Alumni connect at party conventions

Alumni descending upon the Republican and Democratic national conventions will take a pause from party politics to gather at receptions for their alma mater.

About 75 people are on the guest list for Thursday’s alumni reception at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations, associate director of Regional Alumni Programs Renee Thomas said. About 190 individuals are registered for the Sept. 4 Democratic gathering in Charlotte, N.C.

Omar Woodard, who has served on the Board of Trustees, began coordinating the events in May.

Woodard, a two-time alumnus and former Student Association president, will host the reception in Charlotte, N.C., Thomas said. Woodard has donated $750 to the Democratic party since 2010.

Mark Kennedy, director of the Graduate School of Political Management and a former Republican congressman from Minnesota, will host the Tampa, Fla. reception.

Both hosts will “provide their perspectives on the role GW plays in the political landscape,” Thomas said. She added that they will also provide commentary on both conventions, and alumni and students will get the opportunity to mingle over free appetizers and drinks.

Kennedy said the gathering would give alumni the chance to meet others with similar ideologies while keeping them in touch with the University.

“It’s a chance for alumni that share political passion to get together from a school where, whether you studied science or politics, you were still studying four blocks away from the White House,” Kennedy said. “I think most GW alums have some connection or interest in politics.”

The receptions will mirror those held during the 2008 conventions – the first time GW marked its presence at both conventions.

Four years ago, 70 attendees signed up for the DNC reception, Thomas said. She said she did not have attendance numbers for the RNC reception.

Thomas said the events could not include fundraisers for either side of the aisle. She declind to disclose the cost of each event.

University President Steven Knapp increased the number of alumni networking events across the nation by about 100 since he took the helm in 2007, looking to forge stronger relationships with graduates.

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