Seniors celebrated their philanthropy to George Washington University, which will be honored with the creation of a new student community space on campus.
By Briahnna Brown
Brie Charles, a senior receiving a B.A. in speech, language and hearing sciences, was excited Friday afternoon about the comradery she felt among her peers while celebrating her four years at the George Washington University.
“It's just fun to see everybody all in one place to celebrate and literally 'raise high' a glass,” Ms. Charles said. “It's fun to feel like you're a part of this greater community, and GW really does appreciate you. There's some anxiety there, of course, but it's fun to see everybody's lives coming together in such a great way.”
Ms. Charles was among hundreds of her classmates who celebrated giving back to GW during the traditional senior class toast. The soon-to-be-graduates and their families gathered in the Marvin Center Great Hall where they enjoyed trays of cupcakes, lively conversation and complimentary champagne. Seniors were also given a commemorative champagne flute for the toast.
Senior class gift campaign co-coordinators Bethany Perez, who is earning a B.A. in speech, language and hearing sciences, and Luke Scuitto, who is earning a B.A. in international affairs, announced that the seniors gave $140,882 to the university.
They also announced that 50 percent of the class has given back to the university, and a record 16 percent of the class has also decided to make a sustaining gift to the university. The class of 2018 surpassed the class of 2017’s dollar total and percentage of the class making a recurring gift, Mr. Scuitto announced.
Senior class gift co-coordinators Bethany Perez (L) and Luke Scuitto (M) announced the class' record giving numbers, which will be combined with GW President Thomas J. LeBlanc's (R) pledged contribution. (Logan Werlinger/GW Today)
GW President Thomas J. LeBlanc, along with his wife, Anne LeBlanc, pledged to donate $1,000 for every 1 percent of the senior class who made a sustaining gift. Dr. LeBlanc announced that they will add an additional $4,000 to their contribution and will therefore donate $20,000 to support the creation of a new student community space on campus. The new space will be dedicated to the class of 2018.
“I am deeply grateful for the ways in which you have made a difference for your fellow Colonials through the senior campaign,” Dr. LeBlanc told the class. “As you pursue the aspirations for which your George Washington University education has prepared you, we wish you every success.
“May you always think of GW as your cultural home in the heart of our nation’s capital.”
During the toast, Ms. Perez explained that the class’ philanthropy will allow it to leave a collective legacy for which the graduating seniors can all be proud. She said that the 2018 senior campaign gift truly represents what made their GW experiences special.
“Whether it was an organization we were involved with, a scholarship we received or an academic department that became a home for our four years, all of our gifts make a difference for the Colonials who follow in our footsteps,” Ms. Perez said.
Mr. Scuitto talked about “only-at-GW moments” the class shared, such as "storming" the White House and experiencing a presidential election firsthand, as well as studying hard together and demonstrating their commitment to giving back to D.C. and the world.
“As Colonials, we are part of a lifelong and worldwide community,” Mr. Scuitto said. “We know that our class will continue to build on its legacy here and will continue to give back and stay connected to one another and to GW."
The seniors and their families pose for the class of 2018 photo. (Photo: Dave Scavone)