Seniors marked the end of their undergraduate careers and the ‘Only at GW’ moments they’ve experienced along the way.
By Kristen Mitchell
It doesn’t feel like much time has passed since Alison Tyler, B.A. ‘19, and Rachel Ventresca, B.A. ‘19, moved into rooms opposite from one another on the Mount Vernon campus. The two women were strangers when they came to the George Washington University as first-year students, but on Sunday they will leave as friends.
“I feel like it’s bittersweet,” said Ms. Ventresca as she reflected on her time at GW. “This weekend is a good end to the last four years… I’m going to miss being so close to all my friends, being in the same city and having all these memories together.”
Ms. Ventresca and Ms. Tyler celebrated the end of their undergraduate education during the Senior Class Toast on Friday alongside other members of the Class of 2019. The annual event honors soon-to-be alumni who have given back to the university. This year more than 800 members of the graduating class gave back $79,000 to GW, including more than 200 who committed to sustained giving.
Campaign coordinators Jake Kania, B.A. ’19, and Eleanor Rubin, B.A. ‘19, reflected on the countless memories and “Only at GW” moments the Class of 2019 has shared. This year’s graduating seniors are already leaving a legacy of philanthropy, they said.
“The classes that came before us gave back and continue to give back, and they helped to provide the amazing experiences we’ve had together,” Mr. Kania said. “We’re happy to report the Class of 2019 is doing its part to leave that same legacy for the Colonials that come after us.”
GW President Thomas LeBlanc celebrated the Class of 2019’s achievements and wished the students well as they start their lives as GW alumni. He encouraged students to continue building on their legacy of philanthropy by giving back, volunteering and staying connected to the university.
“I am deeply grateful for the ways in which you have made a difference during your time at GW and for the ways that you have strengthened our community,” he said. “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 home in the heart of our nation’s capital.”
Dr. LeBlanc also acknowledged Nelson Carbonell Jr., B.S. ’85, who oversaw his last Board of Trustees meeting as chair on Friday. Dr. LeBlanc invited him on stage in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom to raise a glass to the Class of 2019 and pose for a group photograph.
As they left the event, the GW Alumni Association gifted a free water bottle to every graduating senior. The Class of 2019 gathered one final time on the National Mall Sunday for Commencement.