As the end of high school approached, Alex Nyerges, BA ’79, MA ’82, considered his options. “I grew up very poor in Rochester, New York,” he says. “My father worked in a factory, and there was no money for college.”
Alex knew he would need financial support to attend college to pursue his dream of working in museums. Thanks to a significant aid package from GW, his goal became a reality. “I owe so much to GW,” Alex says. “If the university hadn’t been so generous, I likely would not have been able to attend.”
The first person in his family to graduate from college, Alex stayed at GW to pursue a master’s degree in Museum Studies. This year, as director and chief executive officer of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, Alex celebrated a milestone: four decades of making museums and the arts more accessible and inclusive.
“GW was foundational in launching me into a career that I love,” he says.
Now, Alex and his wife are helping current and future students follow their educational and professional passions. Through annual gifts and a bequest intention, the couple established a fellowship to support one graduate student in the Museum Studies program each year.
Many students at GW don’t come from financial means. They remind me of myself. If I can make it possible for students to stay in the program and get their degree so they can enjoy a fulfilling career, that, to me, is the ultimate reward.
— Alex Nyerges, BA ’79, MA ’82