GW anticipates new year at Convocation

The GW community celebrated the Millennium Convocation Tuesday in Lisner Auditorium, commemorating the year 2000 and the 200th anniversary of the District and George Washington’s death.

We are bound together on this fragile planet – let us take a moment to pause. said Rev. Laureen E. Smith to the audience, containing more than 100 faculty dressed in caps and gowns.

The theme of the event was reflection. For the first time, the GW Wind Ensemble performed Millennium Fanfare, a composition commissioned to celebrate the millennium and written by GW’s Director of Bands Benno Fritz.

President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg accepted the Truman Scholarship Honor Institution Award, which recognizes institutions of higher learning for exemplary participation in the Truman Scholarship Program, on behalf of the University. Truman scholarships are awarded to students with outstanding leadership potential and a commitment to public service.

Those of us who rejoice in the joys of academia are accustomed to thinking great thoughts, Trachtenberg said.

The event featured the presentation of an honorary doctorate to Gary Wills, a well-known historian, scholar and Pulitzer Prize winner.

(Wills) is a well-respected author who has written on an amazing variety of historical and political subjects, Director of University Special Events Jim Hess said. Among 20 other books, Wills wrote Lincoln at Gettysburg in 1992. Closer to home for GW, he wrote Cincinnatus: George Washington and the Enlightenment.

I feel a great honor to be associated with the name George Washington, Wills said upon receiving the honorary degree. (Gen. Washington) was one of the greatest leaders in all of human history. Once he set his course, he was almost an unstoppable person.

Professor Leslie Jacobson, chairwoman of the Department of Theatre and Dance, said she attended Convocation because of her respect for the work of Gary Wills and her loyalty to the University.

This is my 23rd year at GW, and I believe that rituals and ceremonies bring us closer together, Jacobson said.

Trachtenberg told the audience about the president’s Millennium Seminars, a series of programs sponsored by each of the eight schools and other University departments to discuss the new democratic era.

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