Ellen Granberg, currently the provost of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), has been selected to become the 19th president of The George Washington University. She will assume office July 1, 2023.
Granberg will replace Mark S. Wrighton, the former chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis, who has served as the George Washington’s president since January, 2022. Per his initial appointment, Wrighton’s term is scheduled to expire at the end of June.
Wrighton had succeeded the previous president, Thomas LeBlanc, whose four-year term was marred by numerous controversies, leading to widespread faculty dissatisfaction with his leadership and mistrust of his administration.
Granberg has been the provost at RIT since 2018. Prior to that, she was the senior associate provost and associate provost for faculty affairs at Clemson University, where she also served as a professor and chair of the sociology department. A nationally recognized scholar in the sociology of self, identity, and mental health, Granberg holds a BA in history from the University of California at Davis and an MA and Ph.D. in sociology from Vanderbilt University.
Prior to pursuing her graduate studies, Granberg spent eleven years in the telecommunications industry, where, according to her RIT profile, “she led large integrated software development teams that replaced aging billing and customer service systems.”
“Dr. Granberg is a proven leader who will reinforce our commitment to teaching and research excellence, enhance our academic reputation and bring together all members of our community to achieve our aspirations for preeminence,” said Board of Trustees Chair Grace Speights. “We are embarking on our third century in a position of great strength.”
Calling it a “great honor” to be selected, Granberg said, “the George Washington University has the quality, impact and upward momentum of a world-class academic institution. I am both excited and humbled by the opportunity to serve as GW’s president. But what really draws me to GW is the incredible community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. I look forward to us all learning from one another and working together to build on GW’s storied 200-year history—expanding our positive influence in the nation’s capital and around the globe.”
Granberg will be the first woman to lead The George Washington University. She was selected after Board Chair Grace Speights announced a 17-member presidential search committee in April, 2022.
The committee was led by Roslyn Brock, a university trustee, and Faculty Senate executive committee chair James Tielsch, and included members from the Board of Trustees, faculty, administration, Alumni Association and Student Association. Education Executives, a national firm specializing in higher education searches, helped conduct the search.
For his part, outgoing president Wrighton said, “I am very impressed by Dr. Granberg’s collaborative academic leadership. That we have been able to recruit such a skilled leader as President-Elect Granberg is a testament both to the work of our community and our potential for even greater prominence in the future. I look forward to assisting in a smooth transition to Dr. Granberg’s presidency.”