Remembering Charles T. Manatt

GW Law Alumnus, GW Board Chairman, U.S. Ambassador, Democratic National Committee Chair, Philanthropist, Father, Grandfather, and Husband Gave So Much to His Alma Mater and Community


Ambassador Manatt gave the
2007 GW Law Diploma
Ceremony Address.

The George Washington University is sad to report the passing on July 22 of its distinguished alumnus and Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus Charles Taylor Manatt (J.D. '62).  Chuck, as he liked to be called, was 75 years old.

Ambassador Manatt is survived by his wife, high school sweetheart Kathleen K. Manatt, children Michele, Timothy, and Daniel, grandchildren, and many other beloved family and friends.

A visitation will take place Monday, July 25, at 1 p.m. at Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church (3401 Nebraska Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20016). A funeral in Iowa will follow later in the week.

For more on Chuck's life and work, visit these news sources: APSan Francisco Chronicle, Politico, and the Des Moines Register.

Chuck Manatt with the
Class of 2007.

Statement from Paul Schiff Berman, Dean of the George Washington University Law School

"Although Charles T. Manatt was an important figure for the entire GW community, he will be especially missed here at the Law School. Chuck has long been a tireless booster of the school.  He often attended academic programs and went out of his way to welcome new Stockton Guard inductees.  He also was the driving force behind the Manatt/Ahn Professorship in International Law, currently held by Dinah L. Shelton.  Chuck was passionately dedicated to improving the world around him, and his active engagement in public affairs at the local, national, and international levels is a model for what we hope to produce in a GW Law graduate.  His energy is irreplaceable, and the world is a poorer place without his passion and idealism."

Former GW Board of Trustees member Jean Fugett (J.D. ’81); Sen. Harry Reid  (J.D. ’64) (D.-N.V.);
Interim Dean Roger Trangsrud; Vice Chairman of the GW Board of Trustees Patricia Gurne (J.D. ’69);
and Chairman of the GW Board of  Trustees Charles T. Manatt (J.D. ’62), await the start of the Law
School Diploma Ceremony at the 2005 Commencement.


Statement from W. Russell Ramsey, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the George Washington University

"While the university community, and indeed the entire country, mourns the loss of Ambassador Charles T. Manatt, a great statesman and advocate for education and public service, I am personally saddened by the passing of my longtime friend and mentor. In my 30-year relationship with Ambassador Manatt, he was unfailingly generous with his time and his knowledge. And I learned so much from him about our university community, and the ways in which we all can contribute to and share its vast opportunities. My wife, Norma, and I extend our fond and sincere condolences to Kathy and their family."

Chuck (third from left) welcomes fellow alumni to the Stockton Guard in 2010.

Statement from Steven Knapp, President of the George Washington University

Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law Dinah
L. Shelton with Chairman Manatt at a luncheon in
2007 celebrating the endowed professorship.
Chuck Manatt – as we all knew him – was a prominent public figure, known nationally for his role as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1981 to 1985 and later (1999-2001) for his service as United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. He was also a distinguished alumnus (J.D. '62) and a tireless supporter of the George Washington University and its Law School. He was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1980 to 2008 and Chairman of the Board from 2001 to 2007. He served the university in countless ways, forging relationships with business and government and leading the Board during a period in which the university grew remarkably both in size and in academic distinction.

To help law students from developing countries learn the intricacies of international human rights and commercial rights law, Ambassador Manatt and his wife Kathleen funded an endowed professorship in the international rule of law. He joined Frank Fahrenkopf, his counterpart as former chairman of the Republican National Committee, in endowing a guest lectureship in the Graduate School of Political Management. During his Board chairmanship, the university developed the Strategic Plan for Academic Excellence and approved a fixed tuition and guaranteed aid policy. Under his stewardship, George Washington also became the first university in the nation's capital to reach a $1 billion endowment.

2007 Commencement
In addition to his roles as a statesman and university leader, Ambassador Manatt founded the widely respected law practice of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, and served on the Board of the Wesley Foundation, the Mayo Foundation, the National Legal Center for the Public Interest, and the Smithsonian Museum of American History. He was a member of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Board of Directors of FedEx Corporation, and the Board of Directors of Oak Value Management Inc.

Ambassador Manatt’s extraordinary vision, vigorous personality, and generous spirit will be sorely missed.