Student Publications

GW has a heritage of rich, lively student publications. Like most college and university students, those at GW are driven to communicate information, to share and debate ideas and the issues of the day, and to display their creativity.

The first student newspaper, the Columbian Call, was published from 1895 to 1902 (the university was named “Columbian University” at that time). After languishing for a few years, the concept of a student newspaper reemerged in 1904 at the instigation of university President Charles W. Needham with the publication of The Weekly Columbian, the first continuously published student newspaper. Needham realized that the student body could be unified and inspired by such a vehicle. When the university became The George Washington University in 1904, the newspaper was renamed The University Hatchet, a reference to legends surrounding the university’s namesake and, perhaps, a hint of a more aggressive editorial policy. The Hatchet lives on as the second oldest surviving newspaper in Washington, D.C.

Over the years, many student published magazines, journals and reviews have come and gone. Independence Magazine was launched in the 1980’s, but ceased publication in 1998. The GW Journal had a run of two years, from 2000-2002. Undoubtedly many new vehicles for student communications will appear and then fade in the intellectual and social life of GW.

Current student publications run the gamut from straight information to opinion to creative expression. They include:

The Hatchet

Founded in 1904 as The University Hatchet, but now known simply as The Hatchet, the paper is both editorially and financially independent. It reports on university activities, student life, GW athletics, Washington area happenings, and college life nationally. Throughout its existence, The Hatchet has continued to fulfill its purpose of uniting the student body and encouraging campus spirit. As noted, it is the second oldest newspaper in the nation’s capitol. It has a paid staff of 35 and a volunteer staff of 100, publishing two issues each week. Breaking news is published on the paper’s Web site. The Hatchet was recognized as the best non-daily college newspaper in the country for 2003-2004 by the Society of Professional Journalists, and has won the Pacemaker Award of the Associated College Press in 2005 and 2008. Five Pulitzer Prize winners are alumni of The Hatchet. It is a produced by Hatchet Publications, Inc., an independent non-profit corporation.

The Cherry Tree

The university’s first student yearbook, published in 1890, was called The Columbiad, from The Columbian University name. This was shortened to The C in 1904, then evolved into The Mall in 1908, reflecting GW’s Washington location. In 1908, a student suggested the name The Cherry Tree, making a connection to another aspect of a George Washington legend (see The Hatchet). This name remains in use today.

The Cherry Tree is distributed free to all GW seniors as a gift from the GW Alumni Association, and is distributed in the fall after graduation. Each edition is planned, designed, edited, illustrated, and produced by GW students, with job titles and responsibilities rotating annually. The Cherry Tree’s student publishers have as their mission the facilitation of a greater sense of a GW community, to build unity and cohesion among the university’s departments, and to build and foster memories of the academic achievements, social lives, and school spirit of GW’s graduates. Each edition features portraits of graduating seniors, along with a written and photographic record of notable achievements – academic, social, and athletic.

Wooden Teeth

Whimsically named for yet another George Washington legend, Wooden Teeth is GW’s premier visual arts and literary student publication, soliciting contributions from GW students, faculty, and staff of both written and visual works. Beginning life in the 1970’s as the Rock Creek Review, Wooden Teeth is now published bi-annually at the end of each spring and fall semester. The editors court controversial and cutting-edge contributions, seeking to push boundaries in literature and the arts, while not lapsing into sensationalism. The editors are highly selective, often rejecting up to 90 percent of submissions in order to guarantee a high level of quality. Wooden Teeth also sponsors monthly on-campus performances and readings of poetry, short stories and songs in order to foster creative and critical thinking about the arts in the GW community.

The G.W. Review

The G.W. Review, entirely student-run literary magazine, with national and international reach, is published annually. Each issue consists of 100 pages containing works of poetry, fiction, and art as well as interviews with local writers and artists. The Review holds an annual Senior Contest for contributions that also may be published. The G.W. Review’s mission is to provide students with the opportunity to learn editorial and design skills through participation in weekly meetings on fiction and poetry, as well as training students in the use of several design programs during the layout process. Working on The Review offers a unique hands-on experience in working in publishing beyond the university, and the opportunity to become involved and active in GW’s literary community. The G.W. Review also holds “Coffeehouses,” readings, in conjunction with Wooden Teeth and other organizations to promote interest and participation in GW's art community, and to offer students popular on-campus, alcohol-free events.

