provides information for prospects/current students at GWU.


George Washington University (GWU) is a private non-sectarian university in Foggy Bottom, Washington D.C. It has three campuses: the main Foggy Bottom campus, one in Mount Vernon in northern Washington D.C., and one in Ashburn, Virginia. It currently has 1,037 full-time faculty members, 11,000 undergraduates, and 12,500 graduate students. The official colors are buff and blue, the colors used in the military uniform of George Washington.

GWU is one of the leading research and educational institutions in the United States, placing 52nd in the list of Top National Universities by the US News and World Report. It is also the country’s most expensive university – as of academic year 2006-2007, its undergraduate tuition is at $37,820 per year.


GWU was founded on 1821 as the Columbian College, upon the initiative of President George Washington. Washington’s vision was to establish a university where youth from all parts of the country can be educated in the arts, sciences, and the “the principles of Politics and good Government.” Washington bequeathed his 50 stock shares from the Potomac Company to help build the college, but the company went out of business before they could be obtained.

Luther Rice, a Baptist minister and missionary, led a fundraising effort to construct the first college building on College Hill (now the Meridian Hill). It was initially intended for training citizens in clergy and missionary work. The Columbian College was officially recognized by a Congressional charter signed by President James Monroe on February 9 of the said year. Three years later, the College held its first commencement exercises attended by such dignitaries as President Monroe, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and the Marquis de Lafayette. A law school and medical school were added soon afterwards.

Over the years, various departments of the college were housed in other sites within Washington. At one point it also occupied the present-day National Museum of Women in the Arts, located on New York Avenue. During the Civil War, the college buildings also served as a military hospital. It moved to its current Foggy Bottom site in 1912, and acquired its newest campus, the former Mount Vernon College for Women, in 1999.

The Columbian College was renamed the Columbian University in 1873, and finally became The George Washington University in 1904 upon a covenant with the George Washington Memorial Association. It also granted its first Ph.D. degree in 1888.

GWU has seen continuous growth as an academic institution since the 1970s, most notably under the presidencies of Lloyd Hartman Elliott and current president Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. Steven Knapp, provost of Johns Hopkins University, was named GWU’s next president in December 2006 and is set to take the seat in August 2007.

Academic Organization

GWU currently has nine schools and colleges:

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences School of Medicine and Health Sciences Law School School of Engineering and Applied Science Graduate School of Education and Human Development School of Business and Public Management Elliott School of International Affairs School of Public Health and Health Services College of Professional Studies

Each school also administers several research centers and institutes. There are currently 66 centers, three of which are under the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

Campuses and Facilities

The Foggy Bottom campus is a 43-acre land occupying over 14 city blocks. At its center is the University Yard, which features a bronze-cast statue of George Washington. Brick walkways lead out to the major academic buildings. Corcoran Hall, the oldest building on the campus, is one of the university’s historic landmarks.

The Mid-Campus Quad serves as an outdoor university center, with chairs, tables and benches for studying, as well as a clock, fountain, and tempietto. The George Washington University Hospital caters to the entire Washington area, including Presidents and officials from the nearby government offices.

The Mount Vernon campus is famous for its neoclassical architecture and brick dormitories. The Hand Chapel has won architectural awards for its unique design. It is also home to the Summit Outdoor Challenge, a rope course that attracts thousands of participants every year.

The Virginia campus focuses on research and graduate studies, and is actively involved in transportation, engineering, and community improvement. One of its main attractions is the Home of the 21st Century, a “smart home” prototype being developed for improved home and personal security, remote management, and overall convenience and efficiency.

Student Body

Student diversity is one of GWU’s most valued attributes. The university attracts students from all 50 US states and over 130 countries, and from a wide range of ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. In fact, International Relations is one of its most popular majors among undergraduates.

In 2003, the university received 18,500 applications for admission, of which only 2,300 officially enrolled. About half of the students were in the top 10% of their high school graduating batch, and 74% were in the top fifth. In addition, a large percentage of GWU graduates choose to pursue graduate studies at the university.

This diversity is also reflected in the broad range of student organizations in the university. Currently, there are also over 250 organizations (either run or created by students), 25 national fraternities and sororities, and 19 honor societies. Some of the popular student groups are the GW College Democrats, the GW College Republicans, and the International Affairs Society, which is actively involved in international affairs such as the Model United Nations.

The GW athletics teams, known as the GW Colonials, regularly participate in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Colonials have won several tournaments in recent years, including the first round of the 2004 Men’s NCAA Soccer division. They have also produced famous athletes in basketball, softball, golf, squash, lacrosse, and rowing.

Media and Publicity

The main student media is composed of the campus newspaper The GW Hatchet, the internet radio station WRGW, and the news website The Daily Colonial. The university’s official website provides information on admissions, student services, campus maps, and a regularly updated campus news section. It also publishes biannual guidebook, Guide to the George Washington University, which can be viewed online on the GWU website.






Ron Bonig
Washington DC
(202) 994-3380


George Washington University
Washington DC

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