Lloyd Hartman Elliott became the 14th president of George Washington University in 1965. When Elliott stepped down 23 years later he had upgraded standards for faculty and students, built three libraries, raised the university's endowment from $8 million to $214 million, gained a legion of admirers, and been named one of the 100 most effective college presidents in the country in a poll of his peers.
The soft-spoken West Virginia native graduated from Glenville State College at the age of 18 and began his teaching career in the Widen, West Virginia Public Schools. He was "dislocated" by World War II and after his military service earned a doctorate at the University of Colorado. He joined the faculty at Cornell University and became the president of the University of Maine before he was recruited to head George Washington.
Lloyd Elliott began an active and fruitful partnership between the university and the business community. Where his predecessor had turned down invitations to serve on corporate boards, Elliott welcomed these opportunities, serving on more than 50 boards locally, nationally, and internationally. He also encouraged GW faculty and administrators to follow suit. "If a university is isolated from the business community, how will they respond when they need our help?" Elliott reasons.
Today the new buildings on the GW Foggy Bottom campus read like a who's who of Washington business - from the Melvin Gelman Library to the Charles E. Smith Center. Elliott also spearheaded the creation of the university's satellite campus near Dulles Airport.
In his inaugural address 25 years ago, Elliott reminded his audience that George Washington had urged the establishment of a center of learning in the nation's capital. "Did he dream that someday the world's heartbeat would be centered on the banks of the Potomac?" Elliott asked. "Did he foresee even then that the university must serve as the world center of serious critical pursuit of truth and knowledge?"