Since a formal launch this summer from George Washington’s grand Mount Vernon estate, university leaders have taken the $1 billion philanthropic campaign on the road, personally introducing the endeavor in cities with large alumni populations.
In New York City in October, nearly 500 alumni, trustees, parents, and friends gathered in a spectacularly restored building that once housed the Cunard Steamship Line to celebrate Making History: The Campaign for GW. Since the campaign’s official start, in July 2011, more than $625 million has been raised.
New York City is home to more than 17,000 alumni—the largest concentration outside of D.C.—and New York state continues to be the top feeder for undergraduate students.
“This monumental campaign will help us achieve our aspirations to become the university that George Washington envisioned,” GW President Steven Knapp said in thanking the local community for its rousing reception.
At a Philadelphia celebration in November held at the Franklin Institute, junior William Murphy, SEAS ’16, told his story to a crowd of around 90 people. Mr. Murphy, a student and budding cancer researcher in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, had received a merit scholarship and an alumni grant, but was still short of what he needed to attend college in 2012. He penned a letter to GW’s financial aid department, explaining his situation and informing them he wouldn’t be able to attend the university.
“A week later, my mother received an emotional call from the financial aid department, a woman who personally read my letter,” William said. “During that phone call, my mother was told that I would be receiving the Nelson and Michele Carbonell Endowed Scholarship. I wouldn’t be here today without the extreme generosity showed to me by the Carbonells.”
Nelson Carbonell, BS ’85, chair of the GW Board of Trustees, told how he also attended the university on a scholarship and charged attendees to invest in the future of the university.
“Now is the time to get involved or reengage with GW,” he said. “Volunteer, attend an event, and really—make a gift. I can’t tell you where or how much to give, that part is up to you. Make a gift to support future students like William. Together, we will make history.”
In Miami the following month, inaugural Campaign Chair B.J. Penn, MS ’80, echoed that sentiment before a group of more than 80 supporters.
“GW changed my life, and my own history,” he said. “What I learned as a student—and as a volunteer and a trustee—enabled me to be a leader, to be successful. I’m enormously grateful for that. I stood on the shoulders of many people to get to where I did. And this campaign is about all of us being those shoulders for others.”
Making History: The Campaign for GW continues to travel the country and bring together members of the GW community this spring with an event in Southern California on April 30. Stay tuned to gwimpact.org for more information.
Learn more about the Campaign and how you can get involved by visiting campaign.gwu.edu today.