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Development and Alumni Relations

Rulnick Named Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development

Adrienne A. Rulnick

Jessica McConnell

A new leader joined the GW Office of Alumni Relations on Aug. 1, as Adrienne A. Rulnick became associate vice president for alumni relations and development. Rulnick brings more than two decades of higher education experience to GW, including more than 15 years in alumni relations and development, most recently as executive director of university alumni relations and development at New York University. In this position, she oversaw an alumni relations operation that serves more than 360,000 graduates, the Fund for NYU, and the alumni, regional, and parents fund-raising group.

“We are pleased to welcome Adrienne to the University and the division,” says Laurel Price Jones, vice president for development and alumni relations. “She brings outstanding alumni relations experience, as well as a track record of growing a robust annual fund program. Her successful plans have built commitment and awareness of the value of strong alumni programming and of building a culture of philanthropy. We look forward to her leadership and creativity.”

In her 10 years as an executive director at NYU, Rulnick expanded print and electronic alumni communications; developed programs for young alumni, parent giving, reunions, and incoming freshmen; created an annual alumni job fair and a highly acclaimed faculty and alumni lecture series; and grew annual gifts from $8 million to $22 million.

In 2003, she wrote the foreword to Innovations in Annual Giving: Ten Departures that Worked, written by Robert A. Burdenski and published by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

“I am very excited about the possibilities at GW, and I am thrilled to be joining the University shortly after President Steven Knapp, who is so committed to alumni engagement,” Rulnick says. “My main focus is to communicate the University’s desire to foster lifelong relationships with graduates to encourage a robust dialogue between alumni and their alma mater.”

Rulnick earned an EdD in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts, an MS from the University of Albany, and a BA from Barnard College, cum laude.

2008 Alumni Travel Program Features Six Great International Destinations

The GW Alumni Association recently announced the six exciting destinations for the 2008 Alumni Travel Program. Imagine visits to the ancient civilizations of Peru, to the romantic cities of Europe, or to the heart of China. Destinations include:

• Alumni Campus Abroad® Peru, featuring Machu Picchu—January 10-17

• Treasures of Southern Africa—February 1-14

• Alumni Campus Abroad® Waterways and Canals of Holland & Belgium—May 4-12

• Alumni Campus Abroad® Italy’s Mountains and Lakes-Treviso—July 9-17

• China and the Yangtze River—September 3-15

• Alumni Campus Abroad® Provence and the French Riviera—September 17-26

To learn more, visit and click on Education Programs. To book a trip, call (800) 323-7373.

To register for future mailings, contact the Office of Alumni Relations.

Phone: (202) 994-6435 or (800) ALUMNI-7


Alumni Achievement Awards
Reunion Weekend Highlight: Alumni Achievement Awards Presented Sept. 28

President Steven Knapp and the GW Alumni Association honored seven successful graduates with Alumni Achievement Awards on Sept. 28 during Alumni Reunion Weekend. This marked the 71st annual presentation of the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awards and the inaugural year of the Recent Alumni Achievement Award. Honorees are recognized for the lasting impact they have made on society through outstanding professional, voluntary, or philanthropic accomplishments.

“This wonderfully diverse group of alumni is representative of the significant impact that GW graduates have on our nation and around the globe,” Knapp says. “The research, service, and scholarly contributions of these award winners are an inspiration to us all and I am gratified that they can return to campus to share their expertise with students and the larger GW community.”

The recipients of the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award:

Anousheh Ansari, MS ’92, is a partner at Prodea LLP, a venture capital firm she co-founded in 2003. On Sept. 18, 2006, Ansari blasted off for an eight-day expedition aboard the International Space Station as part of the Expedition 14 crew of the Soyuz TMA-9, and in the process captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer and the first astronaut born in Iran.

Martin Burt, MA ’83, is the founder and current CEO of Fundación Paraguaya, an organization devoted to the development of small enterprises in Paraguay through the creation, growth, and strengthening of sustainable microfinance services. Previously, Burt served as vice minister of commerce for Paraguay, and as mayor of the capital city of Paraguay, Asuncion.

