Club Spotlight: The Alumni Club of Los Angeles

L.A. alumni greet one another after the L.A. Entrepreneurship panel in June 2014.

By Na'Tasha Jones,
Managing Editor, Georgetown Alumni

Georgetown's alumni clubs serve as beacons for alumni around the world, offering a way to connect, learn from and grow the Hoya community in each location. With hundreds of activities held each year, the local clubs offer even more ways for Hoyas to keep in touch with the university and each other. For alumni on the West Coast in particular, having a link to the Hilltop right in their backyards is crucial.

Established in 1924, the Georgetown Alumni Club of Los Angeles began as part of the Alumni Association of Southern California. Rev. W. Coleman Nevils, S.J., then vice president of Georgetown University, helped establish the association during a tour of the western United States to help organize alumni centers in that area. He, along with Robert Wagner (F'48), who later served as president of the club, co-founded the west coast alumni group.

Today, the Club of L.A. and its more than 4,000 members seek to "support the alumni community through innovative events and activities, while also serving as a model for Georgetown alumni groups worldwide." This includes expanding their reach in areas such as community service, social engagement and partnerships with other Georgetown groups and external alumni organizations.

Current president Schuyler Hawkins (B'10) shared how he became involved with the L.A. Club: "Right after school, I moved back to New York to work on a startup company with my brother and father in Syracuse. When the first iteration of the company didn't work out as planned, I decided to move out to L.A., since I had family here. Since I didn't really know anyone else, I decided to call up the club and meet some fellow Hoyas," he said. "Initially, there wasn't as much going on as I would have hoped. So, I started suggesting events and activities for the club. They finally let me run one event, which came together really well. With that experience under my belt, I began to coordinate more events, and my involvement just grew from there."

The Club of L.A. at John Carroll Weekend 2015

This year, Georgetown's signature alumni event, the annual John Carroll Weekend (JCW), took place in L.A. on April 16-19, 2015. To have the event in an area with such a large concentration of Hoyas was exciting for everyone.

Hawkins, who served on this year's JCW planning committee, was honored to have the opportunity to help make this special weekend come together. "Over the past few years, all of us on the club's board have been striving to be the best club in the world," he said. "John Carroll Weekend was a fantastic opportunity for all of the alumni in the city to be introduced to the club and to reunite with one another."

With more than 1,600 alumni in attendance this year, John Carroll Weekend brought many local alumni together with people from across the globe to engage and connect in the club's home city. The weekend had an added cause for celebration when three fellow west coast alumni, Richard L. Battista (C'86), founder of the Georgetown Entertainment and Media Alliance (GEMA), and Mary Machado Schammel (C'80, MBA'15, Parent'17), former co-president of the Alumni Club of Southern California; and Carmen A. Policy (L'66), member of the Law Center's Board of Visitors, were among those honored with 2015 John Carroll Awards, the highest honor bestowed upon alumni by the university's alumni association.

Serving the L.A. community

In addition to hosting social events, the L.A. Club is also committed to facilitating educational programming, with 11 educational events held last year, including the L.A. Entrepreneurship Panel, hosted in conjunction with GEMA and the university alumni association; the Winter Break Career Tour and a discussion on international events, led by School of Foreign Service Professor Anthony Arend.

The club also helps to facilitate local alumni connections. One particular connection happened when an extremely bright young alumnus reached out to the club after a year of searching for a job in his career field of international development with no success. He didn't have the time or resources to come to many of the club's events, but still wanted to find a way to meet fellow alumni who might offer him career advice. Just days later, the club was able to put him in touch with another alumnus in his field.

The group is also dedicated to helping others, actively participating in service events and initiatives in the Greater Los Angeles area. This year, for Hoyas Give Baxa, Georgetown's annual day of service, club members volunteered their time at the L.A. Regional Food Bank, extending their spirit of #HoyasforOthers by helping to assemble food packages for thousands of low-income seniors, women with infants and children in Los Angeles County. Other recent service events included volunteer work with the YMCA, Habitat for Humanity and Verbum Dei High School, among others.

Going forward, Hawkins says the club is pushing for continued growth in terms of size and frequency of events, as well as working to increase individual centers of engagement. Read more about the Club of L.A., view upcoming events and get involved on the club's website.