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About George Washington University
The George Washington University (GW, GWU, or George Washington) is a private research university located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C., United States, with two other campuses including the Mount Vernon campus in the Foxhall neighborhood, as well as the Virginia Science & Technology campus in Loudoun County, Virginia. GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia.
George Washington, the first president of the United States, had indicated to Congress through various letters, as well as his last will and testament, that he wanted to establish a university within the nation's capital. Washington left fifty shares of the Potowmack Company in his estate for a national university in the District of Columbia. However, due to the company's financial status, the university never received the shares. The university was chartered by an Act of Congress on February 9, 1821, as the Columbian College in the District of Columbia. In 1904, it changed its name to the George Washington University in honor of Washington.
The university has ten colleges and schools: the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (which includes the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, the School of Media and Public Affairs, and the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration); the School of Business, the Elliott School of International Affairs, the Milken Institute School of Public Health, the College of Professional Studies (which includes the Graduate School of Political Management), the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences, the Law School, the School of Nursing, and the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
GW's Graduate School of Political Management is the only school of applied politics in the nation's capital. GW's professional schools and the Elliott School of International Affairs are consistently ranked highly in national and international college rankings lists.
George Washington is consistently ranked by The Princeton Review in the top "Most Politically Active" Schools. Some of the university's graduates have gone on to high positions within both the U.S. government and foreign governments. Notable alumni include Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.The school colors are buff and blue, and the sports teams and current and former students in general are called the Colonials.
School of Business
In the School of Business you’ll learn firsthand how to see beyond the bottom line and consider the big picture of international affairs, finance, sustainability, ethics and corporate responsibility—often all at once.
College of Professional Studies
If you want to distinguish yourself in your profession as you enhance your skills or switch to a new career, CPS is the right place for you.
Columbian College of Arts & Sciences
From the arts and humanities to the sciences and public policy, CCAS is GW's oldest and largest academic unit. Our internationally-recognized faculty and active collaboration with prestigious research, cultural and governmental institutions place CCAS at the forefront in advancing policy, enhancing culture and transforming lives through learning and discovery.
The Corcoran School of the Arts & Design
The Corcoran School provides a platform for engagement that bridges creative expression and practical application within a liberal arts education. As part of the Columbian College and a large research institution, your education and creativity will cross boundaries.
Elliott School of International Affairs
The Elliott School’s community is fueled by diplomats, activists, journalists, policymakers and business leaders who create change in D.C. and then bring real world insights to the classroom. You’ll examine pressing global issues and determine solutions through research and an eye for determining how policy affects the lives of those it touches.
School of Engineering & Applied Science
SEAS is the only school of engineering and applied science in the heart of D.C. The hands-on, collaborative environment enables you to cultivate your expertise in the lab and also influence government and policy.
School of Media & Public Affairs
SMPA, part of the Columbian College, prepares you to join the next generation of distinguished journalists and political communicators as you work to define effective ways to share stories and information in today's complex media world.
School of Medicine & Health Sciences
SMHS teaches you to be a clinician who takes care of patients and improves healthcare through research and discovery at the same time.
Milken Institute School of Public Health
At Milken you’ll spearhead initiatives and programs that fight obesity, improve community health policy and assess the quality of care provided nationally and around the world.
School of Nursing
SON prepares you to apply the science of nursing to compassionate, high-quality care. You’ll graduate as a leader in the profession with the ability to improve care and increase community well-being.
Graduate School of Education & Human Development
If you study in GSEHD you’ll examine all the ways humans learn from early childhood through professional development, and work to translate research into policy to move society forward.
The Graduate School of Political Management
GSPM moves beyond theoretical exploration to teach you how to address real-world challenges. Here you’ll broaden your mind and enhance your vision to shape society and succeed in advocacy, communications and politics.
When you study law in the nation's capital and down the road from the Supreme Court, you’ll receive rare insight into how the law is actually created and debated while having unparalleled access to the country's highest judicial body.
Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration
The Trachtenberg School in the Columbian College applies hands-on knowledge that strengthens democratic governance to develop you as a leader at all levels of government, non-profit and private sectors.
History of George Washington University
Founding and early history
Historical records have shown that the first president of the United States, President George Washington, had made indications to Congress that he aspired to have a university established in the capital of the United States. He presented numerous letters to Congress and included the subject in his last will and testament. Baptist missionary and leading minister Luther Rice raised funds to purchase a site in Washington, D.C. for a college to educate citizens from throughout the young nation. A large building was constructed on College Hill, which is now known as Meridian Hill, and on February 9, 1821, President James Monroe approved the congressional charter creating the non-denominational Columbian College in the District of Columbia. The first commencement in 1824 was considered an important event for the young city of Washington, D.C. In attendance were President Monroe, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, Marquis de Lafayette and other dignitaries. During the Civil War, most students left to join the Confederacy and the college's buildings were used as a hospital and barracks. Walt Whitman was among many of the volunteers to work on the campus. Following the war, in 1873, Columbian College became the Columbian University and moved to an urban downtown location centered on 15th and H streets, NW.
