Small Businesses Led by GW Community Members Join in Commencement Celebrations Preparation

Alumni and other members of the GW community are involved in this year’s virtual university-wide commencement celebration and school celebrations.

2021 Commencement Gift Boxes
May 06, 2021

As the George Washington University prepares for this year’s commencement celebrations, university leaders are working on final touches and surprises to recognize graduates for all their hard work over their academic careers.

Paul Hegarty, B.A. ’93, GW’s associate vice president for events & venues, said organizers have been focused on creating ways for graduates and their friends and families to celebrate together even as they are physically apart. Through conversations with individuals involved in iconic events like the Presidential Inauguration and national political party conventions, GW has worked to identify the best ways to make graduates “feel as though they're there” as they celebrate anywhere.

“The May 16 celebration is our degree conferral, but it’s also a personalized celebration that recognizes the graduates’ hard work through a challenging period. Graduates contributed to the celebration by submitting photos and videos, and they will hear from fellow graduates, alumni, faculty and deans,” Mr. Hegarty said.

As part of this effort, the university is working closely with GW alumni and other members of the community on several aspects of virtual commencement.

The university has been working with Group Inc., a strategic communications company that specializes in live events, led by GW alumnus Tom Gorman, B.A. ’85, to produce video and multimedia elements of the virtual celebrations. Mr. Gorman has spent the past several weeks working out of a new cutting-edge virtual studio in Jack Morton Auditorium creating more than a hundred pieces of content for the university’s commencement celebrations.

Speaking with graduating students and other members of the university community, Mr. Gorman has seen firsthand the resiliency students have exhibited during this unparalleled time.

“I’ve seen an incredible sense of community where the students have come together to support the D.C. community and one another,” he said. “It's an inspiration to come back to GW and see what students are doing in this challenging time,” he said.

To bring the GW spirit to every household, graduating students will receive custom commencement gift boxes designed by D.C.-based Teak and Twine in the coming days. The boxes include high-quality GW-themed notepads, balloons, biodegradable confetti sticks—a nod to the student body’s passion for sustainability--a celebratory banner and other items to celebrate graduates and their achievements. The company focused on sourcing gifts from as many local and family-owned businesses as possible, connecting graduates with the D.C. community at a time when many cannot physically be present.

Nancy Ross Tomchik, brand director for Teak and Twine and a former area coordinator in the Division of Student Affairs, said putting together these gift boxes for GW students has been a meaningful way to stay engaged with students during “such a happy, celebratory moment.

“The students are just such an exceptional group of people, and I'm just so happy to be able to be a small part and celebrate their accomplishments with them and with GW,” she said.

For more information about GW’s commencement, visit the GW Commencement website.

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