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Message from President Steven Knapp on the Passing of Former George Washington University President Lloyd Elliott

January 01, 2013

As we begin the new year, I have the sad duty of informing you that the 14th president of the George Washington University, Dr. Lloyd Hartman Elliott, passed away earlier today at the age of 94.

Lloyd Elliott served as president of George Washington for a remarkable 23 years, from 1965 until 1988.  A native of West Virginia, he had begun his long and distinguished educational career as a public school teacher in 1937.  During the Second World War, he served in the United States Navy as the commander of a landing craft.  Before coming to GW, he served as president of the University of Maine.

Early in his tenure at GW, Dr. Elliott led the university through a period of great turmoil in our nation’s history, with much of that turmoil focused on Washington, D.C. He went on to launch GW’s transformation from a “commuter school” into a highly selective residential university.

Dr. Elliott’s profound impact on our university is felt every day by students, faculty, and staff as we walk through the Cloyd Heck Marvin Center; attend a game at the Charles E. Smith Center; or teach a class in the Academic Center, Norma Lee and Morton Funger Hall, Theodore N. Lerner Hall, or Walter G. Ross Hall – all constructed during his tenure.  Among his proudest accomplishments was the building of all three libraries on our Foggy Bottom Campus: the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, the Jacob Burns Law Library, and the Paul Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library.

In addition to his achievements in building the university’s infrastructure, he created the Educational Opportunity Program, established the new faculty rank of University Professor, and increased the number of endowed professorships from three to 20, and he is credited with the growth of the university’s endowment from $8 million in 1965 to $200 million in 1988.  It was in recognition of these many accomplishments as well as his commitment to the study of world affairs that the School of International Affairs was renamed the Elliott School in 1988.

In short, Lloyd Elliott’s visionary leadership set the George Washington University on a course to become the world-class institution of higher learning it is today. We will continue to honor his legacy as we pursue that course into the university’s third century.


This evening, our thoughts are with Dr. Elliott’s children, Patricia and Gene. At a later date, the university will find a suitable way of celebrating his life and legacy. Meanwhile, we will inform the university community about memorial events as information becomes available.