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Commencement Speaker Named

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    Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, president emeritus of The George Washington University, will give the 2009 commencement address.

President emeritus of The George Washington University to address graduates May 9

Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, president emeritus and University Professor of Public Service at The George Washington University, will give the 2009 commencement address at Southwestern University. The ceremony will be held Saturday, May 9, at 2 p.m. in the Corbin J. Robertson Center.

Trachtenberg earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, a law degree from Yale University and a master of public administration degree from Harvard University.

He served as president of the University of Hartford from 1977 to 1988 and as president of The George Washington University from 1988 to 2007. He also served as dean of arts and sciences and vice president at Boston University for eight years.

Before his academic career, Trachtenberg was an attorney in the New York office of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and held several positions in the administration of former President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Trachtenberg has written or co-edited several books, including The Art of Hiring in America’s Colleges & Universities, Thinking Out Loud, Reflections on Higher Education, and Speaking His Mind. His most recent book, Big Man on Campus: A University President Speaks Out on Higher Education, was published in June 2008.

Trachtenberg has been recognized for his contributions to education with 16 honorary degrees. The School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University also was named after him in 2007. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“Stephen Trachtenberg’s work in higher education has been transformational wherever he has served,” said Southwestern University President Jake B. Schrum. “The remarkable progress at George Washington University during his tenure should be a case study for all presidents who serve a major urban research university.  I know his remarks at Commencement will be enlightening and inspirational.”

Two hundred and eighty-nine graduates are expected to receive degrees at the ceremony. Southwestern plans to award a posthumous degree to Robert Atkinson, who was struck and killed by a car as he was crossing University Avenue in December 2008.

For those who are unable to attend the ceremony, it will be streamed live on the Internet. For details on how to watch the broadcast, go to

Overflow viewing also will be available in Room 105 of the Olin Building.


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