When Eugene Sweeney wrote “Buff and Blue” in 1924, it was to cheer GW’s varsity football team to victory.
In 1989, Patrick M. Jones rewrote the fight song with a focus on loyalty. That same year, Mark Lederman, BBA ’76, MS ’81, began a quarter century of giving to his alma mater.
Now, when the sun sinks in the golden west, Jodi Lederman, BA ’13, joins her father as a founding member of GW Loyal, the university’s loyalty giving society.
One family. Two alumni. Nearly three decades of giving. That’s what Sweeney would call a “Touch-down for G double U.”
“I wanted to be in downtown D.C., not in the outskirts, and that’s what GW offered,” says Mark. “The year before I applied to college, I spent a weekend in D.C. on a youth group retreat and fell in love with the city.”
That love grew to include the alma mater he has supported for 25 consecutive years. A chief information officer at two hospitals for the past decade, Mark remembers the professor who introduced him to the field of health care administration.
“Dr. Roman taught in the School of Business, and I really enjoyed his class,” says Mark. “I think he was trying to talk his own children — GW students at that time as well — into applying to the health care administration program. It piqued my interest, and the rest is history.”
Upon graduation, he took a job as supervisor at the George Washington University Hospital. Mark remembers when Hanafi Muslims raided and occupied B’nai B’rith’s D.C. headquarters, taking many employees hostage. When the hostages were released, they were brought to GW’s emergency room for medical clearance. Two years later, the Shah of Iran was deposed and injured D.C. rioters were taken to the GW Hospital, where the unrest continued in the waiting room.
“I loved that job and learned a lot about health care operations and humanity,” Mark recalls. He credits his time at GW, as a student and employee, for his personal and professional success.
“The impact GW played in all my future endeavors was indelible,” says Mark. “As the university has become more prominent over the past few decades, I am increasingly proud to be associated with it.”
“This might sound crazy, but after narrowing my options down to three schools, I ultimately picked GW out of a hat,” says Jodi Lederman. But that’s not the whole truth.
As she held the tiny white paper in her hand, she thought to herself, “If I pick GW, that’s where I’m meant to be. And if I pick one of the other schools, I’ll just pick again.”
While her father had no direct influence over her decision to become a Colonial, Jodi admits an indirect persuasion.
“I had many conversations with my father about his experiences at GW around the time of my college application process,” says Jodi. “He had only wonderful things to say and made me believe that I could thrive there, just as he did.”
While the world came knocking on her father’s door during his time in Foggy Bottom, Jodi walked right through it. She studied off campus—way off campus—in Melbourne, Australia, during her junior year. “It was one of the most educational and life-changing experiences,” she says.
While her time at GW changed her life, Jodi’s upbringing may ultimately change the lives of future GW students.
“From a young age, my parents have emphasized the importance of giving back,” says Jodi. “Whether through tzedakah (Hebrew for charity) or community service, the concept of paying it forward has always been prioritized.”
So when it came time to graduate, Jodi contributed to the Senior Class Gift with a five-year pledge.
“Now that I’m in the working world, I figured it was the perfect time for me to start making my own donations as a way of showing my appreciation for all that GW has done for me thus far.”
Just like her father.
“Since childhood, my father has always served as a role model for me,” says Jodi. “He is everything I aspire to be, both professionally and as a person.”
Does that include his consecutive decades of giving to their shared alma mater? “That’s the plan!”
Mark Lederman, BBA ’76, MS ’81, admits that he was very happy when his daughter Jodi, BA ’13, chose to attend GW.
“Both the school and the city provided her with great opportunities as they did me,” he says.
Including living in the same residence hall.
“Moving Jodi into Thurston Hall 37 years after I moved in was a surreal experience.”
The commonality in their GW journey doesn’t stop there; both Mark and Jodi are inaugural members of GW Loyal, the university’s newest giving society.