Giving the Gift of Education

Two seniors share the impact receiving scholarships has had on their time at the George Washington University.

Jonathan Rice and Kristen Barnes
School of Business senior Jonathan Rice and Kristen Barnes, a senior in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
December 14, 2015

Kristen Barnes, a senior in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, vividly remembers the day she called home with some exciting news.

“Learning that I was going to receive a scholarship from GW was an important moment I needed to share with my parents,” Ms. Barnes said. “It meant the world to me to be able to call and tell them that they could take a deep breath because a GW alum had put their faith in my academic success.” 

Like thousands of GW students, Ms. Barnes is able to fully embrace her experience at the university thanks to the generous support of alumni and friends. During her four years at GW, the English major has participated in several student organizations, been a reporter for the GW Hatchet and studied abroad in Spain.

During her time in Barcelona, Ms. Barnes promoted events and programs for fellow students as an International Education of Students (IES) Abroad student media coordinator, studied democracy in Western Europe and contemporary Spanish politics and expanded her knowledge of Spanish language and culture as a volunteer with the Intercambio Linguistco language exchange program.

“The opportunity to study abroad was made possible because generous GW donors understand how their commitment to providing the gift of education is what makes students challenge ourselves to think more critically and globally,” she said.

“My scholarship motivates me to achieve my greatest ambitions so that I too can offer a helping hand to another Colonial.”

Three in five students are at GW thanks to scholarships, and support from the GW community helps make that a reality. This year, #GivingTuesday at GW kicked off the university’s month-long “Give the Gift of Education” initiative, which emphasizes the powerful impact that philanthropy has on university students. Support from alumni, parents, faculty, staff, corporations, foundations and friends allows GW to provide scholarships to qualified students who could not otherwise afford to pursue their education at this university.

“December is traditionally a time for family and friends, for looking back and planning ahead,” said Aristide Collins, GW’s vice president for development and alumni relations.  “As we look back over the year, we are thankful for the extended GW family that gives back to provide opportunities for our students to grow into the leaders of tomorrow.”

School of Business senior Jonathan Rice said that it is heartwarming to know that there is a community of supporters dedicated to ensuring GW students receive an education.

The marketing and international business major added that by supporting students, individuals are ensuring bright futures for his generation. “Thanks to all the wonderful donors out there, GW students can realize our dreams and live up to the epic potential each and every Colonial has instilled in their hearts and minds,” he said.

As a first-generation college student from a working class family, Mr. Rice said he knows firsthand the pressure that comes with trying to afford the cost of an education. However, receiving a donor-funded scholarship ensured that he was able to complete his studies at GW and pursue internships and other experiences outside of the classroom.

“My scholarship was life-changing. I was worried that I would not be able to afford my education,” Mr. Rice said. “I am so grateful for the scholarship I received and the opportunities it has given me for academic and professional growth.”

Give the gift of education this December to support GW students like Kristen and Jonathan. Learn more about how you can support students at GW by visiting