Charter Day Convocation 2020

We are excited to announce Howard University alumna, trustee and financial industry trailblazer Leslie D. Hale will serve as the 2020 Charter Day Convocation orator during the 153rd Charter Day Convocation on Friday, March 6.

Trustee Hale is the president and chief executive officer of RLJ Lodging Trust, a leading hotel real estate investment trust. Since joining the organization in 2005, she has played a pivotal role in setting and executing the strategic vision at the firm and has held progressively senior-level roles during her tenure. She was appointed in 2007 to serve as chief financial officer, in 2016 she was elevated to chief operating officer and in 2018 she was named president and chief executive officer. She helped lead the successful initial public offering of RLJ Lodging Trust in 2011 and is a member of RLJ Lodging Trust’s board of directors.

In addition to RLJ Lodging Trust, Trustee Hale serves on the board of directors for Macy’s Inc. and has served since 2013 as a Howard University trustee. Other organizational memberships include the Marriott International National Association Advisory Board, the Nareit Advisory Board, the American Hotel and Lodging Association Executive Board and the Industry Real Estate Financing Advisory Council. Before joining RLJ Lodging Trust, Trustee Hale held senior positions at GE, working in the Commercial Finance Mergers and Acquisitions Group and the Real Estate Strategic Capital Group. She was also an investment banker with Goldman Sachs, advising on mergers, acquisitions and corporate finance.


Trustee Hale earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance from Howard University in 1994, graduating summa cum laude (Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society) and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Goldman Sachs and Robert F. Toigo Fellow.

We are honored to welcome home one of Howard’s most distinguished alumni from the worlds of business and real estate. Trustee Hale exemplifies Howard’s motto: truth and service through her career, navigating and championing inclusion for people of color in the top tier of the financial world.

Please join us on March 6 at 11:00 a.m. in Cramton Auditorium as we celebrate Howard past, Howard present and Howard Forward.