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James P. Hoffa Awarded George Washington University’s President’s Medal

January 29, 2014

MEDIA CONTACTS: Maralee Csellar
202-994-7564; csellar@gwu.edu
Candace Smith
202-994-3566; cesmith@gwu.edu


WASHINGTON—James P. Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and one of the foremost authorities on union issues, has received the George Washington University President’s Medal—the highest honor the university president can bestow. George Washington President Steve Knapp presented the award during a ceremony Wednesday at the university.

“James Hoffa has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of working families, to strengthen both the Teamsters and the labor movement as a whole and to preserve their proud histories,” Dr. Knapp said.

Mr. Hoffa’s advocacy in support of workers’ and union rights has protected thousands of Teamsters and their families. He has been appointed to numerous distinguished posts by both President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush.

A native of Detroit, Mr. Hoffa grew up on picket lines and in union meetings. He is the only son of James R. Hoffa, former general president of the IBT. On his 18th birthday, Mr. Hoffa received his own union card and was sworn in by his father.

“It is an honor to receive this award from President Knapp,” said Mr. Hoffa. “The Teamsters and GW have established a partnership I am very proud of and that will be instrumental in labor education for decades to come.”

Mr. Hoffa is an alumnus of Michigan State University and received a law degree from the University of Michigan. His Teamster career began in the 1960s as a laborer in Detroit and Alaska. Mr. Hoffa served as a Teamster attorney representing members in workers compensation cases, Social Security, and personal legal matters, and represented Teamster Joint Councils and local unions. He has served as Teamsters General President since 1999.

Mr. Hoffa was appointed to President George W. Bush’s Council on the 21st Century Workforce and the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board in 2002; by President Bush to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations in 2003; by President Barack Obama to the Department of Labor Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations and Trade Policy in 2009 and 2012; by President Obama to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations in 2010; and by President Obama to the Department of Transportation National Freight Advisory Committee in 2013.

GW and the Teamsters Union launched an initiative in 2008 to build an educational and research environment to explore the role that the American labor movement and the Teamsters specifically have played in the development of the United States from the late 19th century onward. The records of the Teamsters Union serve as a foundational collection to this initiative.

Established in 1988, the George Washington University’s President’s Medal is given to individuals who have exhibited courage, character and leadership in their chosen fields and who exemplify the ability to improve the lives of others. Past recipients include Mikhail Gorbachev; Walter Cronkite; Israeli Prime Minister and Nobel Laureate Shimon Peres; United States Sens. William Frist and Joseph Lieberman; NASA astronaut Charles J. Camarda, M.S. ’80; Tony- and Emmy-award winning actor Hal Holbrook; jazz legend David Brubeck; Carlos Slim; philanthropist Albert H. Small; and Norma Lee and Morton Funger, A.A. ’52, B.A. ’53.

The George Washington University
In the heart of the nation’s capital with additional programs in Virginia, the George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 130 countries.


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