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Development and Alumni Relations

Classmates Honor Fallen GW Alumnus with Gift to NROTC

(Left to right) Cmdr. George Wikoff; Midshipman First Class Shayne Kappus, recipient of the Maj. Ricardo A. Crocker Memorial Award; Cmdr. Glenn Kuffel, BA '89; Curtis Crocker; Chris Preble, BA '89; Capt. Brian Gawne, commanding officer of the GW NROTC program; Tom Skolnicki, BBA '89; Lt. Col. Tim Oliver, BS '89; Cmdr. Dan Brintzinghoffer, BA '90; and George Kelley, BS '89

Ricardo A. Crocker, BA '89, was a nearly 10-year veteran of the Santa Monica Police Department and a major in the U.S. Marine Corps when he was one of three Marines killed May 25, 2005, in a rocket-propelled grenade attack during a counterinsurgency operation in Haditha, Iraq. Touched by the death of their friend and comrade, members of the GW NROTC class of 1989 pledged to create an award in memory of Maj. Crocker, the first in their class to be killed in action.

"The GW NROTC class of 1989 wanted to honor our fallen classmate," says Cmdr. Glenn Kuffel, BA '89, of the U.S. Navy. "This award is given to the midshipman that best represents Rick and is meant as a tribute to his memory as a total person: a scholar, athlete, and leader."

Fund raising efforts are continuing, and Lt. Col. Tim Oliver, BS '89, of the U.S. Marine Corps, generously provided the necessary funds for the inaugural Maj. Ricardo A. Crocker Memorial Award. The award was presented by Capt. Brian Gawne of the U.S. Navy, who is commanding officer of the GW NROTC program; Col. Oliver; and Curtis Crocker, Maj. Crocker's father, to GW Midshipman First Class Shayne Kappus during the unit award ceremony.

The award includes an officer sword presented to a graduating Navy or Marine Option first class midshipman or officer candidate who embodies the U.S. Naval Service's core values, displays prowess in athletic competition, has shown academic perseverance and tenacity, and possesses natural leadership qualities. The annual recipient is chosen by a selection board of the unit's marine officer instructor and other members appointed by the unit's commanding officer.

With the award's endowment fund at more than 60 percent of its goal, the NROTC class of 1989 members plan to make the award in perpetuity so that it can continue to recognize and honor some of GW's most outstanding students as well as the man for whom it is named.

"The George Washington University has a history of excellence, and many of its graduates have given their lives for their country," Cmdr. Kuffel says. "The GW community has sacrificed. This award is a way for us to come together to honor its fallen."

For information on how to contribute to the Maj. Ricardo A. Crocker Memorial Award fund, please contact Kate Osterman at 202-994-7132 or

—Gray Turner

Health Care Entrepreneurs Win GW Business Plan Competition

Members of the HealthEworks team receive the $20,000 first-place check from Pierre Guimard, Allison Scott Guimard, BBA '05; John Rollins; and Annette Scott, sponsor of the GW Business Plan Competition.

HealthEworks, a service that customizes and improves health education for patients who receive urgent care, won the $20,000 first-place prize at the GW Business Plan Competition April 15 and 16. The money, along with a total of $10,000 awarded and split among three runner-up teams, will help launch their start-up businesses.

The competition is part of the GW Summit on Entrepreneurship and is sponsored by the School of Business and its Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence. Winning team members Christina Johns, David Mathison, and Moh Saidinejad are all pediatric emergency room doctors. As health care providers, they are familiar with opportunities to improve health education provided to patients. This spurred the idea for HealthEworks, which will help patients better understand their illnesses.

The GW Business Plan Competition finalists survived three rounds of competition over a two-month period and were selected from an original pool of more than 100 entries. During the final round April 16, each team presented creative and innovative business plans to a distinguished panel of entrepreneurs and business leaders in a real-world presentation format modeled after venture capital presentations.

