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GW Honors Scholarship and Fellowship Donors
April 23, 2012
Eighth annual celebration recognizes the generosity that funds recipients’ education.
More than 150 George Washington University students had the opportunity to personally thank the donors that helped make their education possible at the GW Power & Promise Celebration of Scholarships and Fellowships.
Held Friday at the Fairmont Hotel, the annual event celebrates the generous donors who establish and contribute scholarships and fellowships to students at GW.
“The idea of the Power & Promise campaign is to emphasize the power of education and the promise of future leaders we’re educating with the help of the generosity of so many of our supporters,” said George Washington President Steven Knapp. “We want you to know how much we deeply appreciate what you have made possible.”
GW’s Power & Promise Fund aims to ensure that qualified students, regardless of their financial situations, can take full advantage of a GW education, and reduce the loan burden of graduates.
Through Dec. 31, 2011, annual gifts to the Power & Promise Fund grew by more than 18 percent over the past year to $1.28 million Almost three quarters of all annual gifts in fiscal year 2012 have supported scholarships and financial aid or the schools and colleges.
Currently, three out of five GW students receive some sort of financial aid; many receiving assistance from the more than 400 donor-funded scholarships and fellowships. Eleven new endowed scholarships and fellowships have been created this year alone.
Dr. Knapp announced the creation of the GW Power & Promise Fund for student aid in 2008 to increase access and affordability for current and future GW students. Annual gifts for student aid have more than doubled since he arrived on campus in 2007.
Dr. Knapp highlighted key moments for the GW community over the past year, including breaking ground on the new Science and Engineering Hall, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s guest lecture series in the School of Business, the creation of the GW Museum, which will hold 19,000 works of the Textile Museum and the unparalleled Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection and, most recently, the hosting of the Clinton Global Initiative University.
“It’s been a very exciting year,” said Dr. Knapp. “We convene extraordinary events.”
Steven Lerman, provost and executive vice president, described scholarships as the “ultimate pay it forward.”
“I know I personally couldn’t have gone to graduate school without financial aid, and I find it hard to imagine what my career would have been like had I not had an endowed scholarship,” said Dr. Lerman. “I know the students who are recipients of [the scholarships] are really grateful for the rest of their lives.”
Albert Cramer, a senior studying history in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, told the crowd during his keynote address he would not have been able to attend GW without his merit-based and endowed scholarships.
Mr. Cramer, who grew up in Philadelphia, is an only child and a first-generation American. His father is from a village in Germany, and his mother is from Seoul, South Korea. Living what he described as a modest and frugal lifestyle, Mr. Cramer only knew what an allowance was from his friends.
“The concept of even going to college had never been a guarantee for me,” said Mr. Cramer, whose parents were both laid off when he was in high school. “When I told my parents I applied to GW, my dad almost fainted.”
But Mr. Cramer’s merit-based and endowed scholarships made it possible for him to move to the nation’s capital and attend GW.
Mr. Cramer, who most recently received the Thaddeus A. and Mary Jean Lindner Scholarship Fund, has been able to study abroad in Paris, intern on Capitol Hill and go on a service learning trip to Costa Rica.
“GW’s commitment to me was more than temporary but rather lifelong,” said Mr. Cramer. “GW is more than an institution. It’s a community that truly cares about its young scholars.”
Thanks to his scholarship, Mr. Cramer was able to focus more on school and extracurricular activities and less on finances.
“I’m tremendously grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Lindner for their donation. I’ve made every effort to ensure their efforts were not wasted, and I won’t let them down,” he said. “The scholarship was the boost I needed to realize my own potential, and I hope that I’ll be able to give back as an alumnus so future Colonials can live out the same dreams that I had.”