Alumni Weekend 2012

A thrilled crowd watches Earth, Wind & Fire

As autumn returned to Foggy Bottom, so did more than 2,800 GW alumni, who came to relive their campus experience throughout Alumni Weekend, Sept. 27-30.

Festivities began with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awards on Thursday evening, followed by the Earth, Wind & Fire concert on Friday night. Other signature events included Taste of GW, class and affinity reunions, multicultural alumni events and President Steven Knapp’s Open House.

Friday was packed with dynamic events, including the 50th Reunion Celebration & Alumni Emeriti Luncheon, classes and lectures, an open house for international alumni and students, as well as President Knapp’s Open House, hosted by Steven Knapp and his wife Diane Robinson Knapp.  As the sun went down, alumni, students, faculty and staff gathered at the Charles E. Smith Center for the sold-out official Kickoff Party, followed by a concert with musical group Earth, Wind & Fire.

Not content to leave last year’s bongo performance as a one-time act, President Steven Knapp once again joined the party onstage, this time on the conga drums.

“The highlight of the weekend was seeing conga player-extraordinaire President Steven Knapp jamming with Earth, Wind & Fire,” says Keith Greene, GWSB BBA ’79. “We best be careful, before he is recruited to become a full-time touring member of the band!”

Thurston pride

The momentum continued on Saturday with another full day of events and programs, including Taste of GW, which provided an array of culinary delights from 18 alumni-owned establishments. Additional highlights were a Fun Run/Walk on the National Mall, Classes without Quizzes lectures, tours of campus and Thurston Hall, an entrepreneurship panel, a career advice roundtable and the LGBT Alumni Reception. Several GW schools also hosted events with their deans throughout the weekend.

Barbara Mark, GSEHD BA ’75, who attended numerous events, says the weekend was a perfect blend of reminiscing and creating new memories.

“I had so many wonderful moments, from reuniting with a professor, to taking a picture in Thurston with my former roommate and the current residents of our room, to dancing with my fellow alumni at Earth, Wind & Fire,” she says. “The whole weekend was spectacular!”

Saturday evening featured the Black Alumni Association IMPACT Awards, as well as a reception for current and former Presidential Administrative Fellows, an Athletic Alumni reception, the Latino Alumni Soiree, and reunions for the classes of 2007, 2002, 1997 and 1992. There was also a combined reunion for the 1987 and 1982 classes.

For Sara Neumann, CCAS BA ’07, who helped plan the class of 2007 reunion, the highlight was interacting with fellow Colonials and learning about their accomplishments and paths since graduation.  ” I’m already looking forward to our 10 year reunion and reconnecting with even more GW alumni,” she says.

Sunday’s sold-out political brunch focused on the upcoming presidential election. The discussion featured the latest results of the Politico – GW Battleground Poll, a nationally recognized, bipartisan political opinion survey focused on election politics in the U.S. The brunch was moderated by Mark Kennedy, director of GW’s Graduate School of Political Management, and featured leading Democratic and Republican political strategists Celinda Lake and Brian Nienaber, GSPM MA ’99.

Other final events included the Student Association (S.A.) Presidents Brunch, which invites all former S.A. presidents to gather with President Knapp and discuss GW’s current initiatives. The weekend concluded with the Columbian Women’s Scholarship Lunch.

Bernard Lesavoy, GWSB BBA ‘80, MBA ‘82 , LAW JD ’87,  who attended the 1982/1987 class reunion, called the weekend “a show of force.” Mr. Lesavoy attended the weekend with his family, including his daughter, Haley, who graduated from GW in 2012. “We had a wonderful weekend and were completely impressed,” he says.

GW’s Making History campaign was also on campus throughout the weekend, and alumni stopped by the mobile studio to record and share their unique GW stories.

The George Washington University Alumni Association (GWAA) awarded 11 groups, including Columbian Women, Latino Alumni Association, GW Hillel and the GW Men’s & Women’s Soccer Teams, more than $16,000 in grants to help with their programs and activities that took place over the weekend.

The GWAA thanks Liberty Mutual for its support of Alumni Weekend 2012. Liberty Mutual offers GW alumni special discounted rates on Auto and Home Insurance. More than 2,500 GW alumni have already enrolled in the program. For more information about this alumni benefit, please click here, or call toll free at 1-800-341-5389 (DC metro area call the local Liberty Mutual office at 703-680-6284). Be sure to mention that you are a GW alumnus/a!

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