Basketball Traditions

GW Basketball is a big driver of school spirit and community pride, with many successful seasons. The team’s winning formula is encouraged by the active, spirited participation of GW fans. In addition to fans’ cheering and singing, GW basketball games are marked by a number of traditions calculated to pump up our Colonials while dispiriting our opponents:

Team Entrance

When members of the GW Cheer team run the “G” and “W” flags onto the court, Colonial basketball fans rise from their seats to greet their George Washington Colonials.

Player Introductions

In anticipation of the announcement for GW’s starting lineup, Colonials fans often begin a rally clap midway through the introductions of the opposing team. Once the announcer reads “And now, for the starting line up of your George Washington Colonials,” students and season ticket holders stand and cheer until tip off.

WOOOSH!

It's time to shoot for two! When a GW player goes to the foul line, our fans are back on their feet, this time with their arms extended above their heads, quickly moving their fingers back and forth. Once our player makes the basket, GW tradition calls for fans to drop their arms and yell "WOOOSH!"

Laffy Taffy

On March 4, 2006, the George Washington Colonials men’s basketball team beat the Charlotte 49ers, 86-85 in double overtime, to complete their first-ever undefeated season of Atlantic 10 play. As soon as junior Carl Elliott tipped in the winning shot – right at the buzzer – Colonial fans stormed the court to join the team’s celebration. The men’s players then heard the song “Laffy Taffy” echoing in the arena. They responded by jumping on the announcer’s table and dancing. This sparked the Colonial Army to chant “G … DUB … G … DUB.” Whenever Colonials students hear “Laffy Taffy,” it brings back the excitement and pride of that amazing March day.

Spirit Groups

Colonial Spirit

Enthusiastic student display of spirit is a long-held GW tradition. Although much of this energy is directed toward athletics, it spills over into other facets of student life. The GW community shows its school spirit proudly and loyally, strengthening the sense of pride that permeates the university.

Students can participate in three formal Spirit Programs, as well as many other organized – and more spontaneous – activities.

The GW Cheer Team

The GW cheerleading team is a nationally competitive co-ed team that has the privilege of cheering for the University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams at all home games and at post-season tournaments. The team competes annually in the National College Cheerleading Championships. Tryouts for the GW Cheer Team take place in April and September. Incoming freshmen, transfer students and current students with good academic and judicial standing are eligible to participate.

GW Dance Team (The First Ladies)

Known to Colonials fans as The First Ladies, the nationally competitive GW dance team performs jazz, pom and hip-hop styles. The team moves from center stage to center court, performing during timeouts and halftimes at all GW’s men’s and women’s home basketball games. The First Ladies also travel to post-season tournaments and compete annually in the National College Dance Team Championships.

GW Mascot Squad

In April 2012, George the mascot brought home his first-ever National Championship trophy by taking first place at the College Mascot Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Back home, you will see George at a variety of on-campus events and community appearances – including showing his support for all 23 varsity athletics teams. Auditions for the GW Mascot Squad take place in April and September. Incoming freshmen, transfer students and current students with good academic and judicial standing are eligible to take part.

Pep Band (The Colonial Brass)

In October 1931, the Student Council organized a student band to build school spirit. Today Colonial Brass Pep Band has nearly 75 members who play at both men's and women's home basketball games and travel to select away games and tournaments. Colonial Brass is central to several GW traditions, including renditions of the GW Fight Song and Alma Mater. Colonial Brass is also known for being among the most spirited fans in the stands.

Colonial Army

The Colonial Army is the official student fan group for all GW Athletics. Colonial Army members enjoy exclusive benefits such as lower level, court side seating, an official season t-shirt, tailgate parties, road trips, access to teams and coaches and the chance to participate in gameday promotions. With over 1000 members, the Colonial Army is best known for being the true home court advantage in the Charles E. Smith Center.

Alma Mater & Fight Song

Learn the words to GW’s anthems and join others who proudly sing. From central locations on campus, you can hear the “GW Fight Song” and “Alma Mater” played on the carillon chimes daily at 12:15 and 6 p.m.

GW Alma Mater

George Roth wrote the original version of the “Alma Mater” in 1930. Dr. George Steiner, professor emeritus of music, rewrote it in 1970.

Hail Alma Mater
To thy spirit guiding,
Knowledge thy closest friend
In its strength abiding,
Pledge we fidelity
Ne'er its place resigning,
Hail thee George Washington!

