Friends and colleagues of Frederic A. Siegel gathered on the Mount Vernon Campus March 28 to surprise the former associate vice president and dean of freshmen with a bench on the Quad in honor of his years of service to GW and the Mount Vernon Campus.
The crowd erupted in applause as a stunned Mr. Siegel approached the dedication ceremony—which had been kept a well-hidden secret from him. Laughter and cheers increased when Mr. Siegel saw Jody Hubbard, BBA ’99, standing alongside the wooden bench.
While visiting the Siegel family in Palm Springs this past fall, Ms. Hubbard asked her longtime mentor what he might like named in his honor when she had the means to do so.
“Do you want a dorm or an athletic facility named after you? He replied that he wanted a bench at the beautiful Mount Vernon campus,” said Ms. Hubbard.
Following remarks by Ms. Hubbard and Associate Provost for the Mount Vernon Campus Rachelle S. Heller, Mr. Siegel took a few moments to collect himself – still shocked at the presence of his daughter who was supposed to have been out of town, and that his wife, Cindy, was able to keep the event a secret – before addressing the crowd.
“My mentor at Boston University criticized me for not knowing the difference between colleagues, faculty, and friends. I’d mix them all up, but look at all these friends,” said Mr. Siegel gesturing to the crowd. Turning to Ms. Hubbard, he said, “You are special.”
At the celebratory cocktail hour, Mr. Siegel worked the room, exchanging stories and making promises to catch up with dear friends over lunch.
“We lived here. My daughter Emily grew up here from 11 to 18 years-old,” said Mr. Siegel, whose family resided in Mount Vernon Alumnae House from 2003 to 2010. “It was a special time in our family’s life and to know that there will always be a place for me to go and remember our time here, it just means the world to me.”