doctor of Laws from his alma mater, Columbia University. Trachtenberg and his wife, Francine Zorn Trachtenberg, have two sons and four grandchildren.
Awards & Recognitions
- Proud Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
- Zeta Beta Tau Member
- Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholars
- Coeditor with Ronald H. Stein, The Art of Hiring in America's Colleges & Universities. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1993. (Coauthor with Ronald H. Stein, "Preface," pp. 7, 8.) (Author, Chapter 11, "Conclusion," pp. 169-185.)
- Speaking His Mind: Five Years of Commentary on Higher Education. American Council on Education, Series on Higher Education. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1994. (Rev. by Brenna K. Helmstutler, NACADA Journal, Volume 17 (1), Spring 1997.)
- Thinking Out Loud: A Decade of Thoughts on Higher Education. American Council on Education, Series on Higher Education. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1998
- Reflections on Higher Education. Westport: Oryx Press, 2002. (Rev. by Jim Tresner, The Scottish Rite Journal, 111, No. 1 (January 2003), p. 62.)
- Write Me a Letter! – the Wit and Wisdom of Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, President of The George Washington University. New York: The Cartoon Bank, December 2006.
- BMOC: A University President Speaks Out On Higher Education. New York: Simon & Schuster Touchstone Press, June 2008.
- Letters to the Next President: Strengthening America’s Foundation in Higher Education. Edited by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and Gerald B. Kauvar. Minneapolis: The Korn/Ferry Institute, June 2008.
- Presidencies Derailed, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013 (Coauthor with Gerald B. Kauvar and E. Grady Bogue)
- Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa (L.H.D.), Westfield State University – 2012
- Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa (L.H.D.), Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia – 2009
- Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa (LL.D.), Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan - 2009
- Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa (LL.D.), Excelsior College, Albany, New York – 2008
- Doctor of Public Service, Honoris Causa (D.P.S.), George Washington Univ., Washington, DC - 2008
- Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa (LL.D.), Columbia University, New York, NY - 2007
- Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa (LL.D.), Touro College, New York, NY - 2006
- Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa (LL.D.), Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas – 2006
- Doctor Honoris Causa, Bucharest University of Economics – April 27, 2005
- Doctor of Business Administration, Honoris Causa, Dongseo University, Busan, Korea - 2004
- Doctor of Public Administration, Honoris Causa (D.P.A.), Sangmyung University, Seoul, Korea - 2004
- Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa (LL.D.), University of New Haven, West Haven, CT - 2002
- Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa (LL.D.), Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT - 2001
- Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa (L.H.D.), Gratz College, Melrose Park, PA. - 1999
- Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa (L.H.D.), Boston University, Boston, Mass. - 1999
- Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa (LL.D.), Mount Vernon College, Washington, D.C. - 1997
- Doctor of Medicine, Honoris Causa (M.D.), Odessa State Medical University, Odessa, Ukraine - 1996
- Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa (LL.D.), Richmond College, London, England, 1995
- Doctor of Public Administration, Honoris Causa (D.P.A.), Kyonggi University, Seoul, Korea - 1994
- Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa (LL.D.), Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea - 1990
- Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa (H.H.D.), University of Hartford, Hartford, CT - 1989
- Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa (L.H.D.), Trinity College, Hartford, CT – 1986
News, Events, & Insights
What are the Potential Perils of Ex-Politicians in University Posts? - Times Higher Education
Insights June 14, 2017
The Chronicle of Higher Education: What can colleges learn from Penn State?
Insights April 17, 2017
Named for Rimon’s Stephen Trachtenberg, GW program grants 10 full-ride scholarships
News March 24, 2017
Rimon’s Stephen Trachtenberg discusses the future of college accreditation in his op-ed in the Council for Higher Education Accreditation
Insights March 01, 2017
“Must Rhodes fall?” - Times Higher Education
Insights December 26, 2016
The College President Millionaires Club
Insights December 21, 2016