Georgianne Hewett ’90
- Photography by Lance Holt
Georgianne Hewett ’90 personified the phrase “Be Southwestern” long before it became popular among students and alumni. Her love of her alma mater was obvious in everything she did while a member of the Southwestern staff. A long time colleague of Georgianne’s wonders who knew that her hiring of another “Texas cheerleader type” (like herself) would prove to one of the best professional decisions she’s ever made and would have such an amazing impact on Southwestern’s alumni program.
Upon President Schrum’s arrival at Southwestern, one of his first initiatives was to engage more alumni in the life of the University. As the University’s first Associate Vice President for alumni and parent relations, Georgianne was tasked with the enormous responsibility of carrying out this vision.
She conducted an alumni self-study and began a series of strategic efforts to encourage more alumni involvement … through event attendance as well as leadership roles and lifelong learning programming. During her tenure, local associations were established in cities with large concentrations of alumni. That number now totals 14, comprised of more than 10,000 of the University’s nearly 15,000 alumni.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Georgianne’s decade-long efforts of re-envisioning alumni connections has provided impressive momentum and positioned Southwestern for its next decade of alumni leadership and engagement. Outside the Southwestern community, her efforts have also been recognized by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, for which she has spoken at many conferences and has served on its National Commission on Alumni Relations. Georgianne also served on the CASE District IV Board of Directors from 2008 to 2011.
Anyone who knows her can see clearly Georgianne’s commitment to her alma mater. Through her quiet example, she depicts Southwestern’s core purpose and always leads by example. This was especially evident to the students she helped supervise on multiple Destination: Service trips—planting in them the seeds of lifelong service she learned as a child from her parents and grandparents.
It takes a lot of words to describe Georgianne Hewett and every one of them is positive — capable, intelligent, creative, interesting (a word she prefers to “nice”), thoughtful, engaging, approachable, passionate, intelligent, emotional (in the best way), adventuresome, and a valued friend.
One of her Tri Delta sorority sisters asked her children how they would describe “Auntie G.” Their response was “awesome!” To elaborate, their mother uses the words faithful, compassionate, bright, dedicated and a lot of fun.
Georgianne is intentional in her faith and in her relationships with others, and she simply leads a life of purpose that exemplifies the value of contributing toward the well being of humanity. Her positive outlook is not only legendary, but also sincere!
One fellow alumnus says everyone should be so fortunate to receive a note from Georgianne. Thoughtful, witty and compassionate, she always includes a personal message that leaves the recipient’s day better than it was before they opened the card. She is simply the kind of person who touches lives and makes them better.
In addition to funny, optimistic, kind and generous, Georgianne’s parents use some other words that describe their “precious and darling” daughter. One is the word “exit” which she learned from the lighted signs over the doors of her family church in Freeport. Her dad speculates that even then Georgianne must have been thinking, “Get out of the building, travel, see and serve the world around you.”
Another is “high energy,” with evidence provided in the story of Georgianne’s pastor taking her shopping as a toddler. He came back exhausted and looking frazzled, while she held a large bag of grape gum and smiled with blue lips.
Today, many lives are enriched by Georgianne’s presence and friendship. Her college roommate and best friend for more than 30 years speaks for many when she says that she does not truly believe that Georgianne understands the impact that she is having on the world.
As Georgianne pursues her master’s degree in learning and organizational change at Northwestern University, her fellow alumni think of her and remember the words spoken by Adlai Stevenson, “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. And some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never ever the same.”
For her dedication to her alma mater, for her commitment to contributing to the well being of humanity; and for her personal leadership in making a transformational change in the Southwestern alumni experience, The Association of Southwestern University Alumni presented Georgianne Hewett with the Distinguished Southwestern Service Award for 2012.