Look Who's Joining the Neighborhood Association
Why, it's Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, outgoing president of George Washington University!
Trachtenberg, 68, announced recently that he is stepping down as prexy of GW after nearly two decades. During that time, Trachtenberg transformed GW from a mid-level, not terribly ambitious school into a high-quality university with a much more secure endowment and much stronger appeal in the admissions arena. He also changed the look and feel of Washington's Foggy Bottom neighborhood, taking over the old Howard Johnson's motel across from the Watergate and turning it into a dormitory, beefing up the school with a slew of new buildings, and making GW more of a local presence by awarding numerous scholarships to kids from D.C. public schools.
But one of Trachtenberg's most persistently trying problems has been his near-constant confrontations with the Foggy Bottom Association, a neighborhood organization that has sought to protect the area as a residential enclave. The association tends to view GW as the "university that ate Foggy Bottom," in the words of a 2002 Post Magazine piece on the dysfunctional relationship.
Now Trachtenberg, never one to grope for words and often just devilish enough to be one of the great characters in our region, tells the Northwest Current that once he and wife Francine move out of the official presidential house in Kalorama, he's thinking of moving to Foggy Bottom.
Whereupon he just might join...the Foggy Bottom Association.
"I've always thought the Foggy Bottom Association needed a calm member," the prez told the Current.
Can I sign up to attend those meetings now?
So far, the association is handling this the best way possible--with class and a welcome mat. "Perhaps as a resident he might have greater sensitivity to the needs of the community," association president Joy Howell told the Current.
This promises to be fun.
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