TWC Celebrates 50,000 Alumni and Partners at its Annual Gala Event
At The Washington Center's (TWC) annual Gala this year, close to 550 board members, staff, partners and friends of the organization gathered together at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The night highlighted TWC's partnerships with colleges and universities, donors, alumni, governments, internships sites and over 50,000 alumni worldwide. Guests travelled from places as distant as Hawaii and Puerto Rico to attend this event.
Cokie Roberts, Political Commentator for ABC News and Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio, served as the Master of Ceremonies during the event. She kicked off the night with a celebration of TWC's 50,000 alumni, both undergraduates and postgraduates, committed to TWC's three pillars: civic engagement, leadership and professional achievement. Roberts introudced Alan J. Blinken, Former Ambassador to Belgium, who also serves as TWC's Chairman of the Board. He spoke about TWC's partnerships and toasted to generations dedicated to both "leading and serving."
2012 Pillar Award for Leadership
This year, the Honorable Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) received the 2012 Pillar Award for Leadership. He is the most senior member of the Senate and President Pro-Tempore. Before his time in both the House and the Senate, Inouye served in the decorated 442nd Regimental Combat team, made up of Japanese Americans who served their country during WWII, despite the discrimination they were facing at the time. At the end of his speech, Sen. Inouye encouraged young professionals to "remember all of us have a duty; a duty to ourselves, to our families, and to help others. That's what you were selected for when you became an intern. Whatever you do, do so with honor."
2012 Pillar Award for Civic Engagement
TWC was excited to award Nancy Jacobson, TWC alumna ('82), with the 2012 Pillar Award for Civic Engagement. Since 1984, Jacobson has worked in Washington, D.C. as a strategic advisor, entrepreneur, executive, fundraiser and relationship/network cultivator. She is best known for founding No Labels in 2009, where she currently serves as the Founder & CEO. Jacobson encouraged audience members to prioritize making the world a better place because "it is one of the most satisfying and rewarding life paths to take. My hope is that seeds get planted with the interns that work with my organization so that one day, other young women and men will pursue a path for impact and engagement in the world."
2012 Pillar Award for Professional Achievement
TWC awarded its 2012 Pillar Award for Professional Achievement to the Honorable Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Majority Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman McCarthy represents the 22nd District of California. Accepting on the Congressman's behalf was Jeannine Denholm, TWC Alumna ('97), who is currently a field producer for "The Doctors."
2012 Lifetime Achievement Award
The night concluded with the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring Norman Y. Mineta, former Secretary of Transportation for the Bush Administration and a member of TWC's National Advisory Board. This award is bestowed on an individual whose commitment to opportunity and youth leadership has advanced TWC's mission. TWC recognized former Secretary Mineta not only for his outstanding leadership, but also for his internationally recognized dedication to public service. One of the biggest surprises of the night was the guest appearance of Alan Simpson, Former Senator of Wyoming, who is Mineta's childhood and lifetime best friend, as well as a special salute from President George W. Bush congratulating Mineta on the award.
University and Corporate Partnerships
Michael B. Smith, TWC's President, spoke about the transformational experience of a quality internship, where students "enter as interns but emerge as alumni with broader perspectives, stronger skills and real-world experiences. In these times, TWC's work is part of the solution and has never been more important." He also spoke about the role of partners and sponsors who help make so much of what TWC does possible. Over 30 university partners joined TWC for the evening, with 11 university presidents and chancellors in attendance:
- Dana Mohler-Faria-Bridgewater State University
- Beth Dinndorf-Columbia College, South Carolina
- Doug Whitlock-Eastern Kentucky University
- Tom McGovern-Fisher College
- Ken Jones-Lubbock Christian University
- Dandy DiBiasio-Ohio Northern University
- Harold Shanck-Ohio Valley University
- Carlos Campo-Regent University
- Charles Middleton-Roosevelt University
- Jose Jaime Riviera-Sacred Heart University of Puerto Rico
- Shirley Raines-University of Memphis
The Prudential Foundation Partnership
Smith also highlighted TWC's partnerships with corporation and foundation partners. He spoke about the wonderful relationships cultivated with the Prudential Foundation, which recently renewed and doubled its investment with TWC with a two million dollar grant over the next three years. The Prudential Foundation Global Citizens Program will enable 120 students from selected universities in Brazil, China, Korea, Taiwan, India and Japan an opportunity to spend a semester interning in Washington, D.C. President Smith was pleased to see "how this two-decade long partnership between The Washington Center and Prudential has evolved over these years."
TWC raised nearly $500,000 in proceeds that will be designated as scholarships for our future students. We are thankful to our donors and contributors for making this year's Gala such a great success.