Scott Cowen, MBA ’72, DBA ’75, is the president of Tulane University. In his 10 years as president, Cowen has dramatically expanded the student population and grown the school’s fund raising base. Throughout his career he has shown tremendous integrity and commitment to public service, most recently demonstrated during the revitalization of New Orleans following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

J. Richard Knop, JD ’69, is senior managing director and co-head of defense and government services at BB&T Capital Markets/Windsor Group. Knop co-founded the Windsor Group in 1992 and led its development into the preeminent middle market merger and acquisition firm for the government contracting industry until its acquisition by BB&T Capital Markets in 2005. He is the third generation of his family to attend GW Law.

Martin F. Pera, PhD ’79, is the director of the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. Pera’s work has had fundamental importance for our understanding of stem cell biology and was an essential component to the continuation of research in the field.

Paul Roth, SMHS MD ’76, is the executive vice president for the Health Sciences Center at the University of New Mexico and has served as the dean of the UNM School of Medicine since 1994. He sits on the Administrative Board of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Council of Deans and is an internationally recognized expert in the field of disaster preparedness.

The recipient of the 2007 Recent Alumni Achievement Award is Linnea Axman, DrPH ’03, an active duty captain in the U.S. Navy. She is the head of nursing research and analysis and acting head of the staff education and training department, as well as the senior nurse in the research and analysis work center at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.

The Recent Alumni Achievement Award is presented to alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years who also have made a lasting impact on society through outstanding professional, voluntary, or philanthropic accomplishments, proving potential for future influence and leadership in their field.

The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award is the highest form of recognition given by the University and the GW Alumni Association to alumni on an annual basis since 1937. Each recipient has made a lasting impact on society through outstanding professional, voluntary, or philanthropic accomplishments. Prior recipients include Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State; J. Edgar Hoover, former FBI director; Allyn E. Kilsheimer, CEO of KCE Structural Engineers; Zelda D. Fichandler, founder of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.; and Joseph Prueher, former U.S. Ambassador to China.

The Fine Art of Friendship
Artist supports upcoming exhibits at GWs Luther W. Brady Art Gallery

Clarice Smith enjoys the gala on May 9 celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery.

Dave Scavone

Many facets of the visual world captivate artist Clarice Smith, an alumna and former teacher at The George Washington University.

And many programs at GW have benefited from the largesse of her family, which has been strongly supportive of the University for three generations.

The Smith Hall of Art was endowed by Clarice and her husband, Robert Smith, in the 1980s; he is a GW trustee emeritus. Robert Smith’s father, Charles E. Smith, endowed the Charles E. Smith Athletic Center, and the family also endowed the Charles E. Smith Chair in Judaic Studies. The couple’s son, David Bruce Smith, is a trustee.

Now Clarice Smith has provided a gift to the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, capping a bright year for the gallery, which included celebrating the fifth anniversary of its dedication on May 9.

Clarice Smith’s gift, providing both inspiration and the means for additional gallery shows, was made expressly in honor of her friend and colleague, GW’s director of University art galleries and chief curator, Lenore D. Miller.

“I am so delighted and energized by this gift, which creates the means to fund endeavors over the next three years,” says Miller with evident happiness. “It’s a very touching thing.”

Clarice Smith decided to donate $150,000 to the Brady Art Gallery over three years. The gift will fund three thematic exhibits, catalogues, research, and consultants.

“I am thankful that I was educated by the fine arts program when it offered a sound and solid foundation of expertise upon which the artist could soar with his or her creativity,” she states.

For more than three decades, the artist has expanded from her role as wife and mother to becoming a student artist and an accomplished painter. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1976 and Master of Fine Arts in 1979, both from GW.

She became a GW faculty member herself, from 1980 to 1987, teaching watercolor and portraiture as part of the Department of Fine Arts and Art History, as well as having her work exhibited worldwide.

Miller curated exhibitions of her work in a seven-museum tour of “Clarice Smith: Remembered Moments,” exhibited in GW’s Dimock Gallery in 1986.

