2: Our University Community
The George Washington University was founded in 1821 as The Columbian College in the District of Columbia. The name of the institution was changed in 1873 to Columbian University and in 1904 to The George Washington University.
George Washington, as president and as private citizen, had promoted the establishment of a national university in the federal city. He hoped that students from all parts of the country would become educated in the arts and sciences, acquire the habits of good citizenship, and gain firsthand knowledge of both the practice and the theory of a republican government. To help achieve this goal, Washington left a portion of his estate, in the form of shares in The Potomac Company, "towards the endowment of a University to be established within the limits of the District of Columbia, under the auspices of the General Government, if that government should incline to extend a fostering hand towards it."
Congress never did extend a "fostering hand," and The Potomac Company went out of business, making Washington's bequest worthless. Nonetheless, well aware of the potential of congressional support and inspired by the vision of a university in the capital, the Reverend Luther Rice and other Baptist clergy raised money to purchase land for an institution of higher learning and petitioned Congress for its charter.
In 1821, President Monroe signed a charter establishing the nonsectarian Columbian College. The campus, which quickly came to be known as College Hill, was situated on a piece of land between 14th and 15th Streets, extending north from Florida Avenue to somewhat beyond Columbia Road. Just four years later, the medical department was founded. Located in the heart of Washington at 10th and E Streets, it was housed in the first of many GW buildings to be located in this downtown area. In 1826 a law department was opened--although it closed after two years and did not reopen until 1865. In the past half century, the University's campus has developed in the section of the old First Ward commonly known as Foggy Bottom, between 19th and 24th Streets, south of Pennsylvania Avenue.
The George Washington University, an independent academic institution chartered by the Congress of the United States in 1821, dedicates itself to furthering human well-being. The University values a dynamic, student-focused community stimulated by cultural and intellectual diversity and built upon a foundation of integrity, creativity, and openness to the exploration of new ideas.
The George Washington University, centered in the national and international crossroads of Washington, D.C., commits itself to excellence in the creation, dissemination, and application of knowledge.
To promote the process of lifelong learning from both global and integrative perspectives, the University provides a stimulating intellectual environment for its diverse students and faculty. By fostering excellence in teaching, the University offers outstanding learning experiences for full-time and part-time students in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in Washington, D.C., the nation, and abroad. As a center for intellectual inquiry and research, the University emphasizes the linkage between basic and applied scholarship, insisting that the practical be grounded in knowledge and theory. The University acts as a catalyst for creativity in the arts, the sciences, and professions by encouraging interaction among its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the communities it serves.
The George Washington University draws upon the rich array of resources from the National Capital Area to enhance its educational endeavors. In return, the University, through its students, faculty, staff, and alumni, contributes talent and knowledge to improve the quality of life in metropolitan Washington, D.C.
The University consists of ten academic units. These are the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Law School, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, the School of Business, the Elliott School of International Affairs, the School of Public Health and Health Services, the College of Professional Studies and the School of Nursing .
Administratively, the University is served by a team of vice presidents: including the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs, Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services, Executive Vice President and Treasurer, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Vice President for External Relations, Vice President for Research, Vice President and Secretary of the University and Vice President for Human Resources.
© September 1999 The
George Washington University.
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