George Welcomes

Daily Show host Trevor Noah, Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch III and award-winning author Elizabeth Acevedo, BA ’10, were among the headliners at university events this year.


Anousheh Ansari


“If we learned one thing in the past 18 months, it is that we need to expect anything. It’s the flexibility and the awareness that change happens more frequently than we’ve ever expected before, and it will be the only constant moving forward.”

Astronaut Anousheh Ansari, MS ’92, CEO of XPRIZE Foundation, speaking in July on an alumni panel titled “Celebrating 200 Years: GW on the Pulse of Space and Technology”


“When I was in college, I always believed that once I graduated, the clouds would part, my future would be clear in front of me, and that calm certainty would be my lot in life. Boy, was I wrong. Trust me when I tell you that your lives will unfold in ways you can’t conceive of.”

Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lonnie Bunch III addressing graduates at GW’s virtual commencement ceremony in May
Lonnie Bunch III

Abby Phillip


“I think the most important skill that I utilize as a journalist is being willing to see differences in other people and understand them. I get that from the fact that my parents came to this country from a completely different culture and had to learn how to acclimate to America and how to love America.”

Abby Phillip, CNN senior political correspondent, on the impact of her family’s immigration from Trinidad and Tobago on her work, as part of GW’s Race in America Lecture Series




“Under my leadership, we’re going back to doing what we do best, which is relying on science, facts and data.”

Environmental Protection Agency Chief Michael S. Regan, MPA ’04, speaking at the 2021 Planet Forward Summit

“The way some people, when they’re experiencing a lot of pain, they have to scream and curse? I use comedy. Oftentimes that helps me deal with the truth of it without feeling like all is lost.”

Daily Show host Trevor Noah, talking to GW students in a virtual event sponsored by the Program Board


“GW was my first choice—I was completely obsessed with going there. I was very excited to experience the school, the city and to go there with big eyes wide open, like, ‘OK, let’s see what I fall in love with.’”

Fashion designer, stylist and entrepreneur Rachel Zoe, BA ’93, speaking at an alumni panel titled “Celebrating 200 Years: GW’s Impact on Entrepreneurship”


Rachel Zoe

“I would make up these songs and these poems and these stories. … And then the next day I would be upset because I couldn’t remember any of the words, because I was 4, and my memory wasn’t that good. I remember thinking: Just you wait until I know how to write. When I know how to write, I’m not going to forget any of the words.”

Award-winning author Elizabeth Acevedo, BA ’10, on how she got her start telling stories at a GW bicentennial celebration event sponsored by the GW Alumni Association