Charles Toftoy

Dr. Charles Toftoy

Faculty: Emeriti

Professor Emeritus of Management 

Charles Toftoy was born at West Point New York, where his father taught at the Academy. The family traveled throughout Toftoy’s childhood and spent a lot of time in Arlington where his father was assigned to the Pentagon. Toftoy explains,“he actually ran Operation Paperclip and brought the German scientists back here for us… A lot of people say that he was really a pioneer on how we got to the moon. He still is called ‘Mr. Missile’ in Huntsville, Alabama where he commanded Redstone Arsenal. Also, my Dad was in charge of the operation to unarm underwater mines planted by the Germans, so our invasion craft could land safely in WWII.” 

Toftoy attended West Point and recalls, “I’ve never seen anything tougher than that,” but asserts that “By the time four years is over you really have gained self-confidence…good for anything that later you go into - you bring a lot to the table.” He graduated as a Second Lieutenant and went on various military tours. His first assignment was Berlin, where he was designated to guard Spandau Prison, where major war criminals such as Rudolph Hess and Albert Speer were jailed. Toftoy  completed two one-year tours in Vietnam, as an airborne-ranger. In the course of his military service he earned such decorations as the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, seven Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, eight Air Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, and five Army Commendation Medals, among many others.

Between his two tours of Vietnam, Toftoy earned an MBA from Tulane University, which he asserts deserves its reputation as the “Harvard of the South.” He then continued his military career including two Pentagon tours ( Joint Chiefs of Staff & the Department of the Army staffs). After twenty years in the service, Toftoy decided to enter the corporate world, during which time he worked at several high-profile corporations, with positions as a General Manager for Raytheon Service Company, and as the Director of Marketing for Lear Siegler, Inc.

Twelve years into his time in the corporate world, while still working full time, he began to work in academia. He taught in multiple places around the city as an Adjunct Professor (American University, Trinity College, Southeastern University, George Mason University) and in the Executive MBA program at The George Washington University. He liked teaching so much that he wanted to go full time. He explains, “I really liked it. I liked the interaction with the students and I felt like I had enough depth to really offer them something. And I saw that it looked like, in my mind, that I was really helping them and that you could really affect someone’s life…If you help one student…change their path that sets a new direction for them, then the whole teaching journey is worth it. Some of my students are now CEOs and I consult with some of them right now. Nothing is more rewarding than that.”

The degree to which Toftoy is beloved by his students evidenced by the nine Best Teacher Awards he received during his time at GWU, including a dual win one year for both the undergraduate and graduate level - a feat that had never been accomplished before in George Washington University history. He was honored by being selected to GW’s Wall of Fame.

He has earned many corporate and business awards, such as: Restaurant Association of Metro Washington, Associate of the Year Award; Marquis’s Who’s Who; Man of the Year award(twice) and American Honor Medal by American Biographical Institute.

Toftoy brought his wealth of military and  corporate experience during his time at the George Washington University as the Director of the Entrepreneurial Small Business Program. In his classes, Toftoy would pair student teams with a local business. Students would work closely with the business over the semester, and the course would culminate in a presentation about the project in lieu of a paper. The CEOs wuld attend the final presentations in the classroom. His students would learn first-hand valuable lessons about how to run a business, and the businesses would receive valuable assistance for the specific problems they were facing. Through this program, Toftoy and his students assisted around 1,200 businesses over the course of his tenure at the George Washington University.

This remarkable course was recognized on a national scale when Toftoy won the Ernst and Young National Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1999. He was elevated to the Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame as a lifetime member. He recalls it was “really a powerful thing, I never expected to get it…I got it because of what my student teams did.” His program has inspired several other similar programs around the country. 

Toftoy was engaged in the University in substantial ways that went beyond his work in the classroom. He explains, “I loved teaching, I mean that was the main thing. But I tried to push myself to get into more other things than just teaching.” This work included mentoring foreign students, functioning as the advising professor for the women’s basketball team, and heading up a GW program to help the homeless. 

As an Emeritus, Toftoy continues to write the novels he began penning in 1994, which started with the thriller, It’s in the Eyes and the sequel Eyes of Cold Case Killers. His books have featured the GWU campus, and even the women’s basketball team. He’s currently writing a new book with the same characters that is more inspirational in tone. It’s called ‘Amazing Fireside Talks, Intriguing Thoughts To Awaken You’. He explains, “I love my characters - they live inside of me.” He also continues to compete in the Senior Olympics and is on the committee for the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics. He’s competed at the state and national levels. Dr. Toftoy was selected to the Who’s Who, National Senior Olympics Games. 




Audio Clip from Interview