GW Fight Song

The “GW Fight Song,” formally titled “Hail to the Blue and Buff,” is sung loudly and proudly at every GW sporting event. In 1924, Eugene Sweeney wrote the song titled “Buff and Blue,” which served as the fight song for the GW’s varsity football team. In 1989, Patrick M. Jones rewrote the lyrics so it could be used for any GW athletic contest. He entitled it “The GW Fight Song.”

When the “GW Fight Song” is played, tradition requires every Colonial to stand up, clap hands to the beat and belt out the lyrics. GW fans can often be seen cheering, clapping and even throwing their arms in the air when certain lyrics are sung. Incoming freshman are taught the words to the “GW Fight Song” during their Colonial Inauguration sessions:

Hail to the Buff,
Hail to the Blue,
Hail to the Buff and Blue!
All our lives we'll be proud to say,
We hail from GW!
Go Big Blue!
Oh, by George, we're happy we can say,
We're GW, here to show the way, so
Raise high the Buff!
Raise high the Blue!
Loyal to GW
You bet we're
Loyal to GW!
Fight!

Colors & Mascots

In 1904, the Columbian University became the George Washington University. As an institution, we embraced symbols and imagery associated with our new namesake. While Columbian’s school colors had been orange and blue, GW adopted blue and buff, the colors of the military uniform worn by George Washington both throughout the War of Independence and when he resigned as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on Dec. 23, 1783. In the 1930s, the official blue and buff colors were matched to the original uniform, now found in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Blue and buff have been incorporated into GW’s visual identity and are found throughout the university.

Mascots

George

George (formerly known as George 1) is the namesake mascot of the George Washington University. This mascot wears a buff and blue military uniform with “George Washington” across his back. A powdered wig sits beneath George’s large tri-cornered hat, and a pale blue sash drapes across his chest. George turns up at athletic events, waving his powerful golden hatchet. He also makes appearances at other events, both on campus and off, to rally the school spirit, unity and pride that mark life at GW.

Big George

This 10-foot inflatable mascot is George’s favorite sidekick and GW’s biggest sports fan. Big George can be found at all the men’s and women’s home basketball games, as well as university events held in venues with ceilings that are at least 12 feet high. Big George’s job is to cheer the Colonials to victory!

The Hippo

The Hippo is GW’s widely loved – though unofficial – mascot. In 1996, a bronze statue of a hippopotamus was presented by then-President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg to GW’s Class of 2000 and installed at the center of campus. Since taking up residence, the Hippo has become a real presence as the university’s student-life mascot. Inspired by the statue, the version spotted at campus events wiggles his ears, shakes his tail and, most impressively, stands on his head. That 9-foot-tall inflatable Hippo mascot makes appearances all around campus and at many university events. According to legend, if you rub the Hippo sculpture’s nose, you’ll have good luck. As for the inflatable Hippo, you’ll have to settle for rubbing its belly. The Hippo’s likeness is found on posters promoting student events. Hippo merchandise is available at the bookstore.

GW Jargon

Jargon is part of the fun of belonging to the GW community. Students, faculty, staff, neighbors and even parents, both new and seasoned, bandy about words and phrases strongly identified with our university. GW jargon is a living, evolving language and the list of terms is updated from time to time.

The nearly 100 words, phrases and acronyms that follow are arranged alphabetically.

2000 Penn: GW's very own mall, located at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

ABP: Au Bon Pain, the French bakery cafe in 2000 Penn

Advisor: Faculty member or administrator who assists a student with the course selection and academic decision-making the student needs to meet personal, professional and academic needs and goals

Add/Drop: A period at the beginning of the semester when students may add or drop classes without penalty

Aladin: Gelman Library's computerized card catalog

B.A.: Bachelor of Arts degree

Bid: A formal invitation to membership in a Greek letter organization

Big George: GW's biggest (inflatable) basketball fan

Blue Book: A small notebook with a blue cover, used for essay exams

B.S.: Bachelor of Science degree

CADE: Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education

CBC: Community Building Community, a co-curricular program

CCAS: Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

CDs: College Democrats

Chapter: A membership unit of a national or international fraternal organization

Cherry Tree: GW's official student yearbook

CI: Colonial Inauguration

CIHQ: Colonial Inauguration Headquarters Staff

Colonial Army: A student organization focused on supporting GW Athletics. At basketball games, Colonial Army members sit together in the best seats at the Smith Center.

