Class of 2024 Raises (a Glass) High at Senior Toast

The annual tradition also welcomed graduating seniors to the GW Alumni Association and celebrated raising more than $9,800 toward this year’s senior class gift.

May 15, 2024

Class of 2024 Senior Class Toast

The undergraduate Class of 2024 was welcomed to the GW Alumni Association at the Senior Class Toast. (Photos: Abby Greenawalt)

The George Washington University Class of 2024 raised a glass to the future Tuesday at GW’s annual Senior Class Toast, packing the Grand Ballroom at the University Student Center to celebrate their years of hard work and to look forward to whatever comes next.

In a noisy, affectionate crowd before the official toast, graduates-to-be ate snacks, took selfies, chatted with friends and reconnected with old acquaintances. The toast is an annual tradition which this year became part of GW’s first Senior Week.

“It’s fun to see all my classmates and join together to celebrate ourselves,” said Lauren Barich, who is receiving her B.S. from the Milken Institute School of Public Health with a minor in economics. Barich said she was excited about the packed schedule of Senior Week, which Tuesday alone also featured Senior Sunset at the Lincoln Memorial and an exclusive nighttime event for all seniors at Western Market’s EXPAT. 

“All the hard work has paid off,” Barich said. “The end never felt like it was close, but now that it's here, it's so nice—we did it, and we all have great futures ahead of us.”

Alex Horowitz, who is receiving a B.A. in interaction design and computer science from the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, just wrapped up work on NEXT, the Corcoran’s capstone exhibition. Seeing her Corcoran peers’ work mature after four years as a close cohort was an underrated joy of her senior year. “We deserve a nice drink after so many years of hard work,” she said.

The toast served as an opportunity to announce progress on this year’s class gift, which has so far raised more than $9,800. Contributing to the class gift “is a way for us to pay it forward and give back to areas that made our time here, in hopes that future Revolutionaries can do the same,” senior class gift officer Zachary Rogalski said.

Finally, GW Alumni Association (GWAA) President Max Gocala-Nguyen welcomed graduates as the newest members of the GWAA and helped shepherd them into position for the traditional group photo, glasses lifted.

“In our [alumni] community, there are 330,000 people—that’s a heck of a lot of friends,” he told the audience. “As such we want you to get involved. That means stay connected with us, update your email, read our newsletter, come to an event.”

Gocala-Nguyen received his M.A from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development in 2016, so he never experienced the toast as an undergraduate participant. Still, the moment was exciting, he told GW Today afterward.

“It feels like unleashing all this potential,” he said. “It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s a real only-at-GW moment: We’re here in the nation’s capital, releasing these graduates on the world who are really trying to do big things.”