Valentines: Debra & Izzet Menase

Debra Menase, CCAS BA ’81, and Izzet Menase, SEAS BS ’82

Debra & Izzet Menase
Izzet hailed from Turkey, and Debra from New Jersey. The future couple was living in Madison residence hall when they were introduced by mutual friends.

“I thought Izzet looked so different from everyone I had met. He had the whole tight jeans, open shirt, European look going on and it caught my eye,” Debra recalls.

Their relationship blossomed at GW; during graduation week in 1982 the couple were engaged. Debra and Izzet were married in New York City and had a second ceremony for Izzet’s side of the family in Istanbul, where the couple now lives.

Today, Izzet owns a leather manufacturing business, Karmen leather, which exports garments to global brands; Debra writes children’s books that have been translated into Turkish and English.

While their trips to GW and Washington, D.C., have been few and far between a particularly meaningful return voyage occurred in May 2010. Izzet and Debra travelled to Washington, D.C., to see their son Ari, GWSB BBA ’10, graduate on the National Mall.

“I loved it. I didn’t realize how beautiful both Washington and GW were,” Izzet says.

Debra agrees. “I looked around and couldn’t believe how fast time flew by. The campus changed so much.”

“GW was one of my greatest experiences of my life,” she adds. “I met my husband and moved to Turkey. If it wasn’t for GW, Ari would not exist today.”

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