Faculty and Staff Share Stories of Giving

GW launched its employee philanthropy campaign at a reception honoring faculty and staff donors.

SMPA Professor Steven V. Roberts shared his own philanthropic journey and urged fellow faculty to help students succeed.
SMPA Professor Steven V. Roberts shared his own philanthropic journey and urged fellow faculty and staff to help students succeed. (Harrison Jones/GW Today)
September 25, 2019

The George Washington University launched its 2020 OneGW Faculty and Staff Campaign with a reception Tuesday evening honoring donors from among the university’s employee community.

President Thomas J. LeBlanc thanked attendees for their commitment to the future of GW, emphasizing that many contributions went toward scholarship funding.

“I personally believe that higher education is the strongest force for social mobility in our country,” Dr. LeBlanc said. “If our education is too expensive, then the only people who can come here aren’t climbing the ladder, they’re up at the top. We’re trying to help everybody climb that ladder, and that’s why scholarships are so important.”

J.B. and M.C. Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs Steven V. Roberts shared the story of his own entry into philanthropy: a promising and accomplished student named Kevin who suffered personal tragedy and who, despite accruing financial aid and scholarships, could not afford to attend the journalism school to which he’d been admitted. Mr. Roberts was able to cover the difference.

“I realized that every year there’s going to be someone else like Kevin, someone who needs a hand like this,” Mr. Roberts said. As a result, he created the Dorothy and Will Roberts Prize for School of Media and Public Affairs students, named in honor of his late parents.

Faculty and staff giving is essential because professors and employees have particular insight into the life of a university, Mr. Roberts said.

“You know what the students need,” he said. “You’re the front line. You every day hear the stories and understand the needs, and that makes your philanthropy that much more critical. You’re the ones who know what student life is like, you’re the ones who can say ‘This is how we can really help.’”

Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Donna Arbide thanked 10 donors who were able to attend the event and who joined her, Dr. LeBlanc and Anne LeBlanc in committing significant leadership gifts over the past year.

“It’s so much easier to go out and ask for gifts when you talk about the commitment that’s already there on campus from faculty and staff—the people that see this great opportunity every day and see the individuals in need every day,” Ms. Arbide said.

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