Steven Knapp became the 16th president of the George Washington University in August 2007 and retired in 2017. His priorities included enhancing the university’s partnerships with neighboring institutions, expanding the scope of its research, strengthening its worldwide community of alumni, enlarging its students’ opportunities for public service, and leading its transformation into a model of urban sustainability.
Dr. Knapp serves on the boards of the Economic Club of Washington; the Greater Washington Board of Trade; the Greater Washington Urban League; the World Affairs Council – Washington, DC; the National Symphony Orchestra; the Northern Virginia Technology Council; the Federal City Council; and Al Akhawayan University in Ifrane, Morocco. He is chair of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area; chair of the Atlantic 10 Conference Council of Presidents, and co-chair of the Age-Friendly DC Task Force. He also serves as an honorary adviser to the Sulgrave Manor Trust; the Council of Confucius Institute Headquarters; the executive committee of the Maryland-DC Campus Compact; the executive committee of the Council on Competitiveness; and the steering committee of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
A specialist in Romanticism, literary theory, and the relation of literature to philosophy and religion, Dr. Knapp taught English literature at the University of California, Berkeley before serving as dean of arts and sciences and then provost of the Johns Hopkins University. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Modern Language Association. The author of three books and numerous articles, he earned his doctorate and masters degrees from Cornell University and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University.