Colonial Cash: GW's all-access dining and spending system. Swipe your GWorld Card for convenient access to goods and services at a wide variety of locations, both on and off campus.

Colonials Invasion: GW spirit celebration during Spirit Week, marking the official start of the basketball season

Colonials: The name of the university’s sports teams

Colonials Weekend: GW's premier event for students, families, and friends, is an ideal opportunity for the GW community to celebrate together

Columbian Square: The main seating area in J Street

Commencement: Graduation!

CRs: College Republicans

CRN: In Web registration, the five-digit number that identifies a course

DSS: Disability Support Services

EFL: English as a Foreign Language

ELP: Emerging Leaders Program, a co-curricular program

EMeRG: Emergency Medical Response Group

ESIA: Elliott School of International Affairs

Fall Fest: An outdoor festival sponsored annually by Program Board

FB: Foggy Bottom

FIXit: Room repair requests

Foggy: A slang term for the Foggy Bottom campus

FSK: Francis Scott Key Hall

George: The head Colonial and institutional mascot for GW

GPA: Cumulative grade point average, computed by dividing grade points by class hours attempted

Grad Week: A weeklong celebration for graduating seniors, culminating with commencement

Greek: A term applied to members affiliated with Greek letter organizations

GSEHD: Graduate School of Education and Human Development

GWeekly: A weekly e-mail, sent to all students, listing activities that student organizations are putting on for the coming week

GW Hatchet: Student-run newspaper

GW Today: GW's primary source of news and information

GWorld: GW's all-access ID card

Hell Well: The Learner Health and Wellness Center

HOVA: Hall on Virginia Avenue

Hippo: GW's unofficial mascot

IAS: International Affairs Society

IFC: Interfraternity Council, a representative body of men's fraternities

Incomplete: An incomplete on your transcript means that a portion of work for a class needs to be completed

Inaugural Ball: A ball hosted by the university every four years to honor the inauguration of the nation's president and vice president

ISO: International Services Office

J Street: GW's dining options on the first floor of the Marvin Center

JBKO: Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis Hall

Kogan Plaza: The outdoor plaza in the center of campus

LHWC: Lerner Health and Wellness Center

Major: A specialized field of study that a student chooses to pursue

MC: Marvin Center, the student union building

MCGB: Marvin Center Governing Board, the student organization that oversees MC policy and usage

MGC: Multicultural Greek Council

Mid-Campus Quad: The large outdoor green space enclosed by the university gates and adjacent to Gelman Library

MSSC: Multicultural Student Services Center

MVC: The George Washington University at Mount Vernon campus

MyGW: The Internet hub for GW students lets you look up e-mail addresses and phone numbers, register for classes, load Colonial Cash onto your GWorld and generally take care of all GW-related business.

NPHC: National Pan-Hellenic Council, the governing body of historically black fraternities and sororities.

OCS: Office of Community Service

Program Board: Program Board

SEAS: School of Engineering and Applied Science

SJS: Student Judicial Services

SMHS: School of Medicine and Health Sciences

SMPA: School of Media and Public Affairs

SON: School of Nursing

Milken Institute School: Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University

SNAP: The Student Network Admissions Program, a group connecting current GW students with prospective GW students

STAR: Student Admissions Representatives, GW's campus tour guides

TA: Teaching assistant, a graduate student employed to teach courses

UCC: University Counseling Center

University Seal: The official seal of GW, displaying the head of George Washington

UPD: University Police Department

VC: Visitor Center

VSTC: Virginia Science and Technology Campus

Welcome Week: A series of social, recreational, cultural and artistic programs held the first week of fall semester

Winter Welcome Week: A series of social, recreational, cultural and artistic programs during the first week of the spring semester

WRGW: GW’s student radio station

Cornerstone Events

Freshman Convocation
Freshman Convocation

Shared experiences and traditions are essential to preserving our strong sense of pride and community at GW. Over time, a series of hallmark events have become indispensable components of the GW experience. Most of these events are tied to the academic schedule. Others are linked to spirit and athletic programs. Some are connected to our legacy of service in Washington, D.C. And a few are just for fun.

Colonial Inauguration (CI)

Colonial Inauguration, GW’s award-winning undergraduate orientation program welcomes incoming freshmen and transfer students to the GW family. It acquaints them with our academics, campus services, opportunities and community – in short, to life at GW. CI is an experience the whole family can enjoy, with age-appropriate activities tailored for students, their parents and even younger siblings.

