As he took the Commencement podium on May 18 to address GW’s newest class of alumni for the last time as president of the GW Alumni Association (GWAA), Steve Frenkil, CCAS BA ’74, took a moment to take on the scene. Like the thousands of young faces looking up at him, Steve, who steps down as GWAA president this summer, was completing a journey of his own.
“I rediscovered GW after 25 years when my son—David Frenkil, CCAS BA ’06, LAW JD ’10—began as a freshman in 2002,” Steve says. “The more time I spent with students, university leaders, and my fellow alumni, the more it blossomed into a love affair with a university that, I had not realized as a young man, had truly changed my life.”
Steve says that the more he talked with other GW alumni leaders, the more he realized that the GW Alumni community was not fully capitalizing on the lifelong and worldwide network of support that existed for Colonials.
“There are hundreds of thousands of alumni across the globe who are the members of the GW family and who have the power to help each other become successful,” says Steve.
That’s been a core part of his commencement message the last two years: Colonials Helping Colonials.
“Colonials Helping Colonials captures, in three words, a critical element of the GW value system and the GW value proposition—that Colonials have a shared commitment to open doors for each other and help each other become successful.”
Steve points to GW being named among the 50 Most Powerful Alumni Networks by Best College Values (ranked #37) just days before Commencement.
“This simply underscores how much alumni—and all Colonials—can help each other.”
Steve’s message to the Class of 2015 echoed that sentiment and touched on Commencement speaker Apple CEO Tim Cook’s call to action: as you go out into the world, you must maintain your passion for inquiry and exploration, but you don’t have to do it alone, your fellow Colonials are here to lend a helping hand.
Be sure to watch GWAA President Steve Frenkil’s commencement remarks in the embedded video above. The entirety of the 2015 Commencement ceremonies can be viewed here.