Regional Volunteer Spotlight: Steve Wyman

Steve Wyman, Elliott School ‘85

City: Falmouth, ME
Role: Founder and chair, Maine Alumni Network

How long have you been volunteering with GW?
It’s been almost a year since I looked at the GW Alumni map and saw that Maine didn’t have an alumni network and decided it was time to start one.

What made you decide to start the Maine Alumni Network?
I was inspired by one of President Knapp’s talks about how GW is the fulfillment of George Washington’s dream of establishing a national university in the capital to educate young people from throughout the United States and empower them to become citizen-leaders. Although George Washington only stepped ashore in Maine once for about an hour 31 years before it became a state in 1820, he was so revered in Maine there is a county and a town named after him and pretty much every city and town has a Washington Street or a Washington Avenue. There is even a lock of his hair at the Maine Historical Society. In less than five years, Maine and GW will both celebrate their bicentennials and I plan to gather with my fellow GW alumni here in Maine to mark the occasion.

What has been the most rewarding part of your volunteer experience?
I enjoy meeting alumni who attended GW either before I did or after I did and updating them on all the amazing changes that have taken place on campus lately including the takeover and integration of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Corcoran School of Art, the openings of Science and Engineering Hall and the GW Museum, and the construction of the National Churchill Center just to name a few. GW was a much different place during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s than it was when I attended in the ‘80s. There were obviously a lot of changes during the Trachtenberg years when I was busy with career and a new family. President Knapp’s decision to live on campus in the renovated F Street Club signaled to me that things were going to continue to change for the better. Thirty years after graduating from GW, I still love visiting campus whether I am back in D.C. on business or with my family. Foggy Bottom still feels like home after all these years but even better with all of the new additions.

How do you think creating a Maine Alumni Network has strengthened your connection back to GW?
I have always been a huge fan of GW’s basketball teams since I graduated and I have also followed with great interest the transformation of the campus and the curriculum. The news of GW’s takeover of the Corcoran Gallery of Art excited me because two of my passions are art and design. Creating the Maine Alumni Network with the help of the GW Alumni Office and getting to meet so many alumni here in my home state to discuss GW’s continuing evolution has made me really appreciate how remarkable my alma mater continues to be and makes me want to help it Raise High in the future.

Do you have a favorite #OnlyatGW story involving an alumni connection in Maine?
After nearly a decade in Washington, I decided to move back to my home state, where I married a girl I had met at a party on Capitol Hill years earlier. We bought an antique cape in this small town outside of Portland and found that a guy who lived in Madison Hall my freshman year and his wife who had lived in Strong Hall were living literally around the corner. College sweethearts Andrew and Jean are still together after all these years and they also are founding members of the Maine Alumni Network.\

Why is it important for alumni to be engaged with their respective Regional Alumni Network?
GW alumni are hard to spot because they don’t usually sport GW logos on their clothing, cars or homes. But they are literally everywhere if you look for them. Take television and music for instance. You can’t turn on the television these days without seeing GW graduates and former students: Kerry Washington; Alec Baldwin; Ina Garten; Chuck Todd; Dana Bash and Clay Travis to name a handful. While most GW graduates I have met aren’t household names, many of them are leading unconventional lives that seek to integrate career and quality of life in creative ways. My friends from my GW years are spread across the country and even overseas so we don’t get together that often because of distance, work and kids. But I have found that if GW alumni get involved with their regional alumni network or form one of their own, they will get to know many other talented GW alumni and their lives will be richer for it.

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