GW Black Alumni Gather for Annual Reunion and Awards Ceremony

GWBAA recognized alumni for their contributions to GW and their communities.

April 15, 2022

GWBAA Impact Award winners 2022

2022 GWBAA Impact Awards winners, from left: Dominic Hawkins, Heather Howard, Moniah Dailey and Ayana Thomas. (Andrew An/GW Today)

By B.L. Wilson

The George Washington University Black Alumni Association (GWBAA) hosted a weekend reunion for more than 145 Black alumni who spent time with friends and classmates, some of whom they hadn’t seen in years, visited the National Gallery of Art to view James Van Der Zee’s “A Portrait of Harlem” exhibit and gathered at the Black Lives Matter Plaza in D.C. for a group photo.

The reunion, held annually, culminated Saturday evening in a reception and presentation of the Impact Awards, the highest distinction given by the GWBAA to Black GW alumni who have been nominated by their peers and colleagues for contributions in their fields and to the GW community.

The alumni were joined by Aristide Collins, university vice president, university secretary and chief of staff; GW Law Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew; Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Dean Paul Wahlbeck; and Graduate School of Education and Human Development Dean Michael Feuer.

Alumna Natasha Dupee, B.A. ’12, who chairs the GWBAA board and is currently studying for a master’s degree in public health, also works in the GW Office of Disability Support Services. She explained the significance of the reunion weekend and the Impact Awards.

“Our network is part of our net worth,” she said. “We progress through our GW experience, as students or when we progress to be alumni. We and our families have a touchpoint here as we gain wisdom in our world experiences. We can share that wisdom among this beloved community. This is an opportunity for us to have that point of reflection and connection.”

Opening the Impact Awards presentation, Andrew Dixon III, B.A. ‘92, said, “The award gives [GWBAA] an opportunity to spotlight the alumni of this university that blaze their trails to big and important things. It’s not just a tradition. It’s an expectation.”

The 2022 GWBAA Alumni Impact Award recipients included an undergraduate student, a graduate student and three alumni:

  • Moniah Dailey, a third-year public health major, who was described as having a passion for learning about the social determinants of health and how they affect marginalized communities. She is an assistant manager in the Lerner Health and Wellness Center. She is the vice president of special events and programming for the Black Student Union and this summer will join public health students from around the world at the University of Michigan in the Future Leaders of Public Health program.
  • Ayana Thomas, M.A. ’18, and a doctoral student in the GSEHD. She also holds a master’s degree in religious studies and counseling from Howard University. She’s recognized for leveraging her experience to create personal and professional development content for everyone and has authored three personal development books.
  • Wendy Ellis,  Dr.PH ’19, is an assistant professor in global health and the founding director of the Center for Community Resilience at the Milken Institute School of Public Health. She has spent the past 15 years developing and working to grow a resilience movement to address systemic inequities that contribute to social and health disparities. The Building Community Resilience strength-based approach that she developed is being used in more than 20 cities across the United States.
  • Heather Howard Hamilton, B.B.A. ‘06, is vice president of FD Stonewater, a boutique real estate brokerage, investment, development and asset management firm. She provides project management and oversight for development projects nationally as an institutional commercial real estate professional. She has managed new construction,  building renovations and tenant improvements of more than 3 billion square feet in excess of $800 million.
  • Dominic Hawkins, B.A. ’12, is director of public relations for TIAA, the Fortune 500 financial firm, and helps lead the firm’s business to business communications and public relations for its research arm. He also consults on select public affairs projects in his spare time. His work led to him being honored as a rising public relations star by the prestigious industry publication PR News. He has continued to give back to the community through presentations at GW courses for over two years.