Alumni event honors achievements, brings fundraising update

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Travis Hahn.

GW’s Alumni Association celebrated the achievements of former students and announced University’s new fundraising total at an awards event Thursday.

Officials have hosted the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awards event since 1937 to highlight the work of alumni. University President Steven Knapp said at the event that alumni who were honored have been working to improve society.

“Universities contribute to society in a wide variety of ways – through our research, through our service activities – but the product we give to the nation and the world that is more important than anything else is our alumni,” Knapp said at the event.

Here are the key points from the night.

1. $800 million raised

In his opening remarks, Knapp announced that the University has raised more than $800 million toward its $1 billion campaign. Knapp said in an interview last month the campaign total had reached $791 million, meaning roughly $10 million has been raised in the past month.

The announcement ffollows the University’s most-successful fundraising year in history, where officials raised about $230 million.

2. Professional and graduate school alumni dominate awards

All five alumni who received awards were graduates of one of GW’s graduate schools or The College of Professional Studies.

Award recipients include Richard Heideman and Gregory Williams, who both graduated from GW Law School in 1971 and 1972, respectively. Williams also holds a master’s of philosophy and a Ph.D, the only award winner with three degrees from GW.

Christyl Johnson, who graduated from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences with a doctoral degree in 2012, won an award for her work as the deputy center director for technology and research investments at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Award winner Elad Levy, who received his medical doctorate in 1997, is now a chairman and professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo and is one of the youngest tenured professors in the history of SUNY, according to GW’s alumni website.

3. ’30 under 30′

Jay Kaplan, who received his undergraduate degree in 2008 and stayed to receive a master’s in 2009, received the Recent Alumni Achievement Award. Kaplan received both of his degrees from SEAS, and now works as the chief executive officer and founder of Synack, a company that “leverages a global hacker network to uncover potential attack-vectors” in large business, according to GW’s alumni website.

David Dolling, the dean of SEAS, said at the event that Kaplan was also named one Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” in enterprise technology.

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