Freshman Convocation

Led by the GW’s president and faculty, this event is the official kick-off for new students beginning their university adventure in the nation’s capital. This annual tradition marks the official start of the academic year.

Welcome Week

Welcome Week is a series of social, recreational, cultural and artistic programs offered during the first week of fall semester. Winter Welcome Week marks the beginning of the spring semester.

Colonials Weekend

In October each year, this celebration for students, alumni, family and friends features a weekend of events and world-class entertainment. Past performers include Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and the Beach Boys. Colonials Weekend participants can see shows, take part in campus activities, attend lectures, explore the city and visit with their student in their new home away from home.

Latino Heritage Celebration

This month-long celebration honors the diversity within the Latino community. People of all races and ethnicities have an opportunity immerse themselves in Hispanic cultural events, food, dancing, music and lectures. The celebration runs from mid-September to mid-October.

Spirit Week and Colonials Invasion

In mid-October, the campus community unites to celebrate the start of the men’s and women’s basketball season. A series of special events marks the Colonials Invasion, culminating with a special-effects show that introduces our students to their teams. Spirit Week and Colonials Invasion also give coaches a chance to rally fan support for the upcoming season.

Fall Fest

The GW Program Board sponsors this student-run weekend event in September. Outdoor games, a barbecue and live music are part of the festivities.

Martin Luther King Jr., Celebration (MLK) and Black History Month

Martin Luther King Jr., Day of Service (“a day on rather than a day off”) is a nationally recognized community-service event that coincides with the King holiday. It is an important occasion at GW, where some 250 students are involved in projects that serve our neighbors and the D.C. community. The MLK Award is the highest honor a student can achieve for humanitarian service. The celebration of King’s life and a ceremony in his honor take place in late January.

Arts Fest and Chalk-In

Students’ artistic talents are on display at this April celebration. Some students dance, sing and perform while others take part in additional creative activities. H Street is closed to traffic during the fest, opening the way for students to draw on the street and sidewalks with chalk – a great stress reliever as exams approach!

Grad Week

For a week leading up to graduation, seniors participate in a series of special events. Past Grad Week activities have included excursions to Atlantic City, trips to a Baltimore Orioles game, and the Senior Toast.

Commencement

Commencement is a signal event for members of the GW community. While each school holds its own ceremony, an all-GW graduation ceremony unfolds on the National Mall within sight of the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol.

Alumni Weekend

Alumni Weekend, a three-day weekend event keeps GW alumni informed about the University and involved in its activities. The GW Alumni Association sponsors the weekend, which is enlivened by entertainment, speakers, social gatherings and class reunions. Alumni reconnect with friends, participate in campus activities, revisit old haunts and marvel over GW’s changes and growth. Alumni Weekend is unequaled when comes to strengthening alumni bonds.

George Washington’s Birthday Celebration

This event to mark the birth of GW’s namesake began in 1999. The rousing celebration kicks off with a march to the Quad, followed by Colonial refreshments, speeches and a bonfire – rain or shine.

White Coat Ceremony

At the School of Medicine’s fall convocation, first-year medical students are given a white coat, a symbol of their new status and a tangible recognition of the challenging academic journey they have embraced.

Midnight Breakfast

During final exams in the fall, faculty and administrators serve a midnight breakfast to students as a reward for their hard work. This GW tradition also includes games and activities for students taking study breaks.

Octoberfest

This annual family event on the Mount Vernon campus coincides with Colonials Weekend. Named for the traditional German fall festival, Octoberfest features music, pumpkin carving, arts and crafts, games, fall desserts, family competitions, photo opportunities, contests and much more.

Spring Fling

A nationally known performer is one of the big draws to this end-of-academic-year celebration sponsored by the Mount Vernon campus. Great food, amusements and tie dying also keep the crowds busy.

Jumpstart for a Day

Local preschoolers turn out for a day of fun and games during this annual community event. GW student organizations, fraternities and sororities play a big part in the day, which is designed to encourage a love of learning.

Mount Vernon Community Day

This is a day when students and their neighbors in the community come together. They celebrate fall with trick-or-treating in the residence halls, they cheer on the Colonials soccer team and they catch a film in Eckles Auditorium.