First runners-up were James Albis and Raymond Marcovici, who presented two aromatherapy products to help reduce hunger and increase energy. Second runner-up was Ari Menase, who presented a plan to import Angus cattle to Turkey for breeding and local sale. Third runners-up were Richard N. Bradford and Kate Comiskey, who presented a plan for a personal security training service for federal employees.

The GW Business Plan Competition, funded by donors Annette and Richard Scott, awards $30,000 in cash prizes to GW teams presenting great ideas for a new product or service. The Scotts' daughter, Allison Scott Guimard, graduated from GW's Business School in 2005. Visit for more photos from the events.

—David Garofalo

GW Global Forum

GW's second annual Global Forum is coming to the Big Apple.

This special gathering will build on the success of the inaugural Global Forum Hong Kong in 2009, bringing together expert faculty and alumni speakers on timely global issues. The Global Forum New York will provide GW community members with an opportunity to network with prominent graduates, parents, students, and friends and to share insights with members of the university's worldwide community, all in one of the world's most exciting global cities.

Events planned for Thursday, Oct. 28, and Friday, Oct. 29, at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan include a distinguished keynote, panel discussions on global finance and global women's issues, and a networking reception.

For more information on the 2010 Global Forum NYC, visit

Seven Receive Alumni Service Awards

(Left to right) Steven D. Frenkil, BA '74; Mitchell E. Blaser, BBA '73; Michael P. Akin, BA '03, MBA '07 (recipient of the Jane Lingo Alumni Outstanding Service Award); Dawn B. Duquès, BA '69; President Steven Knapp; Weston D. Burnett, JD '75, LLM '83; David C. Karlgaard, DSc '74; and J. Zoë Beckerman, JD '05, Pub Health Cert '05.

The GW Alumni Association and President Steven Knapp honored seven graduates with 2010 Alumni Outstanding Service Awards at an April 29 ceremony on the university's Foggy Bottom campus.

The Alumni Outstanding Service Award (previously the Distinguished Alumni Service Award) is given to graduates who advance the mission of the university through dedicated volunteer efforts in support of its programs, thereby ensuring the university's impact on its community and future generations of students.

The Jane Lingo Alumni Outstanding Service Award commemorates the service of Jane Lingo, BA '46, an alumna, staff member, and friend who was a lifelong participant in The George Washington University family until she passed away in 2007.

For more information on the Alumni Service Awards, visit

Women and Philanthropy Forum: A Time for Sharing

(Left to right) Panelists Steffanie Burgevin, BA '68, Jane Cafritz, and Ellen Macks, a GW parent, share a laugh.

On April 28, the second annual Women and Philanthropy Forum brought together about 100 women to discuss the scope and impact of women's wealth and to highlight the social and economic change driven by women's philanthropy.

The forum, titled "Women Share Their Stories," featured keynote speeches by GW Board of Trustees member Ellen Zane,
BA '73, president and CEO of the Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children, and international philanthropist Alice Chiu. A panel discussion featured Carol S. Engel, BBA '85, MBA '88, founder of C.S. Engel & Associates; Steffanie Burgevin, BA '68, senior vice president-investment officer with Wells Fargo Advisors; Jane Cafritz, private practice real estate development attorney; and Ellen Macks, a civic leader and a GW parent.

In addition, the winners of the 2009-10 Hot Mommas Project Case Study Competition were honored during a luncheon at the event. The Hot Mommas Project is an award-winning venture housed at the GW School of Business that makes women's stories teachable to provide scalable, global access to mentors and role models.

About 100 women attended the event.

Keynote speaker Ellen Zane, BA '73, shares her personal thoughts on philanthropy with attendees.

Regional Alumni Clubs Connect Colonials

Search the locations of GW's 30-plus U.S. alumni clubs and more than 20 international alumni chapters on the alumni maps at

The number of GW regional alumni clubs has nearly doubled in the past two years to more than 30 nationwide. A combination of new staff members and dedicated alumni volunteers looking to reconnect with Colonials in their area has contributed to great diversity in club locations and programming.

