The university community held a ceremony Wednesday night to honor the lives of those who died on Sept. 11.
By Briahnna Brown
George Washington University students, faculty and staff gathered in the Marvin Center Great Hall to reflect on the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.
President Thomas LeBlanc said during the Wednesday night ceremony that even though many students on campus do not personally remember the events 18 years ago, everyone at GW understands the significance of the day. Dr. LeBlanc said that while remembering the violent attacks on the United States, it is also important to remember the acts of heroism and sacrifice by numerous first responders and unsung heroes.
“We honor their memories by redoubling our resolve to effect positive change in this world and live in service to others—and always remembering our alumni who died that day but are forever memorialized, on our campus and in our hearts,” he said.
The ceremony featured musical selections from the GW Troubadours, and the Capital Battalion GW Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps presented the colors as is tradition. Attendees had an opportunity to write thank you notes to first responders and military servicemembers, and there was a candle lighting to honor the nine university alumni who died that day.
Sarah Lefferts, B.B.A. ’09, M.A. ’16, took the time to honor one alumnus in particular: Andrew K. Friedman. As an undergraduate student at GW, Ms. Lefferts was the recipient of the Andrew K. Friedman Memorial Scholarship. During her senior year, she wanted to write a thank you note to the donor behind this scholarship, and she then learned about the life and legacy of Mr. Friedman and his commitment to giving back.
Mr. Friedman’s wife and two sons worked to establish the scholarship in his honor because GW long had played an important role in his life. Their generosity inspired Ms. Lefferts to pursue a career in fundraising. She now serves as the executive director of development for central initiatives and family philanthropy in GW’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations.
Today, Ms. Lefferts helps other donors support academic futures for many GW students through philanthropy.
“Andy Friedman's life on this earth ended on Sept. 11, 2001, but his impact continues on in me and in the lives of so many,” Ms. Lefferts said. “May we continue to honor the legacy of Andrew Friedman, and all those whose lives were cut short on Sept. 11, by living generously and serving others in their memory."