The university honored five alumni for outstanding professional, volunteer and philanthropic achievement at the inaugural Spirit of GW Awards.
George Washington University celebrated five alumni on Saturday for their career achievements, service and philanthropic contributions during the first Spirit of GW Awards.
Formerly the GW Alumni Achievement Awards, the Spirit of GW Awards recognized recipients in four award categories: Recent Alumni Achievement Award, Alumni Outstanding Service Award, GW Philanthropy Award and the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. The Spirit of GW Awards took place during Colonials Weekend 2019, which brought thousands of alumni, families and friends back to campus.
President Thomas LeBlanc said during Saturday’s ceremony that the five alumni honored epitomize achievement, commitment and generosity at GW. Strengthening philanthropy and constituent engagement is a core part of the foundation the university will build upon while implementing a new strategic plan and pursuing preeminence as a comprehensive global research university, he said.
“As a university community in the midst of imagining our wide-open future, you are beacons,” Dr. LeBlanc said. “You inspire us, and we are proud of your association with the George Washington University.”
Read more about the five alumni honorees:
Recent Alumni Achievement Award
Sally A. Nuamah, B.A. ‘11
Author and assistant professor, Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy
Dr. Nuamah has received numerous awards for academic and public achievement, including recently being named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” in education. She also founded the TWII Foundation, a scholarship organization for women first-generation students, some of whom were featured in her first book, “How Girls Achieve.” She served as a member of the GW Board of Trustees from 2014 to 2018.
“It’s GW that made me feel like I would be able to help [others],” Dr. Nuamah said. “It’s the spirit that I got from GW that continues to drive me to continue to do this work; it’s what keeps pushing me.”
Alumni Outstanding Service Award
Barbara Ann Fleming, B.S. ’81, M.S. ’85
Software engineer, U.S. Department of Defense
Ms. Fleming has served on the GW School of Engineering and Applied Science’s National Advisory Council since 2016 and was a member of the 2018 NAC Women in Engineering Task Force where she investigated best practices at top engineering schools. She also has been a mentor for women in engineering through various organizations and has supported networking events for women in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
"[Coming back as a volunteer], I found an energy on campus, and I think it was a feeling of great transformation that was happening,” Ms. Fleming said. “I wanted to be part of that transformation. Once you start volunteering, and you're passionate about something, it becomes catalytic."
GW Philanthropy Award
Mary Jean Lindner, GWSB ’51
Tad Lindner, A.A. ’50, B.A. ’51
Chair Emeritus, Colonial Parking, Inc.
Mary Jean and Tad Lindner have been partners in life and philanthropy since 1951. The couple supports numerous endowed funds across GW, which benefit scholarships and faculty positions. They have also made annual gifts to the university for 68 consecutive years and established planned gifts to benefit GW after their lifetimes. Tad Linder is a GW Trustee Emeritus.
Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
Mark Shenkman, M.B.A. ‘67
Founder, president and co-chief investment officer, Shenkman Capital Management, Inc.
Mr. Shenkman is considered a pioneer of the high-yield bond and loan markets. He served in multiple executive asset management positions at companies such as Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb, First Investors Asset Management and Fidelity Management and Research Company before founding Shenkman Capital. He also established one of Wall Street’s earliest departments for research and trading of high-yield securities. He is a GW Trustee Emeritus.
"I am deeply grateful to the George Washington University for setting the pathway to my life's achievements,” Mr. Shenkman said. “The business education has served as the sturdiest building block in my remarkable career. I will always be indebted to the George Washington University for my professional success, and I will always cherish receiving the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.”