The Philadelphia Alumni Club is one of GW's more established alumni clubs, with nearly 5,000 graduates in the region and about eight programs each year. The club is fortunate to count among its members Al Nadel, BS '71, JD '76, a self-professed "GW lifer." "I am part of GW because GW is part of me, and a very significant and welcome part it is," Mr. Nadel says.

Shira Rosenwald, BBA '05, is also grateful for the GW alumni she has met in Philadelphia. As a young alumna, she says she enjoys still feeling connected to the university, even from afar.

The Chicago Alumni Club hosts about six events per year for the nearly 2,500 local alumni, and it is poised to grow. Jonathan Schwartz, BA '02, has been instrumental in helping to establish the club and expects that "in the next five years, the GW Chicago Alumni Club will be regarded as a unique, thriving presence that puts together creative, top-notch events with the help and support of the university."

Fellow Chicago alumna volunteer Colleen Carignan, BA '00, says her involvement with the club is a reflection of her "dedication to the growth of the university and pride in being able to carry the alumni tradition into the future."

One of the newest clubs, in Orange County, Calif., has nearly 1,000 alumni members. Becky Williams, BA '83, attended the kick-off event and was impressed with her fellow Colonials, whom she called "energetic and completely excited about forming an alumni group here in O.C."

Good things are sure to come from Orange County and beyond, as alumni volunteers work with the university to unite a broad network of GW graduates around the country and the globe.

To find or start a regional club in your area, or to learn more about GW's regional alumni clubs and more than 20 international alumni chapters, visit

—Rachel Firgens

Senior Class Gift Campaign Coordinator Kelly Stokes, BA '10, presents President Steven Knapp, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees Nelson Carbonell, BA '85, and Chairman W. Russell Ramsey, BBA '81, with the 2010 Senior Class Gift.

Senior Class Gift

At a May 13 celebration on Kogan Plaza, surrounded by hundreds of members of the class of 2010, Senior Class Gift Campaign Coordinator Kelly Stokes presented Chairman of the Board of Trustees W. Russell Ramsey, Vice Chairman Nelson Carbonell, and President Steven Knapp with the 2010 Senior Class Gift totaling $74,838. This is the largest gift in three years of the Senior Class Gift campaign. A record 39.9 percent of the class members participated by giving to the school, program, or GW organization of their choice. "I am incredibly proud of the impact on GW our class has made this year through the Senior Class Gift Campaign," Ms. Stokes says. "I hope that it will serve as an example for future classes on how much even small donations can add up to big results."

A Little Goes a Long Way…

Your gift to the Annual Fund makes a difference:

Compared to 2009 year-to-date:

Overall Annual Giving is up 15%

Parent giving is up 19% in dollars and 48% in number of donors

Online giving is up 48%

The GW Power & Promise Fund for student aid is up 40% in dollars and 59% in number of gifts—totaling more than $1 million in gifts for student aid.

From The GWAA President

Laura Taddeucci Downs, BA '92, MA '95

Dear Fellow Colonials,

As I addressed the crowd of 25,000 graduates, their families, and friends on May 16, I was filled with a deep sense of pride in our alma mater.

Before me I saw a sea of smiling faces illuminated by the sun shining down on the National Mall. Off in the distance, looking toward the rear of the crowd, the Washington Monument appeared to rise out of the mass of spectators clad in buff and blue. Behind me was the U.S. Capitol. To my left was our Commencement speaker, first lady Michelle Obama.

It was a fitting setting to celebrate the achievements of the class of 2010 and to provide a warm welcome to the newest members of the GW alumni community.

Commencement signals the close of another academic year and provides an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come as an Alumni Association. I considered this carefully as I prepared for presentations at the GW Board of Trustees meeting in May and at the GW Alumni Association annual meeting in June.

