An Evening on the Hill With GW Alumni

About 200 politicos attend annual Capitol Hill reception.

Alumni Capitol Hill reception
John Holmblad, M.S. ’80, shares a moment with Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Lerman (Rob Stewart/GW Today)
June 29, 2015

About 200 George Washington University alumni politicos gathered Thursday for a networking reception on Capitol Hill, an annual event hosted by the George Washington Alumni Association that brings together graduates of one of the nation’s most politically active universities.

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Lerman and GWAA President Jeremy Gosbee, B.A. ’98, M.B.A. ’02, provided remarks at the reception, held at the Cannon House Office Building.

“Many of you have opted for public service, something that I think distinguishes the George Washington University in a very positive way,” Dr. Lerman said, addressing the crowd. “So many of our students, and now alumni, care deeply about the questions of governance and how they can contribute in their own way.”

Dr. Lerman provided an update on university projects, including the March opening of Science and Engineering Hall and the May hiring of Eduardo M. Sotomayor to lead the new GW Cancer Center. He also spoke of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Commencement address and how his message—one of service and public good—resonated with graduating students and also aptly describes the work done by GW alumni in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

“It really is a hallmark of GW,” he said. “It’s why so many people come to this university, because they believe it will prepare them for meaningful ways to contribute to society.”

Fernando Cordes, Gregory Simmons, Marivel Simmons and Sayaka Simmons pose for a photo at last week's Capitol Hill alumni reception (Rob Stewart/GW Today)


The annual event serves as a networking social hour for university alumni on the hill. It is a common landing spot for GW graduates. Princeton Review recognized GW students as the most politically active in the nation for the second year in a row last summer. In November, seven GW alumni won re-election bids as members of Congress, including Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), B.A. ’77, and Reps. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), M.A. ’92, and Sam Johnson (R-Texas), M.S. ’74.

Attendees—among them GW men’s basketball Coach Mike Lonergan—included graduates from the public and private sector alike. Gregory Simmons, M.A. ’01, and his wife, Marivel, were there with their daughter, Sayaka, B.S.N. ’15, who graduated in May from the School of Nursing. School of Engineering and Applied Science alumnus John Holmblad, M.S. ’80, was another example of how there are many GW connections within communities. Mr. Holmblad is an information security specialist for the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms. The security, IT and telecommunications consultant is a former adjunct professor of computer science in SEAS and a 2012 recipient of the Alumni Outstanding Service Award.

“We talk a lot about engaging our alumni community in locations all around the world, wherever we find alumni,” Mr. Gosbee said. “But we of course can’t forget that also means here, in the D.C. community, and even here, in small neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, where so many share that GW affiliation.”

Nine current members of Congress attended GW: Sens. Warner and Harry Reid (D-Nev.), J.D. ’64; Del. Pedro Pierluisi (D-P.R.), J.D. ’84; and Reps. Duckworth, Johnson, Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), B.A. ’75; John Duncan (R-Tenn.), J.D. ’73; Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), B.S. ’66; and Steve Israel (D-N.Y), B.A. ’81.

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