Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will present the first-ever George Washington University Colin Powell Public Service Award on Thursday at a ceremony at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History.
Powell, who received his master’s of business administration from GW in 1971, will personally present U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Undersecretary Tammy Duckworth with the award.
Duckworth – who received her master’s degree from the Elliott School of International Affairs in 1992 – will be the inaugural recipient of the award, which, according to a statement released by the University, “honors a GW student, member of the University community, campus organization, alumnus faculty or former faculty member who has made an outstanding contribution to public service that honors the University and is in the spirit of the award’s namesake, General Colin Powell.”
During the evening, University President Steven Knapp will announce the creation of a new University institute, the Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement, according to a University news release.
The event will be hosted by Cokie Roberts, NPR senior news analyst, and her husband, Steven Roberts, a professor in GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs. Members of the GW Veterans will also speak.
In the past, the University has held an event called the President’s Dinner, which brought together notable members of the GW community and served as a major fundraising effort. This event will replace the dinner and will not serve as a fundraiser, but rather as a moment to honor Duckworth and highlight University accomplishments, said Sarah Baldassaro, assistant vice president for communications.
Baldassaro said she expects about 300 members of the GW community to be in attendance, including members of the University Board of Trustees as well as donors and philanthropic supporters of the University.