Members of Congress, Hill staffers were among GW alumni who attended the annual reception that included President LeBlanc.
By B.L. Wilson
About 125 alumni from the George Washington University attended the Capitol Hill networking reception Tuesday in an ornate fourth-floor room of the Russell Senate Office Building.
The annual event, hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations and the Office of Government and Community Relations, has a special appeal to alumni such as Kenny Ames, B.A. ’99, a creative writing major who went to work for Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) right after graduation. He now works for a private company..
“These last 18 months have been difficult for me to be what I call post-partisan,” Mr. Ames said.
Others, such as Mary Ellen McIntire, B.A. ’15, who now reports for Congressional Quarterly, came to the reception because she wanted to hear and see GW President Thomas LeBlanc. Dr. LeBlanc, along with his wife, Anne, mingled with guests to learn more about the alumni’s experience as students at GW.
In remarks to a packed room, Dr. LeBlanc said improving the GW student experience has been his priority since he arrived last August.
“We want to improve the dormitories. We want to improve the meal plan. We want to improve all aspects of the student experience,” he said.
This is part of the message Dr. LeBlanc has taken to alumni in cities across the United States, outlining his strategic initiatives that also include broadening GW’s brand as a research institution, changing institutional culture, rethinking the relationship among the university’s medical enterprises and strengthening the university’s relationship with alumni.
“We want to be an institution that our alumni want to be connected to and want to give to,” Dr. LeBlanc said.
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), B.A. ’66, and President LeBlanc both gave remarks at the reception, which drew several hundred alumni to the Russell Senate Office Building. (Logan Werlinger/GW Today)
Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), J.D. ’04, also gave remarks at the reception, welcoming the alumni to Capitol Hill. “We have interns come in…, we even hire some actually,” Mr. Soto said, noting that his re-election campaign’s communications director, Harry Kruglik, B.A. ’04, and press secretary, Oriana Pina, M.A. ’16, are GW graduates.
Mr. Soto shared stories of his recent visit to a facility in Florida holding immigrant children and participation in protests against the Supreme Court decision that upheld President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from several countries.
“We live in such challenging and dynamic times right now,” he said. “So I‘m proud of the lessons I learned back in law school that I apply today. It makes you think about human dignity and what is the right thing to do in this nation.”
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), B.A. ’66, also dropped by and stressed the value of a GW education and the alumni network in his more than three decades of public service. He said that when he started in elected office, another GW alumni helped him secure a good bond rating for the small town where he was mayor. They discovered that they shared the same adviser in GW’s Department of Accountancy.
Others came to the reception out of a special affection and gratitude for GW, including Meredith Broadbent, B.A. ’98, who proudly wore her GW alumni donor badge, and Jamie George, B.A. ’10, who said she had just returned from working as a consultant and humanitarian in Lebanon, Myanmar, South Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.
“I had such a good experience at GW,” Ms. George said. “I love connecting with people who had that experience. This just makes me happy like I’m home again.”