In 1904, Columbian University changed its name to the George Washington University in an agreement with the George Washington Memorial Association to build a campus building in honor of the first U.S. President. Neither the university nor the association were able to raise enough funds for the proposed building near the National Mall; however, the institution retained the name and the money that was raised went to the eventual construction of Lisner Auditorium. The university moved its principal operations to the D.C. neighborhood of Foggy Bottom in 1912.
The George Washington University, like much of Washington, D.C., traces many of its origins back to the Freemasons. The Bible that the presidents of the university use to swear an oath on upon inauguration is the Bible of Freemason George Washington. Freemasonry symbols are prominently displayed throughout the campus including the foundation stones of many of the university buildings.
Many of the Colleges of the George Washington University stand out for their age and history. The Law School is the oldest law school in the District of Columbia. The School of Medicine and Health Sciences is the 11th oldest medical school in the nation. The Columbian College was founded in 1821, and is the oldest unit of the university. The Elliott School of International Affairs was formalized in 1898.
The majority of the present infrastructure and financial stability at GW is due to the tenures of Presidents Cloyd Heck Marvin, Lloyd Hartman Elliott and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. In the 1930s, the university was a major center for theoretical physics. The cosmologist George Gamow produced critical work on the Big Bang theory at GW in the 1930s and 1940s. In one of the most important moments in the 20th century, Niels Bohr announced that Otto Hahn had successfully split the atom on January 26, 1939, at the Fifth Washington Conference on theoretical physics in the Hall of Government. According to campus folklore, during the Vietnam War era, Mabel Thurston Hall, an undergraduate dormitory housing 1,116 students was a staging ground for student anti-war Demonstrations. (At 1900 F Street NW, the building is 3 blocks from the White House.) In 1996, the university purchased the Mount Vernon College for Women in the city's Palisades neighborhood that became the school's coeducational Mount Vernon Campus. The campus was first utilized in 1997 for women only, but became co-educational in a matter of years. The Mount Vernon campus is now totally integrated into the GW community, serving as a complement to the Foggy Bottom campus. In December 2006, the university named Johns Hopkins University provost Steven Knapp its next president. He began his presidency on August 1, 2007.
Institutional Accreditation or Recognition - Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Year of first Accreditation - 1922
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Student life @George Washington University
The university is located in downtown D.C., near the Kennedy Center, embassies, and other cultural events. Students are known as highly politically active; Uni in the USA stated that "politics at George Washington is about as progressive as it gets". There are many student organizations at the university. GW has a Division I athletics program that includes men's baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, women's lacrosse, rowing, sailing, soccer, women's softball, squash, swimming, tennis, women's volleyball and water polo. Colonials athletics teams compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Division II men's and women's Rugby Teams both compete in the Potomac Rugby Union.
Student organizations and government
Most student organizations are run through the George Washington University Student Association (SA). The SA is fashioned after the federal government with an executive, legislative, and judicial branch. There are over 300 registered student organizations on campus. The largest student organization on campus claiming a membership approaching 2000, the GW College Democrats have hosted speakers such as CNN contributor Donna Brazile and former DNC Chairman Howard Dean among many others. Likewise, the GW College Republicans, one of the largest CR chapters in the nation, have been visited by politicians like John Ashcroft former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former President George W. Bush. The International Affairs Society (IAS) runs the university's internationally top-ranked Model United Nations team, in addition to hosting yearly high school and middle school Model UN conferences on campus. This organization also hosts various foreign dignitaries, US Government officials and subject matter experts to further inform and foster international understanding both in the university's student body and the greater D.C. community.
There are also several a cappella performance groups on campus. The university's school-sponsored a cappella group, the co-ed GW Troubadours, has been a presence on campus since the mid-1950s and regularly records studio albums and travels internationally with the Department of Music. The Sons of Pitch, GW's only male a cappella group, has been around since 2003, and the female group the GW Pitches was founded in 1996. All the groups are extremely committed to charity work, with the Troubadours holding an annual philanthropic concert in the fall entitled "Acappellapalooza," and the Sons of Pitch holding one in the spring named "The United States of A-Cappella." In the case of the former, groups from GWU are drawn for a concert, in the latter, groups from around the nation. The groups have raised tens of thousands of dollars for various charitable causes. Additionally, the university is home to the Voice gospel choir, a group that sings gospel music, the GW Vibes, a co-ed group focusing on soulful music. The GW Sirens, another all girls group, and the GW Motherfunkers, a coed top 40 group, were created in 2003 and 2012, respectively. Each year, the groups duke it out at the Battle of the A-Cappella groups, one of the biggest student events on GW's campus.
