Home » News » Nothing Short of a Dream: 33rd Annual TFAS Scholarship Awards Dinner Honors Courageous Leaders in Business and Government

Nothing Short of a Dream: 33rd Annual TFAS Scholarship Awards Dinner Honors Courageous Leaders in Business and Government

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The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) hosted the 33rd Annual Scholarship Awards Dinner on July 12, 2023, at The Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of TFAS alumni, students, supporters and friends gathered together to honor several accomplished individuals and support the next generation of congressional and business leaders.

The more than $330K raised, which greatly surpassed the goal for the event, offers financial scholarship assistance to college students participating in the TFAS D.C. Summer Programs track on Business + Government Relations, enabling them to attend classes, internships, and access professional opportunities in Washington, D.C.

TFAS Trustees Bob Pruger and Cary Barnett speak with Ted Tucker, executive director of FTE, at the networking reception.

The evening began with a networking reception, generously sponsored by the Business Roundtable and the Louis DeJoy and Aldona Woś Family Foundation. Attendees connected and exchanged stories, memories and advice, and they shared anticipation for the awards ceremony to come.

TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 began the ceremony by introducing dinner committee member Kirk Blalock, president of Fierce Government Relations, who served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.

TFAS student Fatima Morera ’23 led the invocation and shared a testimonial and Helen Agee ’23 led the Pledge of Allegiance. Morera spoke about her experience with TFAS this summer and the impact it has had on her, especially in terms of opportunities and relationships.

“This past month has been an experience I could not have gotten anywhere else,” she said. “TFAS has allowed me to build personal and professional relationships and has given me friendships that will last a long time. These are friendships one cannot just find anywhere. My time in D.C. has been nothing short of a dream.”

Students on the Business + Government Relations track attend the Scholarship Dinner.

The annual dinner supports students like Morera and Agee who participate in the TFAS D.C. Summer Programs track on Business + Government Relations. The funds raised give promising college students the financial support they need to spend the summer in Washington taking classes, interning, and benefiting from innumerable professional development and networking opportunities. TFAS is grateful to all the sponsors of this year’s dinner for their investment in the country’s future leaders in business and government.

TFAS has allowed me to build personal and professional relationships and has given me friendships that will last a long time. My time in D.C. has been nothing short of a dream.” – Fatima Morera ’23

Awards & Honorees

Ream presented Rep. David Kustoff ’89 of Tennessee with a 2023 Alumni Achievement Award. His colleague in Congress, Rep. David Rouzer ’93, ’94 of North Carolina received the same award earlier this summer on the steps of the Capitol after speaking to TFAS students on the House floor.

Rep. Kustoff (center) received a 2023 Alumni Achievement Award.

TFAS honored these two alumni with the Alumni Achievement Award for their courage and leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives. Both recipients have demonstrated their commitment to the principles that make this nation so free and great, namely, limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty. They uphold these ideals by their honorable leadership in both their words and actions.

Rep. Kustoff shared his gratitude for the award and his joy over the past three decades of involvement with TFAS. He gave advice to the students in the room and reminded them of how valuable the TFAS experience is, especially for guiding them to a future they might never have imagined.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is an invaluable experience for all of you,” he said. “I don’t think that I would be a member of Congress today without the experience that I had with The Fund for American Studies in 1989.”

The TFAS mission of developing courageous leaders inspired and equipped to protect and advance the ideas of individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic freedom in their communities and around the world has never been more important than it is now.” – Ed Gillespie, Recipient of the 2023 Business Leadership Award

Following the Alumni Award presentation, honorary dinner committee chair Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers presented the Congressional Leadership Award to U.S. Sen. Todd Young of Indiana. TFAS honored Young with this award for his outstanding leadership, dedication and service to our nation. He works every day to advance the values that make America exceptional: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.

Jay Timmons presents the 2023 Congressional Leadership Award to Sen. Todd Young.

In his acceptance remarks, Young took the opportunity to share his belief in the importance of freedom and independence as we near the 250th birthday of this great nation. He urged young people to innovate with urgency and work together to create a better future for the next generations.

“We need to unleash the power of American innovation through our people, places and ideas,” he said. “With faith in what the American people can accomplish with the right tools and without needless restraints, I believe the hour calls for a collective effort, an effort that unleashes the dynamism that has appeared over and over again across our country’s history.”

Former U.S. President George W. Bush congratulates Ed Gillespie for being this year’s recipient of TFAS’s Business Leadership Award. Watch the video.

After Sen. Young’s remarks, guests were given a special treat in the form of a video message from former U.S. President George W. Bush, who congratulated Ed Gillespie for being this year’s recipient of the Business Leadership Award. Gillespie, senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs at AT&T, received the award for his advocacy for freedom, free enterprise and economic opportunity, along with his dedication to advancing those principles. Jade West, the 2022 recipient of this award, introduced Ed, sharing his accomplishments and highlighting the value of TFAS programs.

“TFAS programs are critically important, especially in today’s polarized world, and Ed is a superb representative of the TFAS mission,” she said.

In his acceptance remarks, Gillespie spoke about the value of TFAS and its programs.

Ed Gillespie gives a speech after receiving the 2023 Business Leadership Award.

“The TFAS mission of developing courageous leaders inspired and equipped to protect and advance the ideas of individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic freedom in their communities and around the world has never been more important than it is now,” he observed.

Gillespie also talked about the American dream. He shared memories of his parents and his grandfather, what hardworking Irish immigrants they were and how their hard work paved the way for him and his family to have a brighter future. He shared with the students the value of internships and reminded them how blessed they are to be in the position they’re in as students and interns.

The 2023 TFAS students are grateful to all the supporters for their generosity.

To close out the night, TFAS Chairman Randy Teague shared his thoughts about TFAS’s history and the continual development of its programs, along with the nation’s increasing need for civility. He pointed out that civility doesn’t mean you concede anything in your belief system, but that you listen more than you speak, and speak with kindness and respect when you disagree.

TFAS is grateful to the many sponsors of the 33rd Annual Scholarship Dinner, including AT&T, Comcast NBC Universal, Business Roundtable and the Louis DeJoy and Aldona Woś Family Foundation, among others, and looks forward to recognizing more courageous leaders and supporting the up-and-coming generation of business and government leaders next year.

Watch this year’s Scholarship Dinner video recording below.

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