Forgery Bar, one of the newest offerings on San Francisco’s famous Mission Street, opened its doors to George Washington University alumni, parents and GW leadership November 1 for an afternoon of food and wine hosted by GW’s Office of Alumni Relations.
More than 100 guests enjoyed food and wine pairings featuring award-winning wines from Selby Winery, owned by Susie Selby, MBA’ 84, while mingling in Forgery’s two-story space, a PlumpJack Group property owned by John and Ann Marie Conover, parents of GW senior Madeline Conover. Prospective School of Business Students also attended to meet with GW representatives and mingle with GW alumni.
The event featured brief remarks by Mr. Conover, Ms. Selby, GWAA Board of Directors member Aaron Deer, MBA ’00, MA ’00, and Matt Manfra, associate vice president of Alumni Relations, as well as a university update by President Steven Knapp, who announced that the university’s major philanthropic campaign Making History: The Campaign for GW has raised more than $810 million.
“[The campaign] is going to enable us to continue to support our students, to continue to bring in talented faculty and leaders, and help support everything we do so we can continue to be a university that truly makes history,” said Dr. Knapp. “And an important way we [can continue] is connecting with communities like our very strong community here in the Bay area.”
GW has an active alumni network in the Bay area. More than 5,700 alumni and 580 current parents live in the region, and hundreds of students from the Bay area attend GW.
Donor Amisha Sisodiya, BA’15, moved to San Francisco in May for a job at Visa Inc., and said she has great friendships and connections thanks to the strong GW community in the Bay Area.
“When I moved out here, I didn’t know anyone,” she says. “I’m now living with other girls from GW and we’ve been meeting a lot of young GW alumni and that’s been incredible. I’m glad to see so many alumni are out here doing amazing things.”
For Ms. Selby, her experience as a MBA student in the School of Business was “instrumental” to her success as a business owner. Ms. Selby’s passion for wine making was inspired by her father, and after his death in 1997 she used her GW business training to open Selby Winery without partners or investors.
“GW gave me the confidence to decide to stay in the industry and do it by myself,” she said. “I am incredibly grateful to the university.”
A member of School of Business Board of Advisors, Ms. Selby said she is “honored” to stay involved with the university and help students who are interested in entrepreneurship. “I believe in giving back because the school gave so much to me,” she said “I’m a West Coast cheerleader for GW!”
GW Board of Trustees Member and Bay Area resident Art B. Wong, MD ’67, attended the event to show his support for the university. A 10-year member of the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS)’ Dean’s Council, Dr. Wong is an active donor to medical school scholarships, a regional medical school interviewer, and frequent host of SMHS functions in San Francisco.
“GW has meant a tremendous amount to me personally,” says Dr. Wong. “The School of Medicine was the only medical school that admitted me, and so all my success in medicine I attribute to my time at GW.”
Mr. Manfra said the work of “superb” GW volunteer leaders help make alumni programming like the San Francisco reception possible. “GW’s strong alumni networks around the world do an outstanding job of connecting their local alumni to GW,” he said. “No matter where you live, you can still stay connected to your alma mater.”