Geovette E. Washington Elected as Pitt’s Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Legal Officer

Issue Date: 
July 6, 2015

The University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees unanimously elected Geovette E. Washington as Pitt’s senior vice chancellor and chief legal officer. In this capacity, Washington will also serve as an officer of the University.

Washington currently serves as general counsel and senior policy advisor in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) at the White House. At Pitt, she will succeed P. Jerome Richey, who is retiring from the position effective June 30. 

Geovette E. Washington

“We are fortunate to have an individual with the combination of outstanding professional ability and personal qualities that Geovette Washington possesses join Pitt in a senior leadership capacity,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “She brings a wealth of experience to the position, having worked in private practice, with both corporate and nonprofit clients, and in the highest levels of government. Beyond her professional credentials, Geovette is a truly caring individual who can manage the toughest situations, and as a daughter of teachers, she is passionate about education.”

“I am honored to join the University of Pittsburgh,” Washington said. “As the daughter of educators, I was raised to place a high value on education and, in particular, higher learning. I was able to witness the many ways that education enriched the lives of—and opened doors of opportunity for—their students and so many others. This role allows me to be a part of the community that opens doors and creates opportunities for Pitt’s students and allows me to serve the University in fulfilling its mission. 

“Geovette has been an invaluable member of the OMB leadership team,” said OMB Director Shaun Donovan. “I know I speak on behalf of the entire OMB family and others across the Administration when I say I am saddened to see her go but heartened by the fact that she will be moving into a role that is so close to her heart and where she can make a real difference in the lives of those seeking a higher education and beyond.”

Washington was named general counsel of OMB in June 2013. In that capacity, she is a member of the OMB senior leadership team for the agency that is charged with the overall budget and management responsibility for the federal government. She provides legal advice and counsel to OMB leadership and staff and works with other Executive Office of the President (EOP) offices to coordinate processes related to Presidential priorities. 

Prior to joining OMB, Washington served as deputy general counsel for the U.S. Department of Commerce, from April 2010 to May 2013. She was the second highest-ranking official in the Office of General Counsel for this cabinet-level agency with more than 40,000 employees. She worked closely with the general counsel to fulfill his responsibilities as the chief legal advisor to the Secretary of Commerce and chief legal officer for the department, participating in the resolution of critical legal and management issues, including those of interest to the White House, the Congress, and the public.

Washington’s move to the Department of Commerce followed 14 years as partner and associate in the District of Columbia litigation firm of Baach Robinson and Lewis PLLC (now Lewis Baach), with offices in New York, London, Buenos Aires, and Washington, D.C. She specialized in resolving complex commercial disputes through litigating, alternative dispute resolution processes, and negotiating settlements. 

Earlier career positions included three years as special assistant to Assistant Attorney General Walter E. Dellinger III in the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, and a year as law clerk to the Honorable Aubrey E. Robinson Jr., senior judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Washington is a summa cum laude graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., and she received her JD degree from Duke University School of Law. Active in civic and professional organizations, she has served on the governing boards of Wesleyan College, William E. Doar Jr. Public Charter School for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia.