Alumni Return to Foggy Bottom in Droves for Alumni Weekend
Oct. 3, 2012
When legendary Earth, Wind & Fire frontman Philip Bailey took the stage Friday night under the colorful lights of the Charles E. Smith Center, he posed a question to the energetic crowd: "Y'all ready to party?"
This past weekend, the more than 2,800 alumni who returned to campus certainly were, making this year's Alumni Weekend the university's largest ever. The annual event brought the George Washington community - past and present - together for four days of recognition, reunions, memories and fun.
The concert, which featured George Washington President Steven Knapp playing the congas for Earth, Wind & Fire's hit "September", was just the beginning of the weekend's activity-rich agenda.
With more than 250 GW Athletics alums back on campus, the Department of Athletics and Recreation rolled out the Buff and Blue carpet to host those that paved the way for today's student-athletes, among 60 events in all hosted over the weekend for GW alums.
GW's men's and women's cross country teams held a happy hour and invited alums to meet and run with the current team, while the annual Buff and Blue golf matches were once again held at Potomac Ridge Golf Course in Waldorf, Md.; a Ryder Cup style competition between GW golf alumni who graduated in odd years and even years.
The gymnastics program hosted it first-ever mentoring panel, with over 20 alumnae addressing current student-athletes about career aspirations, and GW lacrosse had a full weekend of events highlighted by 20 additional alums who enjoyed an alumni game, reception and Sunday brunch.
The university's newest varsity sport, sailing, which transitioned from a club program into GW's 23rd intercollegiate varsity sport earlier this year, hosted club sailing alumni at a reception at the Washington Sailing Marina. Men's and women's swimming also hosted an alumni luncheon where current student-athletes could meet alums, while the Generation-to-Generation Tennis Pro-Am brought together women's tennis alumnae and friends for a friendly round-robin tournament paired with current team members. GW men's water polo restored a tradition as well with an alumni game against current student-athletes.
The men's and women's soccer programs have been hosting an alumni game in the fall for several years, and true to form over 30 alumni were back at the GW Soccer Field on the Mount Vernon Campus. Former players and coaches dating back to the 1960's also enjoyed a post-game reception while watching the men's game and an evening reception.
For many though, the highlight of the weekend came on Saturday afternoon when the Smith Center's donor hospitality suite, the Colonials Club, hosted an All-Athletics alumni reception for all of the former student-athletes to have the opportunity to mix and mingle with their former classmates and teammates.
During the reception Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero addressed the gathering about all of the exciting things that are happening in the department, while recognizing the recently retired Ed McKee, a long-time member of the GW community who devoted much of his professional life to GW Athletics.
With a measure of thanks to Washington's beautiful autumn weather, returning to campus meant a chance for alumni to revert to their days when academics and athletics stimulated their daily lives and cultivated the individuals and professionals that they have become.
Similar to the 2011-12 GW Athletics season, when a record five championships were garnered by Colonials teams, the 2012 Alumni Weekend set the bar high for future weekends to come - a bar that will no doubt be raised higher as the entirety of the GW Athletics community continues to Raise High the Buff and Blue.