Friday, December 4, 2009

In the Footsteps of Founding Patron George Washington, Ambassador Mitchell B. Reiss (Ret.) to Serve as 27th President of Washington College

Chestertown, MD -- The Board of Visitors and Governors of Washington College, founded in 1782 with the patronage of the nation's first president, has selected Mitchell B. Reiss, 52, who has served as a U.S. Presidential envoy, ambassador, policymaker, lawyer, author and university professor, to be the College's 27th president.

Reiss will assume the presidency on July 1, 2010, succeeding Baird Tipson, who since 2004 has led the liberal arts college, which is Maryland's first institution of higher learning and the nation's 10th oldest.

"I am deeply honored to have been selected as Washington College's next president," said Reiss. "This is a remarkable and impressive institution. It does something both rare and important. It provides young men and women with the opportunity to think critically, express themselves persuasively and listen respectfully to the views of others. These skills are the very best possible preparation for understanding our world, for contributing to our society and for achieving personal balance and well-being. This is as true in the 21st century as it was when the College was founded in the 18th century. My wife Elisabeth and I are excited to be joining the Washington College family."

In announcing Reiss's selection, Albert J.A. Young, a Bel Air, MD, attorney and alumnus who chaired the search committee, observed that the College and Reiss have connected at a propitious moment. "Thanks to a recently completed $100 million construction effort that has transformed our campus, a pivotal acquisition of property on the Chester River to expand our presence on the waterfront, and a commitment to sound fiscal management, Washington College is poised to make a great leap,” Young said. "Mitchell Reiss, with his sterling academic credentials and rich and varied career experiences, is just the person to continue to move us forward. The search committee is thrilled to secure such a talented, capable leader."

Reiss currently serves as diplomat-in-residence at The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, where he has also served as vice provost for international affairs, dean of international affairs, director of the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies, professor of law at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law, and professor of government.

Taylor Reveley, President of William & Mary, saluted Reiss's appointment. "Washington College has chosen splendidly for its next president," he said. "Mitchell Reiss's accomplishments as a diplomat and as a dean, professor and scholar at William & Mary have been extraordinary."

From 2003 to 2007, Reiss served as President George Bush's Special Envoy for the Northern Ireland Peace Process, the role in which he attained the rank of ambassador. For his service, the State Department honored him with its Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service. He has also served the U.S. Department of State as director of policy planning, where he reported to Secretary of State Colin Powell and helped develop U.S. foreign policy, with special emphasis on Iraq, North Korea, China, Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Earlier in his career, Reiss helped managed the start-up and operations of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), a multinational organization designed to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program; he was also KEDO's chief negotiator with the North Koreans. Reiss was a Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., where he started the Center's nonproliferation and counterproliferation programs. He practiced corporate and banking law for three years at the firm of Covington & Burling and was Special Assistant to the National Security Advisor as a White House Fellow in 1988-89. He has served as a consultant to the Office of the Legal Advisor at the State Department, the General Counsel's Office at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and the Los Alamos and Livermore National Laboratories.

Reiss has published widely on issues of international trade, security and arms control, has provided expert commentary to national and international media, and is a frequent speaker on these topics at conferences domestically and internationally. He has authored three books: the forthcoming Negotiating with Evil: Why States Engage with Terrorist Groups; Bridled Ambition: Why Countries Contain Their Nuclear Capabilities and Without The Bomb: The Politics of Nuclear Nonproliferation. He has served as a co-editor and as a contributing author for more than 20 books, and is published frequently in leading academic and foreign policy journals and in the news media.

Reiss is a cum laude graduate of Williams College, where he competed in intercollegiate tennis and squash. He earned a master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, and received a certificate from the Academy of International Law at The Hague, Netherlands. He holds a doctorate of philosophy in international relations from Oxford University and a juris doctorate from Columbia University. Born in Dayton, Ohio, he grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. Reiss is married to the former Elisabeth Anselmi, whom he met when he was studying at Oxford and she was performing as an actress in the West End of London. Married for 23 years, they have two children, a son Mathew, 19, who is a sophomore at Brown University, and a daughter Michael, 16, who is a high school junior in Williamsburg, Virginia.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College was the first college chartered in the new nation and today ranks among the nation's top 100 selective liberal arts colleges. The College enrolls approximately 1,200 undergraduates from 35 states and 40 nations. With a student to faculty ratio of 12 to 1, the College emphasizes the transformative power of small classes and close connections between professors and their students. Among the College's distinctions are the following:

· The Sophie Kerr Prize, the largest literary undergraduate prize in America, and one element of a flourishing community of student writers supported by the Rose O'Neill Literary House

· The Douglass Cater Society of Junior Fellows which funds projects and research independently initiated by students

· The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, an institute that sponsors the annual George Washington Book Prize for the year's best work on early American History

· The Center for Environment and Society, which uses the College's setting in the Chesapeake Bay region as a learning laboratory to shed light on the reciprocal relationship between humankind and the natural world.
· The Goldstein Program in Public Affairs and its Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture sponsors lectures, student participation in models and conferences, and projects that bring student and faculty together with leaders experienced in developing public policy.

The College is located in Chestertown, MD, named by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America's most distinctive historic communities, approximately 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia.