Speakers and Awardees

Washington Monument on Graduation Day with Graduates in Regalia

 

Keynote Speaker

 

Elana Meyers Taylor

 

 

Elana Meyers Taylor
B.S. ’06, M.T.A. ’11, HON ’18

Elana Meyers Taylor is a two-time GW alumna, having earned a B.S. in exercise science in 2006 and an M.T.A. in sports management in 2011. She also received an honorary doctorate in public service in 2018. She holds an M.B.A. in finance from the Keller Graduate School of DeVry.

As a pioneer for women in sports, Meyers Taylor has made history many times during her bobsled career. Most recently, during the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, she became the most decorated black athlete ever to compete in the Winter Olympics with a career total of five medals.

Meyers Taylor was the first recruit for GW softball program and was inducted into the GW Athletic Hall of Fame. After not making the US Olympic softball team, Meyers Taylor turned to the sport of bobsled—an unlikely match for a bi-racial woman from Georgia—and has never looked back.

Meyers Taylor is a four-time world champion. She made history in 2015 by becoming the first woman to earn a spot on the U.S. National Team competing with and against the men’s field. She became the first woman to win a medal in an international competition in a men’s event.

Meyers Taylor is an advocate for sports and equality for girls through her work as former president of the Women’s Sports Foundation. She holds many honors, including being named her sport’s Athlete of the Year four times, receiving the Athletes' Choice Award twice, and being asked to carry the US flag in both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

She works with several non-profit organizations, including Classroom Champions and Gigi's Playhouse. She married fellow bobsledder Nic Taylor, and they live with their two-year-old son, Nico, in Georgia.
 

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Student Speaker

 

 

Vishva Bhatt
ESIA, B.A. '22

Vishva Bhatt is a first-generation American and student at GW, studying international affairs, with a concentration in security policy and environmental studies and a minor in Arabic. During her time at GW, she has led the Model United Nations team and directed a non-profit that pairs GW mentors with D.C. high schoolers. Vishva believes that GW students are bound together by their hope to help make the world a better place, each in their own way.

Vishva Bhatt

 

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Honorary Degree Recipients

 

Dana Bash

 

 

Dana Bash
B.A. ’93
Anchor, Chief Political Correspondent

Dana Bash, B.A. ’93, is CNN's chief political correspondent and co-anchor of State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, the network's Sunday morning newsmaker show. Based in Washington, D.C., she covers both campaigns and Congress and regularly serves as a moderator for CNN's political town hall specials.

Bash moderated multiple debates during the 2020 election cycle and anchored election night coverage, which lasted several days. Bash served as a questioner in six of CNN’s seven primetime primary debates for both the Democratic and Republican parties in 2016. She has played a key role in CNN's coverage of every presidential election since 2000, when she traveled extensively with former Vice President Al Gore during the presidential primaries.

Bash began her career at CNN as a producer of weekend programming. She served as a CNN White House correspondent during the George W. Bush administration, where she reported on major stories including Hurricane Katrina and the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Bash is the winner of the National Press Foundation's 2019 Sol Taishoff Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. She received the prestigious Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress from the National Press Foundation an unprecedented three times.

Bash graduated from GW cum laude with a bachelor's degree in political communications.

 


 

Charles "Chuck" Todd
ATT ’90 to ’94
Moderator, Political Director, Television Journalist

Charles “Chuck” Todd, who attended GW from 1990 to 1994, is NBC News’ political director and is moderator of “Meet the Press,” the top-rated Sunday public affairs program in the country. Todd serves as a primary anchor for the network’s primetime political and election programming, co-moderating two presidential primary debates during the 2020 election cycle.

He also spearheads NBC News’ political coverage across all its platforms and flagship news Programs.

Todd has hosted “Meet the Press” since 2014, bringing the longest-running show in television history into the modern age by expanding the brand to include a daily show, a weekly newsmagazine, “Meet the Press Reports,” now in its fourth season, and a podcast, The Chuck ToddCast. Todd also continues to lead First Read, a daily political newsletter, as well as the annual Meet the Press Film Festival, which features the year’s best political short Documentaries.

Todd previously served as NBC News chief White House correspondent, where he traveled around the world with former President Barack Obama and reported on the main pillars of his presidency. From 2010 to 2014, Todd also hosted MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” featuring daily interviews with top congressional members.

In 2009, Todd co-authored the definitive election result analysis book for the 2008 presidential campaign, titled “How Barack Obama Won.” His second book, “The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House,” was released in 2014.

Todd joined NBC in 2007. He previously worked at the National Journal’s “The Hotline” for 15 years, which includes six years as the editor-in-chief.

Todd is a native of Miami and currently resides in Arlington, Virginia with his wife, Kristian, and two children.

Charles "Chuck" Todd