Athletics News

GW Student-Athletes Just Called To Say Thank You

Graduating senior women's basketball player Bria Bourgeois makes 'thank you' calls to donors
April 23, 2015

Stevie Wonder's 1984 smash hit, I Just Called To Say I Love You, predated the current crop of GW student-athletes who weren't born until the decade following. Yet, the spirit of the song, calling to share a few simple words, rang true for GW student-athletes who tried this week to reach in excess of 700 donors to GW Athletics' Buff and Blue Fund just to say `thank you.'

"It was a really enjoyable process and my teammates had a great time as well," said men's basketball freshman Paul Jorgensen. "I liked talking to individuals who have chosen to support GW Athletics. It caught people by surprise that we were just calling to say thanks and not asking for anything."

For GW Athletics, funding is the lifeblood of its 27 varsity, intercollegiate programs, who rely on the support and generosity not just of the university community, but the private support of alumni, parents, friends and fans that make the student-athlete experience possible.

"I got to witness firsthand all of the people who have donated and care about the Athletics Department," noted sophomore women's runner Macaulay Porter after also participating in the thank-athon as a freshman. "I had the opportunity to express how grateful we all are that people have supported us."

With close to 1,000 thank you notes written as well, and participation across the 27 varsity sports, the importance of philanthropy and gratitude to so many was the soundtrack of the thank-athon.

"You can never say thank you enough," said Assistant Athletics Director of Development Steven Farmer. "It is such a simple but important lesson to teach our student-athletes. Their experiences at GW are directly influenced by the support of others, from their training table breakfast to facility upgrades to international training trips. To provide our student-athletes with the best facilities, best coaches and the best chance to compete for conference and national championships, the support of the GW community is vital."

To one such community member, former GW men's rower Peter Joyce, the importance of saying - and hearing - thank you, is even more clear now that he's on the receiving end of the calls.

"As an alumni, I appreciate it much more than I could understand even just two years ago," said Joyce. "I will continue donating so as to exaggerate my athletic success more and more with each new unsuspecting caller," he joked.

As Director of Annual Giving for GW Athletics Nicole Ferdinando identified, as important as the message delivered was, the volume of outreach to the community that supports GW was particularly notable.

"The participation by our young men and women over the past several nights was amazing," she said. "It was the true embodiment of what it means to be champions in the classroom, in the community and in competition."

And they meant it from the bottom of their heart.