The University formally honored its alumni serving in the D.C. government Wednesday night with the first-ever reception of its kind.
University President Steven Knapp told guests it was one of his priorities to develop a strong community of alumni. As he thanked the D.C. government employees for their work, he asked that they give the University feedback.
“We want to keep in touch with you – you are the reality of our university,” Knapp said.
Maggie Wilson, senior associate director of Regional Alumni Programs, said the event was advertised to 70,000 alumni in the D.C. area and over 100 people responded.
The reception at Les Halles restaurant downtown was co-sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations and the Office of Government, International and Community Relations.
Knapp said he hopes to expand these types of alumni events.
“We’ve got to do a better job of tracking alumni,” he said.
Knapp also noted that alumni may move in and out of government, making it difficult to know how many are working in the city. He said it is important to identify alumni who can help students find jobs and network in the District.
Bernard Demczuk, GW’s assistant vice president of D.C. Relations, said though GW does not know the total number of alumni currently working in D.C. government, the University wants to thank them for their dedication to the District.
“We’re proud of them,” Demczuk said, who helped plan the event. “If you like the city, thank these people.”
Dr. Pierre Vigilance, a 1991 graduate, is the director of the D.C. Department of Health, and co-hosted the reception along with Knapp. He spoke briefly, thanking those in attendance and calling D.C. government “a special place to do business.”
Chairman of the D.C. City Council Vincent Gray, a 1964 graduate, was slated to co-host as well, but was unable to attend due to other commitments.
Though the event occurred less than a week before Election Day, Knapp’s chief of staff, Barbara Porter, said the event was not planned specifically to be right before the election, but rather so Knapp would be able to attend it before he traveled to Asia.
But the election was on the minds of the government employees in attendance.
“It’s always hectic when you have a change in government,” said alumnus LaTisha Savoy. Savoy, who works for the D.C. Department of Health, said that although she regularly receives e-mails about alumni events, this is the first she has attended.