Miller next collaborated with her to write the essay for “Clarice Smith ReCollection 1978-2003” that accompanied an exhibition at The Art Gallery, University of Maryland, in October 2003, preceded in May 2003 by an exhibit of Smith’s paintings at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery titled “Clarice Smith: Paintings.”

Now Clarice Smith’s gift will enable Miller to undertake a new series of exhibits.
Details are in the process of being determined, but the first exhibit will employ a timeline concept and incorporate historical and fine arts teaching methodology with the galleries’ archives into a catalogue, taking “history” painting as a theme, including figuration, drawing, portraiture, and emphasizing its long tradition. Miller will seek contemporary artists of importance who work with history painting. The second and third exhibits are in the planning stages.

Clarice Smith “has confidence that the gallery will continue to grow,” Miller says, “that we will bring other artists into the exhibition schedule. These projects will merge scholarly tradition with artistic creativity and enable the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery to be a catalyst for dialogue.”

—Jeannette Belliveau

Vessey Fellowship to Help Disabled Veterans Earn MBA

Gen. John W. Vessey Jr. (Ret.), MBA '65

A lifetime military career serving America is a tribute to the patriotism of GW alumnus Gen. John W. Vessey Jr. (Ret.). But this former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff continues to honor his country and his graduate university in a personal way—by dedicating considerable resources to help disabled veterans.

Vessey’s gift will endow the Gen. John W. Vessey Graduate Fellowship program to help disabled veterans earn an MBA degree at the GW School of Business. Vessey earned his MBA at GW in 1965 while he was an Army officer stationed at the Pentagon. He served as chair of the joint chiefs under President Ronald Reagan before retiring from the U.S. Army in 1985 after 46 years of military service.

“This graduate fellowship was an opportunity to help others, and we had the ability to do it,” said Vessey, who has lived in his home state of Minnesota since retirement. Vessey returned to GW this spring to deliver the keynote address at the School of Business’s undergraduate graduation ceremonies.

Vessey said he was in part motivated to create and endow the unique fellowship program because of visits he makes to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., for his annual checkups. “I see all these very talented young people with serious disabilities,” he says. “It seemed appropriate to put at least one little drop in the pool to give them some help.”

The retired general plans to continue supporting the fellowship program in future years and hopes to see other alumni join him in supporting veterans seeking graduate degrees.

While the primary intent of his gift is to help disabled veterans, in accordance with University standards others may receive the fellowships if no veterans apply in a particular year. The first fellowships will be awarded in the fall of 2008.

Story courtesy of GW School of Business

Alumni Reunion Weekend Brings Thousands Back To GW

Joel Bolstein, BA ’82, JD ’87, had never even attended a class reunion. This year, Bolstein returned to GW for Alumni Reunion Weekend as the co-chair of the committee planning his 25th reunion. What made him decide to get involved?

“We have so many fond memories of GW and now we get to create new ones,” he says. “Over the years you come to realize how important GW is in your life—the experiences you had and the many friends you made. I’m at that point now in my life and career that I feel it’s time to give back.”

Bolstein was one of thousands of alumni who came back to campus Sept. 28-30 for Alumni Reunion Weekend. The full slate of activities included a Latin-themed kick-off party, a concert by renowned jazz guitarist John McLaughlin, a tour of Thurston Hall, brunch with President Steven Knapp, faculty lectures, class parties, and a Yankees-Orioles game. Beyond the events, the weekend provided a great opportunity for alumni to reconnect with classmates and see how campus has changed.

Bolstein recognized more than many of his contemporaries because he was back in Foggy Bottom just one month earlier helping his son, Sam, move into Thurston Hall. “When it came time for him to look at colleges, GW was at the top of his list,” Bolstein explains. “How could it not be with parents who spoke so highly of the University?”

Bolstein and his wife, Donna Snyder, BA ’82, met during their senior year and raised their son in a household with plenty of GW pride. “Since he was little, we would watch GW basketball games together on television,” Bolstein says. “For the last few years, we’d go watch the team in person whenever they came to Philadelphia.”

