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Members of Congress Show Firebird Pride

More than a Dozen Elected Officials Attend the University’s Third Annual Congressional Reception

Amidst last minute changes to the House calendar and scheduled votes on the Pentagon’s budget, over a dozen Members found time to stop by the University of the District of Columbia’s Third Annual Congressional Reception to show their support the only public university in the Nation’s Capital.

Attendees included Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who co-hosted the event, Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D- W.Va.), Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.), Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.), Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.), Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calf.), Rep. Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), the District of Columbia’s shadow Senator, Paul Strauss, and D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6).

“Each year this event keeps getting better and better,” said Aimee Occhetti, Vice President of Government Relations at the University, “it is great to see such a large and diverse group of members actively supporting what we are doing at the University.”

The University’s President, Dr. Allen L. Sessoms, delivered remarks to the attendees.

“To see over a dozen Members of Congress here tonight is a real statement on the strong relationship the University has with our friends on Capitol Hill. We are right down the road from each other, so it only makes sense that we work together.” Dr. Sessoms also highlighted some of the partnerships the University is building with the federal government, from a new internship program to utilizing the USDA’s land-grant program in the urban environment.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) also addressed the audience.

“I am thrilled to see so many of my colleagues joining me in support of our city’s public university. Under Dr. Sessoms leadership, I have watched the University make genuine changes. The Community College, which Dr. Sessoms started out of his hip pocket with no additional funding, now enrolls thousands of District residents. This event is a testament to how the Congress and the District can really work together on important issues. Our students in the District deserve a world-class public university that they can call their own—the University of the District of Columbia and its community college are delivering on that promise.”

The event, held in the wood paneled House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing room, included a jazz performance by University student and Rep. Danny K. Davis staffer Dante Pope, as well as a soaring rendition of “God Bless America” by University alumnus and opera singer Abby Koya.

As the only urban land-grant institution in the United States, the University of the District of Columbia ( supports a broad mission of education, research and community service across all member colleges and schools, which include the Community College, College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, College Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Public Administration, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and David A. Clarke School of Law.

The University of the District of Columbia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. Minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For a full version of the University's EO Policy Statement, please visit:

The University of the District of Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education - 3624 Market Street - Philadelphia, PA 19104 - 267.284.5000

Contact: Alan Etter, Vice President of University Relations & Public Affairs,, 202.345.6371