Message from President Thomas LeBlanc

April 02, 2020

To the George Washington University Community:

As mentioned earlier this week in GW Today, we are extremely proud of how our community has supported and cared for each other in managing the challenges of COVID-19. From our medical professionals who are on the front lines battling this pandemic to our faculty, staff and students who have overcome geographic separation and personal challenges to quickly transition to online courses, we have demonstrated the strength of our bond.

While we continue to adjust and adapt as needed in these times, we wanted to provide an update on the university’s strategic plan. We greatly appreciate the progress the Strategic Planning Task Force and its four committees of faculty, staff, students and Trustees have made in developing recommendations, but the situation has changed. The full impact of COVID-19 is yet to be seen, and it is likely to substantially affect many of the assumptions we made when developing the strategic plan, such as the expected Fall enrollment and effects on future classes. Today, our focus must continue to be on our efforts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community and on enhancing our virtual learning infrastructure. 

With these factors in mind and with a great deal of thought, this morning I met with the Strategic Planning Task Force and recommended that we pause the strategic planning process for the foreseeable future so we can focus on our immediate needs. The Task Force agreed and brought the recommendation forth to the Board of Trustees, which approved pausing the strategic planning process.

Pressing pause on the process does not mean we are pressing pause on our aspirations for the future of GW, but this pandemic is unprecedented, and our world is going to be different when we come out of this.

We are committed to continuing to work together to unlock the potential of this institution. Working with all of you, we will ensure that GW has a preeminent place in history for another 200 years.

While we may be geographically far apart, the closeness and resiliency of our GW community and care for each other’s health and safety is clear. I wish you and your families all the best. We will get through this together. 

Stay well.        


Thomas LeBlanc