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A Welcome to the Spring Semester from President Knapp
January 09, 2011
To the George Washington University Community:
Happy New Year and welcome back to campus!
Last semester, we experienced, once again, what it means to engage the world from this nation’s capital.
George Washington hosted a wide range of national and world leaders, policymakers and scholars. They included four Cabinet secretaries, a Supreme Court justice and both the President and the First Lady of the United States.
We joined the White House in hosting a symposium on ways of saving energy and reducing costs in the Federal government. And we launched innovative partnerships with the online journalistic powerhouse Politico and with the world-renowned Phillips Collection.
This semester promises to be equally exciting. Even before the start of classes, we welcomed back to campus the District of Columbia’s newly inaugurated mayor, Vincent Gray, the first George Washington alumnus to lead our city. Mayor Gray joined us courtside last week for the men’s basketball A-10 opener, where he gave the team an inspiring pre-game pep talk and was reunited with his former fraternity brothers and intramural basketball teammates.
Over the coming months, our students will have the opportunity to see and hear from five former White House press secretaries, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, to name a few.
The semester will culminate in May with Commencement on the National Mall, where New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will address the class of 2011. Joining Mayor Bloomberg as honorary degree recipients will be attorney, public servant and civil rights leader William Coleman and arts, education and community leader – and GW alumna – Peggy Cooper Cafritz.
At last year’s Commencement ceremony, First Lady Michelle Obama issued a special challenge to GW students, urging them to continue their dedication to service but “take it global.” I want to extend a special thank-you to the more than 150 students who did just that through the University’s Alternative Winter Break Program. They built homes and schools, planted crops and served as mentors for young people in New Orleans and Central America. I applaud their willingness to use their vacation time to serve others.
Best wishes to all for a successful and fulfilling semester!