Donor Valentines: Colleen Connors and Howard Opinsky

GW holds a special place in this couple's relationship

February 9, 2019

Photo of Colleen Connors and Howard Opinsky

Given their academic interests and pursuits, it was inevitable that Colleen Connors, CCAS BA '91 and Howard Opinsky, CCAS BA '91 would cross paths at GW.

As a senior in high school in Ridgefield, Conn., Colleen realized she had a passion for promoting social justice by influencing the political process to bring about change. “GW was the first, and at that time the only, university with a political communication program that tied together all of the aspects of politics and advocacy that I thought were required,” she says.

Inspired by political journalists and consultants of the Reagan/Bush era, Howard – a St. Louis native – had an interest in elections and political power. “GW offered an opportunity to mix classroom learning with practical experiences that were unmatched by any other university,” he says.

Though they met during sophomore year and had mutual friends, it wasn’t until their senior year that they got to know each other better and started dating.

After graduation, both stayed in D.C. to start their careers. They lived a block apart but eventually moved in together in Dupont Circle and got married in 1995.

Through the years, their GW connection has stayed strong. In 1996, they had their first daughter at the old GW hospital. “It was surreal to have that experience join the many others we had on campus,” says Colleen.

They eventually settled in the Chevy Chase area to raise their daughters, who are now both in college.

“We’ve taken them to Colonials games over the years, and they’ve sat through endless stories told by us and our GW classmates about our days on campus,” says Howard.  

GW is a special place for the couple, notes Howard, and that’s part of the reason they give back.

“We met [at GW], made friends, found mentors, and learned things at GW that would shape the rest of our lives together…and we’ve continued to come back to campus year after year for an event, basketball game, or just to walk among the buildings and remember our time there. We also give because we feel the university is a unique institution that provides important lessons to the next generation of leaders – particularly in public policy, political communication and journalism.  We’ve both hired many GW students throughout our careers and know that they make motivated and passionate professionals.”


Read more about Colleen and Howard.