In 2015, The Washington Center commemorated 40 years of transformational higher education at their annual gala, "40 & Forward".
The gala raised nearly $500,000 for student scholarships that was offered for hundreds of students throughout the 2015-2016 academic year. Serving as master of ceremonies was Teresa Rodriguez, host of "Aquí y Ahora" on Univision.
The audience — which included more than 50 The Washington Center alumni and representatives of more than 30 colleges — also heard from several distinguished leaders whom The Washington Center honored for their commitments to leadership, professional achievement, civic engagement, and lifetime achievement.
United States Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) spoke about the importance of internships to his own remarkable political career, as he accepted the Pillar Award for Professional Achievement.
Before each award was announced, The Washington Center President Michael Smith recognized each decade of The Washington Center history, by recognizing the alumni from each decade. The following honorees from each decade were recognized:
- The Honorable Dennis Cardoza (1979)
- Nancy Jacobson (1982)
- Dr. Hassan Tetteh (1993)
- Kristin Soltis Anderson (2005)
United States Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) received The Washington Center Pillar Award for Leadership, in recognition of his two decades of work on behalf of his state's families in Congress. Megan Goosey, a student at Drury University where Senator Blunt once taught as a professor, presented the award.
Juan Verde, President of the Advanced Leadership Foundation accepted the Pilar Award for Civic Engagement. Verde moved the crowd by sharing his personal story. As a young immigrant to the United States, Verde relied on his passion for education and the support of many to rise as a thought leader in education.
The Honorable John Dingell, who is the longest serving United States Representative in the history of Congress, received The Washington Center's lifetime achievement award. Although Dingell was unable to attend, former United States Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta accepted on his behalf.
Shefik supplied B-roll footage of Dr. Tetteh that was utilized in The Washington Center's highlight video for the gala. Shefik previously captured the footage during an actual surgery procedure, where he accompanied Dr. Tetteh throughout the entire process, traveling across multiple states in the United States.
The Washington Center is the largest and most established student internship program in Washington, D.C. Since their founding, the organization has helped more than 60,000 young people translate their college majors into career paths. They use their scale and expertise to customize each student's experience to be truly transformative.
B-Roll Footage: Shefik
Last Updated: April 22, 2023