We have continued to focus on our three priorities: Enabling Lifelong Engagement, Gathering a Voice for Alumni, and Building a Culture of Philanthropy. There are several accomplishments of note in each of these areas:

• Enabling Lifelong Engagement:In 2009-10 the GWAA and Office of Alumni Relations produced nearly 200 events that drew about 10,000 alumni, parents, students, and friends. We increased the resources put toward connecting with alumni through affinity groups, industry groups, and expanded programming outside the Washington, D.C., metro area. These activities are augmented by signature programs like Alumni Weekend in Washington and the GW Global Forum, which was held in Hong Kong in 2009 and will be coming to New York City in October 2010.

• Gathering a Voice for Alumni: About 7,000 GW graduates responded to a wide-ranging online survey in April that helped us better understand your needs as alumni. This helped us realize we need to do a better job communicating about alumni benefits and services, utilizing technology and events to connect alumni outside the mid-Atlantic area, and segmenting our communications and programs based on your interests. I also was glad to see improvement on nearly every measure as compared with five years ago.

• Building a Culture of Philanthropy: To achieve this goal we know we must deliver on the first two objectives, as well as lead by example. This year, 97 percent of GWAA board members participated in the Annual Fund. Even more significantly, close to two-thirds of board members have contributed at the Luther Rice Society level ($1,000 or more annually), with total giving topping $331,000.

As I move into my second year as your GW Alumni Association president, I am pleased by our recent accomplishments but committed to doing even more to serve GW graduates.

I recently solicited ideas on our LinkedIn group about what you would like to see the GWAA do in the coming year. Many of you responded and provided some great suggestions. Keep the ideas and feedback coming; you can e-mail me anytime at Thank you for your continued support!


Laura Taddeucci Downs, BA ’92, MA ’95
President, GW Alumni Association, 2009-11

Helping Students Make Their Mark

J. Richard Knop endows $1 million scholarship

Rick Knop, JD '69, and his wife, Leslee Belluchie

J. Richard Knop, JD '69, had been out of touch with his alma mater when an article profiling his successful career as a merger expert who found a niche in government contracting appeared in a January 2006 issue of The Washington Post.

Frederick M. Lawrence, dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law, read the article and invited Mr. Knop to lunch and then to join the Law School's Board of Advisors. Today, Mr. Knop is an active alumnus who served as chair of the recent campaign that created the endowed Nash-Cibinic Professorship in government contracts law. As a new member of GW's Board of Trustees, he shares his experience and expertise with the wider university community.

Now that he is in a position to give back to GW, he hopes to give current students opportunities he never had. The Law School recently announced the establishment of the J. Richard Knop Scholarship Fund, based on a $1 million gift from Mr. Knop and his wife, Leslee Belluchie.

"I am hopeful that in some small way my contribution to the Law School and GW will help attract high-quality students who would not otherwise be able to come to GW," Mr. Knop says. The gift is part of the George Washington Power & Promise Fund, which seeks to ensure that qualified students, regardless of financial resources, can take full advantage of a GW education.

Mr. Knop, who is a recipient of GW's Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, remembers working to put himself through law school. When he was a student, Mr. Knop took classes in the mornings and then walked three blocks to his office at the State Department, where he clerked for Marjorie Whiteman, then-counselor of international law. He worked full time in the summer and part time during the academic year. "I would not have been able to go to law school without that job," he says.

Mr. Knop is co-founder of the Windsor Group, a middle-market mergers and acquisitions firm that BB&T Capital Markets purchased five years ago. He was senior managing director at BB&T and co-head of its government and defense group before founding the private equity fund FedCap earlier this year. FedCap focuses on the government contracting industry, an area of strength for GW's Law School, he says.

The current economic downturn and the high cost of living in Washington make it hard for people to pay for law school, Mr. Knop says. "Hopefully, this scholarship will help keep the caliber of the student body high."