GW honors superb service

Jonathan Skrmetti helped to rewrite the Student Association Constitution, changing how student government at GW works.

That’s one of the reasons why he received a GW Award, which honors the legacies people leave the GW community long after they leave, Skrmetti said.

The senior philosophy major will be joined on the Commencement stage Sunday by six other members of the GW community who have made lasting contributions to the University.

Similar to the other winners, Skrmetti said he discovered he won the award about a month ago when he received a letter from GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg.

“It’s nice to know people think I’m doing a good job of things,” he said.

Skrmetti said he will be remembered for his work as chair of the SA’s Constitution Revision Commission. As chair, he organized the committee and did much of the writing that led to the development of a new SA Constitution.

Skrmetti is a graduating senior and said he is thinking about the future. He was accepted as a Shapiro Fellow and said he hopes to attend Oxford University in the fall. Later, he wants to attend law school, he said.

Millie Christiansen, another GW Award winner, said she was shocked to hear she was among the GW Award recipients. Christiansen was out of town, and her husband read the Trachtenberg letter to her over the phone, she said.

Christiansen, who is the director of Fiscal and Administrative Affairs, said she did not feel comfortable being singled out because many people at the University demonstrate an outstanding work ethic. But she said she often is willing to put in extra hours, and her peers might have noticed her dedication.

“This is more than just a job. It becomes a family,” she said. “You always like to do a good job for your family.”

Award-winner Bryan Stoller said he has left his mark on GW in many different parts of the University. Stoller served as a Colonial Cabinet member and co-coordinator for Colonial Inauguration. He said his contributions are still a part of CI today.

Stoller also worked for the SA Finance Committee and said he is proud of his work there because he “encouraged less bureaucracy and better service for student groups.”

Recently, Stoller said he helped design a new master’s degree program for those interested in University administration in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

But Stoller said he could only think of one thing that set him apart from others on campus.

“I do have a strong feeling for GW, a desire to change,” he said. “I have a desire for progress, not for recognition.”

Associate Professor of Medicine Gary Malakoff said he was thrilled to hear he was a winner. He said his legacy is his passion for teaching.

“I think my dedication to innovation in medical education and residence training led to my receiving the award,” Malakoff said.

Malakoff graduated from GW’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 1982, trained at GW Hospital from 1982 to 1985 and became chief resident in 1985.

Senior Lonnie Giamela said his sister Lori, a GW freshman, will remind the University of his contributions after he graduates. Giamela, a journalism major, said he probably won the GW Award because he offered the community “service with a smile.”

Giamela worked with the SA and was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He said he worked at the Smith Center for the past four years, and he also led walking tours for prospective students.

Georgetown University and the University of Southern California law schools have accepted Giamela’s application for admission.

“Choosing (between the two schools) will be part of senior week festivities,” Giamela said.

The other two award winners are English Department Chair Faye Moskowitz and the Rev. Laureen Smith.

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