GW hosted the second and third stops of the national tour, bringing together alumni, families and friends.
Last week the George Washington University hosted the second and third stops of the national GW + You tour in California, bringing together President Thomas LeBlanc and more than 300 GW alumni, families and friends. Capacity crowds filled events in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area to hear Dr. LeBlanc share news of the university’s achievements, discuss progress toward the university’s strategic plan and preview activities surrounding the GW bicentennial in 2021.
Each event included spirited discussions with members of the GW Alumni Association Executive Committee and members of the audience. Receptions gathered alumni from the 1950s through students in the class of 2024.
Community members at both events shared their GW stories and questions about the university’s future.
President Thomas LeBlanc speaks to a packed house at GW + You Los Angeles. "If you have to choose the characteristic that best defines a GW student, it's a person who wants to change the world," said Dr. LeBlanc. "We're the largest producer of Peace Corps volunteers for a school of our size. We have more people working on Capitol Hill from GW than any other university in the country. There was a recent ranking of universities with billion-dollar unicorn startups by their alums ... we came out 15th [in the world]. GW alumni are changing the world. Next year is our bicentennial and one of the things we hope to do is tell more of those stories." (Photo by Nick Gingold)
Michelle Rubin, B.A. ’91, GWAA Executive Committee and GW Leadership Advisory Council member, moderated the conversation with Dr. LeBlanc. “The transformation in three years at GW has been tremendous,” she said. “What [Dr. LeBlanc has] done with the university is absolutely fantastic.” (Photo by Nick Gingold)
Anthony Reyes, B.A. ’09, (third from left) said he is inspired to visit campus again after hearing Dr. LeBlanc’s “energetic and fresh perspective. Some of my best friends at GW are from L.A., and they're part of the reason I live out here,” Mr. Reyes said. “It's great to see GW's presence in a place where I've always felt it.” (Photo by Nick Gingold)
Documentary film producer Maggie Contreras, B.A. ’06, chose GW in part for the arts opportunities Washington, D.C., offers. She recently hired two Corcoran School of the Arts and Design graduates to work on her projects. “I make sure if I can hire someone from GW, I will,” she said. “That’s what someone [from GW] did for me, and that’s what I’m excited about tonight.” (Photo by Nick Gingold)
Nii Quaye, M.B.A. ’99, (right) with his daughter, Taylor, who is considering GW for college. “One of the most important things [Dr. LeBlanc] talked about is the value of your alumni network,” said Mr. Quaye. “A strong alumni network allows someone like my daughter to look at the school and say, ‘I want to go there.’ ”(Photo by Nick Gingold)
Carina Morgan, M.T.A. ’10, and Ashley Mehle struck a pose at the GW + You photo booth in Los Angeles, where 150 guests gathered at the SLS Hotel. (Photo by Nick Gingold)
Dr. LeBlanc congratulated Jesse McAdams, who will be a first-year student at GW this fall. Several incoming and prospective students and their parents attended the GW + You California events to learn more about life at GW. (Photo by Nick Gingold)
More than 120 GW community members gathered at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco for GW + You Bay Area. “I bleed buff and blue,” said trustee Ave Tucker, B.B.A. ’77, as he opened the program. “All of us can make GW stronger, and each other stronger, as alumni.”
GW Alumni Association Executive Committee member Darren Menaker, B.A. ’00, moderated the event. He said that he recently visited GW for the first time in 20 years and saw firsthand how much has changed. He and Dr. LeBlanc encouraged alumni attendees to see the changes on campus for themselves during Colonials Weekend 2020. (Photo by Edward Caldwell)
Recent graduate Theresa Ranni, B.A., B.S. ’19, a double major in music and economics, said she hopes to see more cross-disciplinary studies involving the Corcoran in GW’s future. “I love being able to talk to leadership,” she said. “I think it’s very important that they understand that we are invested in our school even after we graduate. It’s important for us to be proactive members of our community.”
Dr. LeBlanc spoke with many members of the community during the GW + You Bay Area reception, including Ela Kucukcakar, the parent of a School of Medicine and Health Sciences student.
Left to right: Isaac Gritz, B.B.A., ’17, Austin Caldwell, B.B.A. ’17, and Annabelle Nguyen, B.B.A. ’16, and guests enjoy the Bay Area reception (Photo by Edward Caldwell)
Incoming first-year student Katarina Hamady (center) attended the GW + You Bay Area event with her parents, Amal and Danny Hamady. “To know what President LeBlanc is doing makes me 10 times more excited to be part of the GW family,” she said. Ms. Hamady will be in the Elliott School of International Affairs and hopes to focus her studies on conflict resolution. “My parents are immigrants from Lebanon, and they came here because of war,” she said. “I’ve been deeply interested in why [my family] is here. I’m very fortunate, especially being from the Bay Area, where the opportunities are infinite. I know the same thing is true in D.C., at GW, and especially in the Elliott School.” (Photo by Edward Caldwell)