Films on the Vern

Every summer, films are shown on the big outdoor screen at the Quad on the Mount Vernon campus. This movie tradition gives members of the GW community and neighbors of the GW campuses a weekly opportunity to meet while enjoying classic cinema.

Senior Prom

Hosted by students in the Neighbors Project, the university student community sponsors a night of dinner and dancing for Washington, D.C., senior citizens.

GW Inaugural Ball

Every four years, GW marks the Jan. 20 inauguration of a new U.S. president and vice president by hosting a black-tie event. The ball is a University highlight for students and a “uniquely GW” celebration.

University Publications

GW produces a range of publications, including award-winning magazines and newspapers. These publications communicate the university’s mission, initiatives and campus news to internal and external audiences.

In addition to publications targeted at a university-wide audience, many of GW’s schools, departments and institutes publish for specialized audiences. GW students also produce a number of publications aimed primarily at their peers.

George Washington Today

GW’s flagship publication, George Washington Today provides breaking news; the latest headlines; in-depth articles about campus activities, academic programs and research initiatives; profiles of students, staff, alumni and faculty; and a wealth of other news and information affecting the GW community.

GW Magazine

GW Magazine is GW’s flagship alumni and University periodical, published each spring and fall. The magazine has a circulation of 200,000.

GW Research Magazine

GW Research magazine is published annually. It highlights the University’s research endeavors. The magazine has a circulation of 15,000.

Student Publications

The GW Hatchet, the award-winning student newspaper, has a tradition that reaches back to 1904, and the Cherry Tree, GW’s yearbook, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008.  Students also produce the literary and arts magazines Wooden Teeth and the G.W. Review.  Read more about Student Publications.

Sports & Spirit

Sports and Spirit

GW sports and spirit traditions arise from the enthusiasm stirred by athletic competition and the loyalty we feel for our 23 NCAA Division I teams. Because they are emotional in origin, GW spirit traditions tend to be held very deeply and expressed strongly by students, alumni, season ticket holders, and the loyal faculty and staff who cheer for our Colonials.

Sports and spirit traditions are part of daily life for students. For alumni, they spark fond memories and serve as a bridge back to their university years. And for college sports fans in Washington – and beyond – they shape an image of the university.

Following a vote by the student body in 1928, the GW sports teams became known as the Colonials. Nearly immediately, GW’s spirit traditions began to surface. They started with school colors, symbols and mascots. Musical traditions emerged, notably the “Alma Mater” and the “GW Fight Song.” Then organized spirit groups formed around the Colonials. They include the cheer and dance teams, the pep band and, more recently, the Colonial Army. Many of the university’s cornerstone events are explicitly tied to spirit traditions, especially Spirit Week, Colonial Invasion and Colonials Weekend.

Students can add their spirit to Colonials sports by attending games on our Foggy Bottom campus, in the newly renovated Charles E. Smith Center, or on the lacrosse, soccer and softball fields of our Mount Vernon campus. A valid GWorld card allows students to support their team at all home games free of charge.

 

Seal, Mace & Coat of Arms

GW’s seal, the University mace and our coat of arms serve as important visual symbols of the University’s heritage and prestige. In particular, they celebrate our connection to the vision, character and persona of George Washington.

University Seal

The seal of The George Washington University is used to identify and endorse diplomas and other official documents. The two-inch-diameter seal bears an image of George Washington based on a well-known painting by Gilbert Stuart. An open Bible shows a verse from the gospel of St. John, in Greek. The seal is encircled with a double ring, in azure, carrying the words “the George Washington University, 1821.”

University Mace

A mace, or staff, is carried by a dignitary at official events to mark the power and prestige of an institution. At Commencement and other GW ceremonies, our University marshal carries the University mace. It represents the standing of the University and the power of higher education as a force for good. The University mace was created by Harry Irving Gates, associate professor of sculpture, and was presented by the Faculty Women’s Club of The George Washington University. A profile of George Washington is displayed on the mace’s flanges.

The Coat of Arms

The Colonial Coat of Arms is a unique symbol of GW’s heritage. Great Britain’s York Herald of Arms presented it to the University at GW’s 1997 Commencement ceremony. The coat of arms shows George and Martha Washington holding a heraldic shield beneath a cupola that symbolizes Mount Vernon, Washington's home. The shield itself bears three stars and two stripes, emblems from the armorial bearings of Washington's family. Other elements, such as the brick walkway and roses, refer to more modern GW traditions.