GSPM Kicks Off 30th Anniversary with a Salute to Distinguished Alumni

US Capital
The U.S. Capitol dome served as a backdrop for the 30th anniversary reception of GW's Graduate School of Political Management. (Harrison Jones/GW Today)
October 25, 2017

More than one-third of the 4,000 alumni of the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) live and work in Washington, D.C. So, it’s fitting that the reception kicking off its 30th year was held with a view of the U.S. Capitol dome as a backdrop.

As GSPM Alumni Association President Ed Elfmann pointed out, “We’re in the room. We’re part of the conversation,” with the program continuing to be a resource for alumni as they move into their professional careers.

For the several hundred faculty members, students and alumni gathered on the Capitol View Hotel rooftop, Dr. Lara Brown, the new director and associate professor in the political management program, provided a brief review of GSPM’s beginnings, which was chartered by New York lawyer Neil Fabricant in 1986 as a freestanding graduate school, not to train politicians, but to study what they do.

It was founding Dean Christopher Arterton who created the graduate school that was donated to GW in 1995. The program now also offers degrees in strategic public relations and a Spanish language online program that has trained elected officials across Latin America.

In 2006, GSPM joined GW’s College of Professional Studies, bringing a 20-year history of graduate programs in applied politics. Like many other CPS programs, GSPM offers graduate degrees for working professionals. Classes are offered at three campuses, including the Foggy Bottom Campus and The Hall of the States (directly across from the US Capitol Hill Complex), both in Washington, D.C., as well as in Alexandria, VA.

“We have graduates and students all over the world working in politics to make things different and change the current political climate,” Dr. Brown said.

Dr. Brown
GSPM Director Lara Brown addresses attendees at the program's 30th anniversary reception. (Harrison Jones/GW Today)

A highlight of the evening was the recognition of GSPM’s 2017 Alumni Achievement Award winners, who were honored for making their marks in political and public affairs.

  • Elizabeth “Liz” Reicherts, who graduated in 2000, was chosen for her leadership as the head of U.S. government affairs for Siemens, the electrical and technological company. Ms. Reicherts oversees the company’s strategy on U.S. policy and international affairs.
  • Lindsey Schuh Cortes, from the class of 2007, was singled out for her work as the CEO of BlueLabs, a data and analytics strategy consulting firm.  She was acknowledged for cultivating a strong, diverse and motivated team of data and tech pioneers while managing the company’s finances, operations and legal works.
  • Barrett Karr, a 2000 GSPM graduate, received a citation for serving as chief of staff for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Ms. Karr supervises the congressman’s office and advises him on the legislative agenda, political strategy and schedule. Ms. Karr has more than 20 years of experience in both Congress and the White House, where she served as the deputy assistant for legislative affairs to President George W. Bush.

Jamie Gahun, who stopped by the reception after her workday as chief of staff for John Colbertson (R-Tex.) was promoted to her current position while she was in the GSPM program. She said the value of the program was not just in the job she landed.

“It’s about the people you meet, the skills you learn that you can apply right away to the job that you’re doing,” Ms. Gahun said. “My professors were hands on every day in the business. I work with them still today, and they are all great assets, a great network.”

Read more information about the Anniversary celebration in GW Today