There are chapters of many varied academic groups at the university. The local chapter of the Society of Physics Students was at one time under the auspices of world-renowned scientists like George Gamow, Ralph Asher Alpher, Mario Schoenberg and Edward Teller, who have all taught at the university. The Enosinian Society, founded in 1822, is one of the university's oldest student organizations. Invited speakers included Daniel Webster.
There are three major news sources on campus: the independent student-run newspaper The GW Hatchet, which publishes articles online daily and a print edition weekly; the online-only radio station, WRGW; and the University's official news source, GW Today. GW also publishes a peer-reviewed journal, The International Affairs Review, which is run by graduate students at the Elliott School.
Another student group, the Emergency Medical Response Group (EMeRG) provides an all volunteer 24/7 ambulance service for the campus and the Foggy Bottom/West End community at no cost. EMeRG has been active on campus since 1994 and has advanced from bike response into a two ambulance system that is sanctioned by the District of Columbia Department of Health and DC Fire and EMS (DCFEMS). EMeRG also plays an active role in special events in around the DC area including the Marine Corps Marathon, National Marathon, Cherry Blossom Race, Commencement, Inauguration and other events in downtown D.C. and on the National Mall.
George Washington University was ranked number 12 on The Sierra Club's magazine "Cool Schools List" for 2014 and was included in the Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Schools for 2013. The campus has a campus-wide building energy efficiency program along with nine LEED-certified buildings including the Milken Institute School of Public Health building. The school is reaching for a higher rating by updating facilities with energy efficient technologies.
GW has a Greek community of over 2,200 students (just under 22 percent of the undergraduate population).
There are 14 recognized men's social fraternity chapters on campus, including Beta Theta Pi, Delta Sigma Phi, Delta Tau Delta, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Sigma Kappa, Pi Kappa Alpha, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Zeta Beta Tau.
There are 10 Panhellenic sororities on campus, including Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Epsilon Phi, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Delta Tau, Sigma Kappa and Phi Sigma Sigma.
Seven National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) fraternities and sororities exist on campus: Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Zeta Phi Beta and Phi Beta Sigma.
Culturally-based Greek Organizations include: Iota Nu Delta, Kappa Phi Lambda, Lambda Pi Chi, Lambda Upsilon Lambda, Mu Sigma Upsilon, Pi Delta Psi, Sigma Lambda Upsilon and Sigma Psi Zeta.
Other Greek-life exist on campus in the form of multicultural, professional, community-serviced based and honor groups: Alpha Kappa Psi, Delta Sigma Pi, Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Alpha Delta, Delta Phi Epsilon, Theta Tau, Phi Sigma Pi, Alpha Chi Sigma, Alpha Phi Omega, Sigma Iota Rho, Sigma Pi Sigma, Alpha Omega Epsilon, Xi Delta Pi, Theta Sigma Alpha, Delta Epsilon Mu and Epsilon Sigma Alpha.
Athletics and spirit programs
George Washington University is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference and most of its teams play at the NCAA Division I level. All indoor sports play at the Smith Center on the Foggy Bottom campus. The outdoor events are held at the Mount Vernon campus Athletic Complex. The university's colors are buff and blue (buff being a color similar to tan, but sometimes represented as gold or yellow). The colors were taken from George Washington's uniform in the Revolutionary War. The teams have achieved great successes in recent years including a first round victory in the Men's NCAA Division I Soccer Tournament in 2004. The men's and women's varsity crew team rows out of Thompson's Boat Center on the Potomac River and competes in the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges. In the 2008–09 season, the men's crew team placed an all-time high national ranking of 12th in the country. The sailing team competes in the Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association and in gymnastics in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League. In 2007 the GW Men's Water Polo team placed third at Eastern Championships, and was ranked 14th in the nation.
Mike Jarvis coached GW in the 1990s, and led the team to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1993, where they were beaten by the Fab FiveUniversity of Michigan team (which later vacated its wins due to NCAA rule violations). Jarvis also coached former Colonials head coach Karl Hobbs in high school. Former NBA player Yinka Dare also played at George Washington for two years before being drafted in the first round by the New Jersey Nets.
Under former head coach Karl Hobbs, GW's basketball team returned to the national stage in 2004 after defeating No. 9 Michigan State and No. 12 Maryland in back to back games to win the 2004 BB&T Classic. That year, the men's basketball team went on to win the Atlantic 10 West Title and the Atlantic 10 Tournament Title, earning an automatic bid to the 2005 NCAA Tournament. The team received a No. 12 seed, losing to No. 5 seed Georgia Tech in the first round.
