Private Smith Center function pitches to donors

The Department of Athletics held a private reception for donors to the Smith Center’s renovation. Although The Hatchet was not allowed in, senior staff writer Dan Greene spoke with an attendee, who asked to remain anonymous because it was a private event:

I spoke with an attendee of tonight’s event at Smith Center for donors toward the renovation project and he had some interesting things to say. He said he was surprised to hear the figures presented by GW, which included a total cost of  the renovations at around $45 million.  Only $1.5 million has been raised thus far, with $10 million needed before the matching $10 million from the Smith and Kogod families kicks in.  He said the school plans to raise a certain amount of money through a series of fundraisers with “big donors” before turning to what he described as an Obama-like Internet campaign of small donations.  The school will pay $20 million itself and told those at tonight’s event that they expect the project to be completed in 2011, he said.

The attendees were given a tour of the current facilities, which the attendee described as “ratty,” even saying they were inferior to that of his daughter’s high school in Arlington.

His reaction was not entirely negative, however, as he said the people in charge of generating funding seem excited and on top of things. He said that overall the presentation was a “good sell” to the donors.

The following email detailing the event was sent by Asst. Director of Athletics Dom Perno to invitees and posted on the GW online fan message board

Dear Guest,

As you may already have heard, due to a generous pledge of $10 million from the Robert H. Smith and Charles E. Smith Family Foundations and Robert P. and Arlene R. Kogod, the Charles E. Smith Center will undergo a transformational renovation over the next several years.

We’re very excited about this plan and we’d like to share our enthusiasm with you by inviting you to attend a special presentation about the renovation on Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 6 p.m. in the Charles E. Smith Center. Hors d’oeuvres will be served.

The evening will begin with a walk through the present facilities, followed by a slide presentation that will fill you in on the renovation’s conceptual design. Athletic Director Jack Kvancz, Senior Vice President Bob Chernak and representatives from the GW Office of Advancement will provide an in depth review of the effect that the renovation will have on the Athletic Department and the University as a whole, and will ask for your help in brainstorming how we can raise the additional funds needed to match the Smith/Kogod families’ commitment.

We sincerely appreciate your loyal and generous support over the years and hope that you will be able to join us on the 18th to learn about this exciting new challenge. Please RSVP to Cara Esposito by September 12 at or (202) 994-6650, and if you have any questions please give me a call at (202) 994-9005.


Warmest regards,

Dom Perno

Associate Athletic Director

Athletic Development

Look for a full article on the Smth Center fundraising process later this month.

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