Home > Steven Knapp, president emeritus of The George Washington University, named president of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

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The board of trustees of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh has named Steven Knapp, Ph.D., the institution’s 11th president. Dr. Knapp is president emeritus of The George Washington University (GW) in Washington, D.C., where he is currently university professor of English. Prior to joining GW, he served for 11 years as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He will assume his new position on February 1, 2020.

During Dr. Knapp’s 10-year tenure as GW’s president, he spearheaded the university’s groundbreaking collaboration with the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the National Gallery of Art, through which the Corcoran College of Art and Design was transferred to GW and became the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. He was also instrumental in partnering with the world-renowned Textile Museum, which led to the creation of the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, and he oversaw the construction of GW’s new Science and Engineering Hall, which doubled the space available for science and engineering and brought together researchers across disciplines to encourage collaborative innovation.

Under Dr. Knapp’s leadership, GW created its first office of diversity, equity, and community engagement, launched the freshman day of service and other community-service programs, and ushered in new interdisciplinary programs and entities as part of its Vision 2021 strategic plan, including the GW Cancer Center, the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute, the Global Women’s Institute, the Sustainability Collaborative, and the Urban Food Task Force.

“Steve is such an accomplished and thoughtful leader, and a real champion of interdisciplinary collaboration and community engagement,” said Bill Hunt, chair of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh’s board of trustees. “He’s a convener and an exceptional strategist, and he immediately stood out to us as the kind of visionary leader who will be a strong voice not only for Carnegie Museums but also within the greater Pittsburgh region.”

A specialist in English Romanticism, literary theory, and the relation of literature to philosophy and religion, Dr. Knapp taught at the University of California, Berkeley, before becoming a university administrator. He has served on numerous boards and councils, including the boards of the National Symphony Orchestra, the Economic Club of Washington, the Greater Washington Urban League, and the Consortium of Universities of the Metropolitan Washington Area, which he chaired from 2015-2017. He is currently 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. In April 2019, he was elected chair of the board of directors of the Institute for Ecological Civilization. He also serves on the board of directors of Second Nature and on the chapter of Washington National Cathedral.

“No city of comparable size has the wealth of cultural and educational institutions that Pittsburgh enjoys,” Dr. Knapp said, “and no institution contributes more to that richness than Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. Each of its world-class museums is extraordinarily distinguished in its field, and I have no doubt that future increased collaborations among the museums and with the institutions surrounding them will only increase their impact, as well as their contribution to establishing Pittsburgh even more strongly as a cultural and intellectual destination. I am honored and excited to be joining this exceptional family of museums.”

“The Carnegie Museums will benefit from the kind of collaborative leadership Steve brought to the George Washington University,” said Thomas LeBlanc, Ph.D., the university’s current president. “His ability to forge connections across disciplines and between the university and D.C. institutions was a great asset to GW and redounded to the success of our students.”

The author of three books and numerous articles, Dr. Knapp earned his bachelor’s degree at Yale University and his master’s and doctoral degrees at Cornell University. He is married to Diane Robinson Knapp, and they have two children, son Jesse and daughter Sarah.

Carnegie Museums worked with Koya Leadership Partners on the international search for a new president, through which a 10-member search committee spoke with a strong and diverse group of candidates. 

Source: Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

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