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Nelson A. Carbonell Elected Chairman of the George Washington University Board of Trustees

Ellen Zane Elected Vice Chair; Three New Trustees Join Board
May 17, 2013

Media Contacts: Michelle Sherrad
202-994-1423; mcs1@gwu.edu
Jill Sankey
202-994-6466; jpsankey@gwu.edu

WASHINGTON—The George Washington University Board of Trustees elected 11-year board veteran Nelson A. Carbonell, B.S. ’85, its new chairman on Friday. Mr. Carbonell succeeds six-year chairman W. Russell Ramsey, B.B.A. ’81. He will begin his three-year term July 1.

    “I am honored to assume the role of chair of the Board of Trustees,” Mr. Carbonell said. “The university has made tremendous strides under Russ Ramsey’s leadership, and I want to thank him for his service. I look forward to working with the administration, the faculty and the board to build GW’s strengths and continue its growth as a top-tier research university.”

Mr. Carbonell is founder, chairman and CEO of Nelson Carbonell and Associates, a Reston, Va.-based firm that assists middle market companies with strategy, financing, operations, technology and leadership. Mr. Carbonell earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, and was inducted into the SEAS Hall of Fame in 2011.

Mr. Carbonell has served as vice chair of the board for the last six years. He currently chairs the Committee on Governance, Compensation and Nominations; the Committee on Finance and Audit; and Committee on the Science and Engineering Hall, which recently led the full board to approve the construction of a new, state-of-the-art building on the Foggy Bottom Campus. Previously, he chaired the Committee on Diversity and Committee on Development and Alumni Relations.

A successful entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience, Mr. Carbonell founded Cysive in 1993, developing applications for companies seeking to increase their Web presence. Under his leadership, Cysive grew from a basement startup to a successful public company. Using that experience Mr. Carbonell founded Snowbird Capital in 2004, which provided mezzanine debt to middle market companies in North America, before he founded Nelson Carbonell and Associates in 2010.

Mr. Carbonell and wife Michele are also generous philanthropists, offering a $50,000 challenge to spur 50 percent of the class of 2012 to give to the Senior Class Gift. The students exceeded the goal. They offered the challenge again this year to the class of 2013, increasing it to $51,000 for 51 percent participation in the gift campaign, and the students exceeded the goal again. They also established the Nelson and Michele Carbonell Engineering Endowed Scholarship at GW.

“Nelson Carbonell is a clear and powerful advocate for this university,” George Washington President Steven Knapp said. “He fully embraces its aspirations and its vision for the future, both of which his extraordinary strategic intelligence has played a key role in shaping. I am grateful that, after years of effective leadership on the board, he has accepted the additional responsibility of serving as its chair.”


Outside of GW, Mr. Carbonell serves on the board of the Flint Hill School in Oakton, Va. He is a former chairman of the Washington-Baltimore Young Presidents’ Organization, as well as a former member of its international board.

“I want to congratulate Nelson Carbonell and commend him and the rest of the board for the critical roles they have and will continue to play in shaping the university for years to come,” said outgoing chairman Mr. Ramsey. “It has been my privilege to serve GW for the past 15 years and, in particular, to serve as chairman. I am confident the university will continue to see unprecedented success under Nelson’s leadership.”

Dr. Knapp also lauded Mr. Ramsey.

“I want to thank Russ Ramsey for his extraordinary service to George Washington throughout his 15-year tenure on the Board of Trustees, including six years as chairman,” Dr. Knapp said. “On a personal note, it was his vision of what this university could achieve that inspired me, six years ago, to join the George Washington community, and I have benefited tremendously from his support and guidance ever since.”

Ellen Zane Elected Vice Chair; I. Allan From Reelected Secretary
Also on Friday, the board elected Ellen Zane, B.A. ’73, its new vice chair and reelected I. Allan From, B.B.A. ’72, its secretary.

Ms. Zane, a nationally renowned health care leader, is vice chairman of the Tufts Medical Center Board of Trustees and an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Care Research, at Tufts University School of Medicine. Previously, she was president and chief executive officer of Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children—the first woman to run the hospital in its 215-year history.

Mr. From, who serves on the Executive Committee and is chair of the Student Affairs Committee, is a shareholder in the law firm of Howard, Stallings, From & Hutson, P.A., in Raleigh, N.C.

Trustees Elected, Departing
    The board also elected three new trustees to four-year terms.

    Weston Burnett, J.D. ’75, LL.M. ’83, is managing partner of Cohen & Burnett, P.C., Attorneys and Counselors at Law and president and CEO of OptiFour Integrated Wealth Management, LLC. Mr. Burnett graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University in 1972. An expert in international law, including the law of war and law of sea, he previously served active duty with the Navy as a judge advocate, retiring as a senior captain in 2000.

Mark Howard Chichester, B.B.A. ’90, J.D. ’93, is co-founder and president of Atlas Research, a Washington, D.C.-based health care management consulting firm that partners with public and private sector clients to find creative solutions to complex health care challenges. Mr. Chichester also holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Health Systems Administration at Georgetown University. Previously, he served as vice president and executive director of the Socrates Society at The Aspen Institute.

Terry Collins, D.Sc. ’76, is retired from Boeing, where he most recently served as an adviser to the president of Boeing Network and Space Systems. Previously, he was vice president and general manager of the Electronics and Mission Systems division, managing 2,500 employees. Dr. Collins, who also has a B.S. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s of science in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, came to Boeing through the acquisition of Argon ST, a public company trading on the NASDAQ, where he served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Argon ST, Inc. Formerly a part-time professor at GW, Dr. Collins started his career at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and previously served as vice president and general manager of the Falls Church division of Raytheon E-Systems. He was inducted into the SEAS Hall of Fame in 2010 and received GW’s Distinguished Entrepreneurial Achievement Award in 2012.

The Honorable B.J. Penn, M.S. ’80, retired assistant secretary of the Navy for installations and environment; and Sunil Wadhwani, chairman and co-founder of iGate Corporation, will depart the board June 30.

Trustees Emeriti Elected
The board also elected as trustee emeriti U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., B.A. ’77, and Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA, Washington D.C.’s flagship public television and radio stations. Sen. Warner served as a trustee from 1993 to 2001; Ms. Rockefeller served as a trustee from 1996 to 2002.

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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