University Honors Alumni All-Star Volunteers

Five graduates were recognized last week for putting service before themselves.

alumni service awardees
From left to right: Jim Quinlan, Jim Core, Mary Miller, Steven Knapp, Jean Johnson, Dean Coclin and Jeremy Gosbee. This year marked the 56th annual Alumni Outstanding Service Awards. (Photo by Allison O’Brien)
April 10, 2017

Five George Washington University alumni received the Alumni Outstanding Service Award on Thursday for their volunteer efforts in support of the university.

“These awards are really significant as they recognize a critically important value in our university culture, which goes back to the founding vision of our university’s namesake,” said George Washington President Steven Knapp, adding that the concept of citizen-leadership through service was woven into George Washington’s legacy. “This award, given to alumni by their peers, underlines the centrality of that value to our university.”

Vice President of the GW Alumni Association Awards Committee Jim Quinlan, B.A. ’00, added in his remarks that the recipients are an “all-star team.”

“These alumni use their talents and treasures for the benefit of others, sacrificing of themselves for the betterment of students and the GW community,” he said.

The awards are given to alumni for their contributions to university programs and were presented at the 56th annual Alumni Outstanding Service Awards ceremony at the Marvin Center.

Here are excerpts from what the 2017 recipients had to say after receiving the honor:

“When Dean Dolling called to tell me that I was selected I was shocked—I didn’t think I was deserving. When you love what you do, you just do it every day without thinking about it. And I love representing GW.”

—Dean Coclin, B.S. ’84

Mr. Coclin serves as the current chair of the GW Boston alumni network and is a member of the Luther Rice Society Advisory Council, leading the group as chair from 2010-2014. He is also a member of the GW Alumni Association Board of Directors. With more than 25 years of business development and product management experience in software, security and telecommunications, Mr. Coclin is senior director of business development in the Trust Services division at Symantec. He was one of the founders of ChosenSecurity, an Internet security firm, and had roles at GeoTrust; Betrusted, an e-security firm; Baltimore Federal Systems, a division of Baltimore Technologies; CyberTrust Solutions; and GTW Government Systems Corporation.

“This award is for the people who put me in the position to be useful, to be of service. Coming to George Washington fundamentally changed the trajectory of my life.”

—Jim Core, M.A. ’96

Mr. Core served on the board of the GW Alumni Association from 2005 to 2014, including as president from 2011 to 2013. He began serving on the Elliott School Board of Advisors in 2013. Mr. Core was recently named director of the International Expositions Unit at the U.S. Department of State, where he leads the department’s engagement on World’s Fairs with federal, state, local and international stakeholders. Previously, he was a senior analyst at the department, supporting U.S. foreign affairs agencies. Mr. Core has also held roles at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Resolution Trust Corporation and an international development contractor.

“My experience in Detroit in the early 2000s has motivated me in giving of my time and treasure to the Department of Economics at GW. My hope is that in some small but significant way, these efforts will help the department further promote the importance of an economics education and the need to make sure our economic policies and solutions are sound.”

—Stuart L. Harshbarger, M.Phil. ’93, Ph.D. ’94

Dr. Harshbarger helped establish the GW Economics Alumni Advisory Committee, which brings together business leaders and GW faculty to further economics education. Dr. Harshbarger is an economist and serves as a director and partner at NERA Economic Consulting, where he focuses on international tax matters. He has authored many scholarly articles, including one that shows that executive compensation is the best way to allocate global corporate profits. He is the past vice president and program director of the National Economists Club.


“The students at GW are such interesting and motivated people. Every time I go to an event to speak at a roundtable, I always come back having learned a lot more from the students.”

—Mary Miller, M.B.A. ’78

Ms. Miller, who serves on the GW School of Business Board of Advisors, is a banking specialist and former commercial banker with more than 30 years of banking and international development experience. Ms. Miller’s previous work includes risk management assessment in India of a national loan guarantee program and development of financial instruments for agribusiness. She serves on the Senior Advisory Council for the GrowthCap initiative of the Financial Sector Deepening Trust of Kenya.


“Giving back is easy—I’m getting an award for doing something I’ve been so passionate about and loved doing. It’s not work—it’s a calling, it’s a mission. Life doesn’t get better than having that kind of opportunity, and GW has provided that opportunity.”

—Jean Johnson, Ph.D. ’93

Dr. Johnson received the Jane Lingo Alumni Outstanding Service Award—presented to a faculty or staff member who is a GW graduate and who consistently advances the mission of the university through dedicated volunteer efforts in support of its programs. She was the founding dean of the GW School of Nursing (GWSON) as well as professor and executive coach. During her time at GW, Dr. Johnson grew GW’s SON, developing new programs and creating one of the university’s first online programs. A longtime geriatric nurse practitioner, Dr. Johnson focused her research and policy work on patient safety and quality improvement and has held several roles with national professional groups, including the Institute of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American College of Nurse Practitioners. She is currently a Fulbright scholar teaching in the graduate clinical pediatric program at the University of Cape Town South Africa.


Five Alumni to Receive Outstanding Service Awards

February 17, 2017
The university will recognize their contributions to university programs at an April event.