It was the happiest of happy hours when undergraduate degree candidates (and a parent or two) gathered at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the grand ballroom of the university’s student center for the annual toast of the senior class, raising glasses of champagne to their promising future as GW alumni.
The general atmosphere was festive. The ballroom was buzzing with conversation and laughter; a lot of optimism and a bit of nervousness were expressed; warm greetings and hugs were exchanged. Plans for the summer and beyond have been shared. The students talked about catching up on sleep, their plans for graduate school, and the jobs they have already landed or hope to find.
Groups of balloons in GW colors, buff and blue, stretched to reach the ceiling, anchored by ribbon ties. Friends posed for pictures in the various photo booths and sampled a variety of appetizers.
A student receiving his MPS in Strategic Public Relations, David Overy, said he attended the toast to commemorate and celebrate. “It’s good to see people again and be back in person instead of doing everything online,” he said.
Many other celebrants expressed general agreement with his remarks, with some getting philosophical about their time at GW.
“It’s great to see the class of 2022 together,” said Bishop Walton, a political science student heading to law school in the fall. “It allows us to start the week on a high note and celebrate all that we have achieved so far.”
Ashok Kaushik, a senior with a double major in economics and international business, said, “It was an interesting experience because of the pandemic, but I wouldn’t trade it. It’s like saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” When the world throws a pandemic at you, you have to make the most of it. »
Discussions about future plans were briefly muted when Daniel Burgner, Executive Director of Annual Giving, welcomed the group and congratulated the graduates for overcoming the challenges of the pandemic. He also acknowledged their generosity towards the Senior Class Gift Campaign and encouraged the Class of 2022 to keep in touch with GW after graduation.
Next in the program, Burgner introduced alumni administrator Mollie Bowman, BA ’16, MA ’17, who led the assembled future graduates in a toast.
“I love Commencement so much I’ve done it twice,” Bowman said. “I hope you’re excited about the opportunity to grow your relationship with GW as an alum. It’s had a monumental impact on my life and I know it will do the same for you. Our community of alumni is strong because we make it strong and I hope I can count on you to make it even better in the years to come.
“Welcome to the GW Alumni Association,” she clapped, leading guests to a toast with glasses raised high. “I look forward to witnessing the impact I know you will have on the rest of the world.”
Above, former trustee Mollie Bowman led the seniors in the annual toast. Below, the students look to the future with a smile. (Scavone Photography)