Secretary of Army Reflects on Time at GW, Accepts Trachtenberg School Distinguished Alumni Award

2018 Trachtenberg School Alumni and Teaching Winners
Dominique Harris (MPA '11), Secretary of the Army Mark Esper (PhD, '08), Prof. Janice Shack-Marquez, Director Kathryn Newcomer and Prof. Jasmine Johnson, winners of the 2018 Trachtenberg School alumni and teaching awards.
March 07, 2018

Alumni and current students of the George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration were not deterred by high winds and a closed government. On Friday, March 2, more than 100 alumni, current students, faculty, staff and friends of the Trachtenberg School gathered at the City View Room on the 7th floor of 1957 E Street NW to recognize this year’s outstanding alumni and teaching award winners during the school’s annual alumni networking reception.

Attendees skipped the rooftop patio due to the heavy winds, but enjoyed connecting with Dr. Mark Esper (PhD ’08), Secretary of the U.S. Army and this year’s Trachtenberg School Distinguished Alumni winner.

In her introduction of Secretary Esper, Dr. Kathryn Newcomer, director of the Trachtenberg School, said “All of us at the Trachtenberg School were excited when we learned of Dr. Esper’s appointment as Secretary of the Army in 2017. While he was at GW, Dr. Esper served as a senior Congressional Aide to Senator Chuck Hagel and as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. These jobs require a lot of time and attention, but Dr. Esper found ways to balance those duties and his classwork. In addition to military and federal government experience, Dr. Esper taught and worked in the nonprofit and private sectors, making him the embodiment of our goal to prepare students for work toward the common good in all sectors.”

Dr. Esper accepted his award and thanked the faculty who helped him while a student and his family for their unfailing support. He encouraged current students to invest in the academic opportunities around them while a student. Throughout the evening, Dr. Esper connected with current students, faculty and fellow alumni and demonstrated his engaged leadership style throughout the reception.

Dominique Harris (MPP ’11), business development advisor for Cargill and dedicated community volunteer, won this year’s Trachtenberg School Outstanding Recent Alumni award.

“Dominique is a connector. And once she’s connected with you, she doesn’t let go. And we’re all the better for it,” said Dr. Newcomer. “Dominique brings her passion for connections into everything she does. She’s been extremely successful at Cargill (one of the youngest people in the organization to be named  Director of International Business Relations) partly because she loves learning and figuring out how all the things she’s learning and people she’s meeting can work together to make the world better for others. Dominique lives this out in her commitment to her work, her friends and family, her Delta Signa Theta Sorority and her alma maters. She’s tireless in giving of her time and talents.”

“Give more than you receive,” Harris shared with the attendees. “Give to the community, give to Trachtenberg, and give to your classmates. When you freely give, you open the door to receive from others and continue to grow in your journey.”

In addition to the alumni award winners, students in the Trachtenberg School selected two faculty for outstanding teaching awards. Dr. Jasmine McGinnis Johnson won the full-time teaching award and Dr. Janice Shack-Marquez was selected for the part-time teaching award.