After their reunion experience, and with their son now a member of the Colonials community, Bolstein says he and his wife plan to remain active members of the GW alumni network.

Arthur Perlis, BA ’70, also found himself back at GW thanks to his son, Lee, BBA ’98, and daughter, Lauren, BA ’01. Perlis and Artie Mintz, BBA ’66, led a drive to draw Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity members from 1962 to 1972 to this year’s reunion. They identified more than 200 brothers from that time period and were able to reconnect with about 100 over Alumni Reunion Weekend.

“The fun thing was every time we made a phone call the connection was always the same,” Perlis explains. “We’d get five seconds of silence, then spend the next 45 minutes telling stories and reminiscing. It has been a lot of fun, a hugely rewarding experience, and I would recommend this to anyone.”

AEPi was one of several groups that hosted exclusive events during Reunion Weekend, including the Black Alumni Association, LGBT Alumni Association, College Democrats, College Republicans, and Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Several Colonials traveled great distances to attend the wide array of events that were planned for alumni.

Manuel Carrelet, BBA ’82, ventured from Salisbury, Great Britain, for Alumni Reunion Weekend. “GW was for me the most incredible slice of life. Coming back after such a long time involves both re-enacting the past and a curiosity about the people and the place today,” says Carrelet.

Ralph Cadeaux, BA ’49, traveled by boat and train from the United Kingdom for the Alumni Emeriti Reunion. Cadeaux and other Alumni Emeriti were treated to entertainment by local accordion legend Merv Conn, class of 1940, at their reunion party.

To learn more about 2007 Alumni Reunion Weekend or get involved in your upcoming Reunion, visit

—Caitlin Carroll

Dear Fellow Colonials,

Richard Crespin, BA ’93

It truly is an exciting time to be a member of the GW alumni community! Our University welcomes President Steven Knapp; a new chairman of the Board of Trustees, Russ Ramsey; and a new associate vice president for alumni relations and development, Adrienne A. Rulnick.

As the president of your GW Alumni Association, I am privileged to represent the interests of fellow alumni and to volunteer alongside the dynamic graduates that constitute the association’s board of directors. I want to take this opportunity to share with you some of the goals of your association and invite you to participate in a special event this fall.

The GW Alumni Association has established three priorities for the coming years: Lifetime Engagement, Gathering a Voice, and Building a Culture of Philanthropy. Beginning with this column, I will discuss each of the goals and provide more information on how we hope to bring them to fruition.

Lifetime Engagement. Simply stated, we want alumni and students to feel part of our worldwide family, from the moment of admission and during the years that follow. With the help of the University, we will develop programs and initiatives to appeal to and involve alumni at every stage of their lives.

GW boasts more than 220,000 alumni in more than 145 countries. We all are part of a community with a global reach and a local touch. Your network of friends, loved ones, and colleagues most likely includes several fellow GW alums. When I moved to New York in 2001, I knew almost no one. Thanks to the GWAA chapter there, I came away with some great friends and business contacts that will last a lifetime.

The strength of the GW network and the value of lifetime engagement will be highlighted during inauguration week festivities Nov. 13-16. GW’s Lifelong and Worldwide Community Day on Nov. 15 is full of activities celebrating the achievements of GW alumni and the bonds between graduates and other members of the GW community. Activities will introduce President Knapp to alumni and showcase the breadth of the student-alumni network. Alumni will have the opportunity to attend breakfast with President Knapp, academic panels featuring high-profile graduates, and lunch for students and alumni modeled after the popular “Dinner with Alumni” series. Please join us in Washington for this exciting day.

The Lifelong and Worldwide Community Day is one of many events and activities planned to celebrate the inauguration of Steven Knapp as the University’s 16th president. For more information about the Inaugural festivities, visit We hope to have a large number of alumni participate!

If you would like to get involved in the GW Alumni Association, I encourage you to contact us by e-mail: I look forward to hearing from and working with you in the months ahead!

Richard Crespin, BA ’93
President, GW Alumni Association, 2007-09