May 2012 | Vol . 4 Issue 2

      Alumni Newsletter
Closing Gala to Honor Mayor, Botswana Ambassador and Others


160th Anniversary
Closing Gala

Friday, May 18

160th Anniversary Legacy Brunch
(by invitation only)
Sunday, May 20

For sponsorship and donor opportunities, contact
Lee Brian Reba at or 202.274.5561.


National Alumni Society (UDCNAS)
Board of Directors Meeting

Saturday, May 26
10:30 a.m.

Please click here for more information.


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On Friday, May 18, UDC is concluding its 160th Anniversary celebration with a Closing Gala at the Mayflower Hotel. Our honorary gala chairs for this event are DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray and His Excellency Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Judith F. Terra, chair of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is our gala chair; Francine and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, former president of George Washington University, are serving as gala co-chairs; and Christine M. Warnke, senior governmental affairs advisor from Hogan Lovells, is our host committee chair, ensuring that this will be a magnificent celebration of our honorees. Mistress of ceremonies for the evening is Doreen Gentzler from NBC4 in Washington.

Jim Dinegar, president and CEO of the Greater Washington Board of Trade; Barbara B. Lang, president and CEO of the DC Chamber of Commerce, and Michele V. Hagans, president and CEO of the Fort Lincoln New Town Corporation, will be honored as the recipients of our 160th Anniversary Medal. Her Excellency Tebeleo Seretse, ambassador of the Republic of Botswana, and Mayor Gray will also be awarded with a 160th Anniversary Medal. The President’s Award is being awarded to the first chairman of the Board of Trustees, The Honorable Ronald H. Brown, posthumously. Council member Michael A. Brown will be accepting the award on behalf of the Brown Family. 

UDC occupies a unique place in the academic life of our country. From our founding as the Myrtilla Miner School for Colored Girls in 1851 to today, the University’s mission has consistently provided higher education for an under-served population. As the only public university in our nation’s capital and only urban land-grant university in the US, this mission is still critical to the Washington region.   

Proceeds from the 160th Anniversary Closing Gala will support University programs, student scholarships and need-based tuition. For sponsorship and donor opportunities, contact
Lee Brian Reba,

Campus News

CityBridge Foundation Commits $250,000

The CityBridge Foundation generously committed $250,000 to support the UDC Center for Urban Education, Early Childhood Leadership Institute, Pre-K Teacher-Intern Program and Early Childhood Lab School. This gift not only provides vital programmatic support, but it also affirms the strategic direction that the University and the District are taking to better prepare early childhood educators.

The Pre-K Teacher-Intern Program, which is consistent with the Higher Education Incentive Grant provision established under the Pre-K Enhancement Expansion Act of 2008, supports the national recruitment and education of former Jumpstart Corps members. Selected Jumpstart Corps graduates will serve as teacher-interns for one year and as teacher-of-record for two subsequent years in community-based pre-K classrooms. Additionally, interns will receive scholarship/stipend support and be mentored and coached as they matriculate through the program.

CityBridge will be a lead sponsor for UDC’s closing gala on May 18 and will be recognized on the newly renovated Dr. Cleveland L. Dennard Plaza.

UDC Receives Anonymous Gift Toward 160th Anniversary

UDC is proud to announce the pledge of a $50,000 anonymous gift. This gift is just one of many needed contributions to ensure our 160th Anniversary events are a resounding success. With only a few weeks remaining until our closing gala celebration on May 18th, we encourage everyone to join us in making this milestone celebration a huge success! To learn more on how you can support the 160th Anniversary activities, visit Your support—at any level—is encouraged.

Dennard Plaza's Official Reopening Marks UDC’s Sustainability Commitment

UDC president Dr. Allen Sessoms welcomed Mayor Vincent Gray, members of the City Council, and the community to a ribbon-cutting ceremony, signaling a rebirth for Washington’s only public university. As the biggest green-roof project in the city, the renovated Dr. Cleveland L. Dennard Plaza represents the University’s commitment to become a model of sustainability for the country. Please click here to view a short view of the cememony.

CONSYS, Inc. Commits to Gala Sponsorship

CONSYS, Inc. has made a commitment for a $50,000 sponsorship for the 160th Closing Gala on May 18, 2012.   This commitment adds to the University's' ability to provide support to programs, student scholarships and need-based tuition.

Alumni News

Mindy Hill ’10 Making a Difference in Jakarta

 A deep desire to explore and grow has lit the adventure spark in many. In the case of Mindy Hill, she has embarked on a month-long trip to Jakarta, Indonesia, for the Exchange of a Lifetime project and cultural fellowship. Hill’s career objective is to assist underserved communities and work toward providing them with the tools and expertise to improve their quality of life.

Hill says she has a strong, personal interest in Indonesia that began when she was a communications major at UDC. At that time, she and fellow communications student Tina Soesianto, who hails from Indonesia, became study colleagues and good friends. The two found themselves immersed in doing beat stories and photography assignments together and soon discovered they had much in common. Bridging barriers for Hill meant she wanted to find out more about her friend’s culture. The Exchange of a Lifetime fellowship made it possible for the two to continue the friendship and do work with an important long-range goal: to provide water purification and filtration solutions for sustainable drinking water for the people of Jakarta. “We are in search of a partnership and point of contact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, as well as with a water company in Jakarta, to make this happen,” Hill explains. She is also looking at UDC’s Water Resources Research Institute as a collaborative player for the pilot project and beyond. Hill says, “I’m optimistic about what the future holds for this exchange!” Hill, a program analyst with the Health Resources and Services Administration, a component of the US Department of Health and Human Services, will return to the US in June. For more details, email  

James D. Gaston III ’11, Exemplar Alumnus

Upon receiving his MPA from UDC last May, James D. Gaston III immediately joined the University of the District of Columbia National Alumni Society, where he is the fundraising co-chair. In fact, it seems he has the Midas touch when it comes to putting into action his support for his alma maters. The Morehouse College Alumni Association DC Chapter is awarding Gaston, who received his BA in urban studies from Morehouse in '94, its 2011–12 Man of the Year award for his dedication to the organization. That ceremony will take place at Morehouse College in Atlanta during its 2012 reunion/commencement weekend, May 18–20. In addition to his own service in the UDCNAS and the MCAADC, Gaston encourages other young alumni to get involved. Email Gaston at


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