Graduation Message From GW Alumni Association President

Jeremy Gosbee encourages graduates to stay connected to their alma mater.

Graduation Message From GW Alumni Association President
May 16, 2016

Good morning! I'm a proud graduate of both the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business, and I have the honor of serving as president of your George Washington Alumni Association.

Today I bring you greetings on behalf of GW's 270,000 alumni, living in every state across the nation and more than 150 countries around the world.

Some of those alumni are with us here today. If you are one of them—if you earned a degree from GW before today—please stand and be recognized. I especially welcome our alumni emeriti, seated here in front in gold caps and gowns—these alumni all graduated from GW 50 or more years ago.

Today is not the end of your relationship with GW—it's only the beginning. You may not realize it, but on the day you accepted your offer of admission from The George Washington University, you joined a lifelong community. In fact, you joined more than a community—you joined a family. And just like your own family, you remain a member of the GW family for life.

Now I realize this may sound a little corny, or like something you'd read in a fundraising letter. But it's real. You share a common bond with thousands of other GW graduates out there in the world. Every time you see someone wearing a GW sweatshirt, or whenever you read about the accomplishments of a fellow alumnus, you'll feel a sense of pride and nostalgia.

What does it mean to be part of a family? It means we help each other. Like every great family, our family has a motto: Colonials Helping Colonials.

This philosophy guides everything we do. Colonials Helping Colonials means we have a responsibility to help one another. We open doors for each other, and help each other face challenges in life.

Today you're going to hear speakers on this stage tell you to go out and change the world. Changing the world is hard work, and it's even harder to do alone. From time to time, you'll need a helping hand. Your Colonial family is there for you, to support you when you need them ...

  • to make a connection that helps you land a job or transition to a new career
  • to find a mentor who helps guide you, or a partner to help you get an idea off the group
  • to find a sense of community in a new city or nation
  • to continue learning new things and express your passion
  • or even just to cheer along with you as you watch your favorite basketball team win a national tournament.

Being in a family also means having responsibilities. But don't worry—it's not like what you might be thinking of—like being forced to make awkward conversation at a holiday dinner with that uncle or cousin that maybe you don't like so much.

Your responsibility to your GW family is to stay involved.

In order to remain an excellent university, and to grow even stronger, GW needs your help. It needs you to give back.

Now I'm not talking just about making donations—although of course I'd love each and every one of you to make a gift to GW every year.

I'm talking about giving of your time and your talents to help future generations of GW students that will follow in your footsteps. Just as previous generations of alumni have supported you, I urge you to do the same.

  • Take the time to participate in a networking event, where you can advance your own career but also help students get a start on theirs;
  • Provide advice to a student interested in your professional field, or mentor a student looking for some guidance;
  • Stay in touch with your professors, and consider coming back to lecture in a class or speak on a panel;
  • Make a gift to support a student organization you were involved in, or to help provide scholarships for students in need.

There are countless ways you can stay connected to GW. In fact, I urge you to make the connection right now. I know many of you are already holding your phone in your hand, so take a minute—right now—to connect with the GW Alumni Association.

Follow us on Twitter @gwalumni—and join our group on LinkedIn. Or download the GW Alumni app so you can stay up to date on campus news and find out about alumni events in your area.

As graduates, today you become lifetime members of the GW Alumni Association. And like any family, that membership is free—there are no dues or fees to belong.

So on behalf of your new GW alumni family—now 275,000 strong—congratulations, and welcome to the family!