The team began the 2005–06 season ranked 21st in the Associated Press poll, reaching as high as sixth in the polls, and after some tournament success they closed out the year ranked 19th in the nation. They had a record of 26-2 going into the 2006 NCAA Tournament. The 2005–06 team achieved the school's highest ranking in the last 50 years, peaking at #6 in the nation, had been one of the team's best ever, and received an #8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In the tournament, they came back from an 18-point second-half deficit to defeat #9 seed UNC-Wilmington, but lost to Duke University, the top overall seed, in the second round.
While only one Colonial from the 2005–06 team was drafted in the 2006 NBA Draft, J. R. Pinnock, two other Colonials from that team have played in the NBA. Pops Mensah-Bonsu played for the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and currently plays for the Toronto Raptors and Mike Hall played for the Washington Wizards.
The 2006–07 basketball season was considered by many to be a rebuilding year for the Colonials after graduating their entire starting front court and losing Pinnock to the NBA. Coach Karl Hobbs and Senior guard Carl Elliott managed to lead the team to a 23-8 record, winning the 2007 Atlantic 10 Tournament in Atlantic City, New Jersey, once again earning an auto-bid to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. The Colonials were placed as a #11 seed lost to #6 seed Vanderbilt University in Sacramento, CA 77-44.
Hobbs, a former player and coach under Jim Calhoun at the University of Connecticut coached the Colonials for 10 years. Known for his animated sideline personality Hobbs had been considered one of the up-and-coming coaches in the NCAA. On April 25, 2011, the university released Hobbs from his contractual obligations, forcing him to resign as men's basketball coach.
In May 2011, Incoming Athletic Director Patrick Nero hired former University of Vermont head coach Mike Lonergan to take over the men's basketball program. The Bowie, Md. native had a slow start to his GW tenure, finishing 10–21 in his first full year as coach, and improving to 13–17 in the second. The 2013–14 season solidified his hiring, as the team finished 24–9 on the year, tallying the second-most wins in a season in GW history; took third place in the Atlantic 10 standings and made it to the Atlantic 10 Championship semifinals; and earned the program's 11th bid to the NCAA Tournament, their first in seven years.
The NCAA committee selected the Colonials as the #9 seed in the East Region for the tournament. They faced #8 seed Memphis in the second round. The Tigers took a five-point lead over the Colonials into the half, but the Colonials almost came back to win. A late rally cut the Memphis lead to only one point with 25 seconds to go, but the Colonials could not hold on and lost, 71–66.
Soon after the end of the Colonials' successful 2013–14 campaign, Lonergan signed a contract extension, keeping him with the program through the 2020–21 season.
The Colonials won the 2016 National Invitation Tournament, defeating Monmouth, Florida, Ohio State, San Diego State and Valparaiso for the first postseason national title in their history.
The George Washington Colonials baseball team is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, which is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. George Washington's first baseball team was fielded in 1891. The team plays its home games at Barcroft Park in Arlington, Virginia. The Colonials are coached by Gregg Ritchie.
The school sponsored intercollegiate football from 1881 to 1966. The team played home games primarily at Griffith Stadium and later at RFK Stadium. In 1966, the football program was discontinued due to a number of factors, including the team's lack of adequate facilities and the desire by the university to develop an on-campus fieldhouse for basketball and other sports. GW has one alumni in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Alphonse Leemans.
The GW Spirit Program includes a co-ed Cheer Team, the First Ladies Dance team, and the university mascot. The Colonials mascot is named George, and is portrayed by a student wearing an outfit inspired by a uniform worn by General Washington. In 2012, George took 1st place at the National Cheerleaders Association Mascot Competition and is the university's first national champion. The sports teams are called the Colonials, which was chosen by the student body in 1924. The spirit program also includes the Colonial Brass, directed by Professor Benno Fritz.
The official fight song is Hail to the Buff and Blue, composed in 1924 by student Eugene F. Sweeney and re-written in 1989 by Patrick M. Jones. The song is tolled twice-daily by bells atop Corcoran Hall, at 12:15pm and 6:00pm.
The university also has various club sports, which are not varsity sports, but compete against other colleges. Examples include: basketball, volleyball, ice hockey, fencing, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, cricket, tennis, ultimate frisbee, cricket and others. The GW Club Sports Council was founded in 2010 to act as a lobbying body between Club Sports at GW, and the administration.
GW Men's Rugby Football Club
George Washington RFC is the oldest club sport at GW. It was founded in 1967. The team competes in the Potomac Rugby Union with teams such as Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, UMBC, George Mason, 2013 national semi-finalist Towson, and 2013 national championship runner-up Salisbury.