Alumni, parents and friends gather to celebrate GW’s $1 billion philanthropic campaign.
By Lauren Walinsky
More than 130 alumni, parents and friends gathered Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif., to celebrate Making History: The Campaign for GW. It was the fifth celebration in the past year for the campaign, which has raised more than $735 million to date.
The program featured remarks from Nelson Carbonell Jr., B.S. ’85, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, and President Steven Knapp, along with testimonials and remarks from Southern California volunteer Ross Mankuta, B.A. ’06, M.A. ’08; Richard Marmaro, B.A. ’73; Andrew Beyda, J.D. ’14; and Michelle Rubin, B.A. ’91.
Southern California is home to 8,800 university alumni and 900 GW parents. Mr. Carbonell stressed the importance of making California a stop on the campaign tour.
“When I went to GW in the early '80s, I think I knew one student from California, and now California is one of the top three states sending students to GW,” he said.
In outlining the priorities and goals of the campaign, Dr. Knapp noted specific reasons for selecting its theme.
“We chose Making History as our campaign theme because we make history every day,” he said. “We do it through our research, our impact in the heart of Washington, D.C., and most importantly through our alumni whom we send out into the world. To the parents who entrust their daughters and sons to us, and to the alumni who carry our mission out into the world, it’s through you that we make history.”
Event speakers Michelle Rubin and Richard Marmaro pose for a photo with GW Athletics Director Patrick Nero. (Ryan Miller/For GW Today)
Mr. Marmaro spoke of his “university family” and shared highlights from his 50-year relationship with GW. His brother, Marc Marmaro, B.A. ’69, has donated to the university for 43 consecutive years. Marc Marmaro’s daughter, Ashley, graduated in 2005. Richard Marmaro’s son, Paul, is a 2008 graduate and his son, Greg, was at GW Law for one year. Apart from the great education, Richard Marmaro said that the relationships he developed at GW are lifelong.
Mr. Beyda was inspired to come to D.C. to advance the cause of freedom. “The history of this nation has taught us that change is forged when good people of conscience are moved to action,” he said.
As chair of the GW Law Class of 2014 gift campaign, he has encouraged his fellow graduates to raise $76,000 for law school scholarships since their graduation last May. To him, it’s not about the present— it’s about the future.
“We all care deeply about GW,” he said. “The only way we can effectuate the change we want to see is if we engage.”
Ms. Rubin, another legacy alumna, gives back to GW athletics, though she was not a student-athlete herself. She also tries to meet and mentor the students she supports.
“I know that the students of today and tomorrow have the potential to leave GW and change the world, and I’m honored to be a small part of their future successes,” she said.
Making History began with a public launch last June at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate. Subsequent events have been held in New York City, Philadelphia and Miami. Mr. Carbonell closed the program Thursday, as he has at the previous two celebrations, with a directive to the audience.
“Today, I want to charge all of you with three tasks,” he said. “First, be involved as a volunteer, because it is the volunteers at GW who connect us to our community. Two, advocate for your alma mater. GW is a wonderful place that continues to grow—read about it, be proud and make sure everyone hears about the great work that’s being done on our campus. And finally, make a gift. Together, we will make history.”