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Thomas J. LeBlanc Inaugurated as GW’s 17th President

Dr. Thomas LeBlanc

Campus community attends ceremony to welcome the new president

November 13, 2017

Maralee Csellar: [email protected], 202-994-7564
Lindsay Hamilton: [email protected], 202-994-3566

WASHINGTON (Nov. 13, 2017)—For the 17th time in its 196-year history, the George Washington University inaugurated a new president, formally installing Thomas J. LeBlanc in a celebration that honored GW's rich history, academic accomplishments and aspirations. (VIDEO)

At the ceremony, Dr. LeBlanc received the university’s President’s Medallion, which is worn as a symbol of the office and completes the president’s academic regalia.

In prepared remarks, Dr. LeBlanc focused on leadership and the future of GW. 

"At GW, we choose to lead," Dr. LeBlanc said. "The leadership to which we aspire has four key dimensions: We must be grounded in active scholarship, we must be comprehensive, we must be global and we must aim to achieve excellence and preeminence in everything we do."

He also emphasized GW's commitment to research, saying, "We cannot be content to merely impart knowledge. We must create it as well."

The university's Board of Trustees appointed Dr. LeBlanc as the new president on Jan. 6 and he began his presidency on Aug. 1. From 2005 until he joined GW, Dr. LeBlanc served as the executive vice president and provost at the University of Miami. He also spent more than 20 years at the University of Rochester, including serving as dean of the college faculty in the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering.

Donna Shalala, former president of the University of Miami and a mentor to Dr. LeBlanc, spoke at the Inauguration.

“I've worked with Tom for more than a decade. Hands down, he is simply the best strategic leader in higher education today,” Dr. Shalala said.

GW Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell issued the traditional charge to the president, saying, "I charge you to take your keen understanding of history, your great appreciation for the academic vocation, your knowledge of the world, your sense of humor, your love of learning and your personal integrity, and to combine them all for the benefit of this honorable, now nearly 200-year-old university."

The Inauguration ceremony was held at the Charles E. Smith Center on GW’s Foggy Bottom Campus and included greetings from students, faculty, alumni and staff representatives. Delegates from more than 100 universities and colleges worldwide marched in the ceremony’s academic procession.