As students step off the Marvin Center elevators onto the fifth floor to go bowling, chow down on wings or shoot some pool, they are faced with a wall of caricatures. Above these drawings hangs a sign that reads, “Wall of Fame.” But who are these people, and what does a place on the wall really mean?
Michael Peller, managing director of the Marvin Center, said the wall was created in the spring of 2000 to showcase, “people who have contributed positively to the GW community.”
Wall of Fame members are chosen by a nomination and selection process that begins every year in early January. The selection is done by a committee, “with knowledge of the (GW) campus and community,” Peller said. The committee sorts through recommendations presented to them, and selects annual inductees based on a general set of criteria.
“The Wall of Fame is dedicated to men and women who have provided leadership and service to The George Washington University community,” reads the nomination form. “(It) is dedicated to recognizing students, staff, and faculty who have contributed to the quality of student life at (GW).”
All members of the GW community are eligible for nomination: from students, to UPD officers, to top University officials, the wall is a cornucopia of GW community members who have made a difference.
The number of inductees varies from year to year, but Peller said typically six are chosen each year. Last year, three students and three staff members were added to the prestigious group, bringing the grand total of inductees to 123.
After the selection committee has chosen the new wall-of-famers, an invitation-only ceremony is held to introduce and honor the newcomers. Each inductee is presented to the group by their nominator, to “share a few words” about why this particular person stands out at GW, Peller said.
As a special token, the inductees are given a copy of their caricature that appears on the wall. All artwork is done by an outside vendor, who gets a photograph of the honoree and translates it into a caricature, illustrating the new wall-of-fame member in the midst of some fifth-floor related activity.
Some of the most notable figures appearing on the wall today are University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and GW women’s basketball coach Joe McKeown.
Peller said he believes that the recent revitalization of the fifth floor with the opening of WOW Wingery makes the Hippodrome “once again a destination,” and a good location for the wall.
And despite the wall’s under-the-radar status among community members, he said, “There is definitely an interest.”
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