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.

Visiting Campus

Download maps of our campuses as a guide to classroom space, residence halls and other campus landmarks.

Foggy Bottom Campus Map
Mount Vernon Campus Map


Athletics & Recreation

Varsity Sports

The University’s lively athletics program, with teams often in the NCAA spotlight, contributes immeasurably to the GW experience, school spirit and community pride. It also raises GW’s national profile. To join one of our 23 varsity sports as an athlete or student team manager is a special opportunity. Our coaches are committed to the University's belief in a well-rounded student athlete. That means athletes work hard to achieve intellectual development, maintain high academic standards and practice good citizenry in our community.

Club & Intramural Sports

Many GW students want to stay active while in college, but without the commitment to participation in a varsity sport. Club and intramural sports enable students to reap the health and wellness benefits of athletic competition (not to mention the fun), while remaining focused on academics and other aspects of life at GW.

Spirit Groups

GW has a long tradition of students organizing to create and express school spirit focused around our athletic teams. The excitement and involvement that are driven by athletics carry over into other aspects of student life, imbuing the GW community with a sense of pride in and loyalty to the George Washington University as an institution. This spirit is transmitted to neighbors in the Washington region, and sometimes to national audiences, building positive perceptions of GW. Some of our spirit groups, like the Cheer Team and Dance Team are themselves opportunities for athletic-related activities. Learn more at the GW Spirit Program website.

Fans & Supporters

Fans and supporters, If you're in town, swing by the newly renovated Charles E. Smith Center and our other venues to cheer on your Colonials. General tickets are available, in addition to special fan clubs.

Academic Life

At GW, students’ academic life is rich. They have opportunities to engage in research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and their interaction with professors is lively and thoughtful. Our professors, often world-renowned experts in their fields, teach against the backdrop of our nation’s capital, a city rich in intellectual resources, as they empower the next generation of leaders. Courses unfold in large lecture halls, small classes, seminars and experiential learning initiatives. 

Our 9,500 full-time undergraduates study in more than 72 majors across the spectrum of business, engineering, international affairs, communications and media, sciences, math, social sciences, arts, languages and the humanities. At the graduate level, GW offers more than 200 programs. Although graduate students undertake their studies through one of GW’s ten colleges and schools, they have many opportunities for interdisciplinary study.

The university is proud of its state-of-the-art facilities, including a capital markets trading room at the School of Business and multimedia lecture halls at the Elliott School of International Affairs. Most classrooms have wireless access.

With more than 2 million titles, Gelman, GW’s flagship library, is a source of information and inspiration. GW also belongs to the Washington Research Library Consortium, providing students with access to more than 7.5 million volumes in the libraries of eight area universities.

GW aims to educate citizens who enthusiastically take on the challenges of life in a global, technological society. Our professors dedicate themselves to both the subjects they love and teaching the core intellectual capabilities that last a lifetime.

The first of these core skills is critical thinking, the foundation of undergraduate education. The University Writing Program, the Dean’s Seminars in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Women’s Leadership Program and undergraduate classes across GW’s schools and colleges aim to teach students to think analytically, to solve complex problems and to challenge the status quo. 

Quantitative reasoning is the second important skill GW seeks to impart to all undergraduates. Quantitative reasoning embraces a wide range of subjects in math and science but also reaches beyond to economics and psychology. GW students gain essential knowledge as well as key skills that equip them to meet the challenges of living in our complex, technological and rapidly changing world.

GW also believes in educating students to think globally. We encourage our students to learn a second language, to study diverse cultures and to explore our study abroad options. Knowledge of other countries, cultures and languages opens doors in life.  In the 2010-2011 academic year we sent more than 1,800 students abroad to 81 different countries. The university also presents multicultural and international points of view across its curriculum.

At the graduate level, GW’s programs merge theory and practice. Graduate students participate in high-level research across a wide spectrum of disciplines, including the arts and sciences, engineering, political studies, business, human development, international affairs, law and medicine.

Visiting Campus

University Yard Photo

We encourage all students and families who are considering GW to visit our campuses and experience first-hand everything we have to offer. We offer a range of tour options to fit your scheduling needs.

The university is an integral part of the District of Columbia and no visit to GW is complete without sampling the offerings of its city. Washington, D.C., is accessible and easy to get around, with an array of affordable lodging located near the university and plenty of dining options on and off campus.

Campus Visits for Undergraduate Students

A visit to GW gives you the chance to hear first-hand about programs and financial aid available to you, as well as the opportunity to tour our historic Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon Campuses with a current student.

Sign Up for a Visit

Campus Visits for Graduate Students

GW offers tours for graduate and professional students three days a week- Monday, Wednesday and Friday- at 12:30 PM. All tours are led by a current graduate student.

Sign up for a Visit



The George Washington University’s leadership team—composed of the board of trustees, president, provost, vice presidents, deans and department chairs—manages day-to-day operations at the university and is firmly committed to ensuring a top-quality educational experience for GW students.

Chairman RamseyBoard of Trustees

The George Washington University is governed by a board of trustees, which has overall legal and fiduciary responsibility for the university.  The board works with the leadership team of the university comprised of the president, provost, vice presidents, deans and department chairs.  All are firmly committed to ensuring a top-quality educational experience for GW students. The current chair of the Board of Trustees is Nelson A. Carbonell, Jr., a 1985 alumnus of the university.

President Knapp

Office of the President

Steven Knapp became the sixteenth president of the George Washington University in August 2007.  His priorities include enhancing the university’s partnerships with neighboring institutions, expanding the scope of its research, strengthening its worldwide community of alumni, enlarging its students’ opportunities for public service, and leading its transformation into a model of urban sustainability.

Provost Lerman

Office of the Provost

The provost of The George Washington University is the chief academic officer for the 10 colleges and schools. The deans of the colleges and schools report to the provost. In addition, the provost oversees all programs and offices associated with student life and learning and serves as second-in-command of the university. The current provost is Steven R. Lerman, who has more than 35 years experience in higher education.

Vice Presidents

Vice presidents collectively oversee the George Washington University’s vast infrastructure, providing senior leadership and strategic vision across all aspects of GW life. Vice presidents are appointed by and report directly to the president.


The dean of each school serves as its chief administrative officer and is responsible to the president through the vice president for academic affairs. Deans serve at the pleasure of the president, provided they retain the confidence of their faculty.

Department Chairs

The chair of a department serves as the communications channel for all regular business between the faculty of the department and the University’s administration. Department chairs are appointed by the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, acting on nominations from the department that are recommended by the dean of the school.

University Offices & Staff

The George Washington University is the largest institution of higher education in the nation’s capital. More than 6,000 faculty members, administrators and support personnel keep the university’s wheels turning.



Traditions are an important part of GW's culture, enriching daily life and cultivating pride within our community. Our oldest traditions date back to 1904 when Columbian College became The George Washington University. With the adoption of its new name, GW embraced a rich array of customs and symbols complementing the University's character and vision. Today, many of our traditions incorporate the legends and lore linked to our namesake, President George Washington.

Over time, diversity and a broadening range of student interests have brought additional traditions that are shared by faculty, staff and alumni. Old and new, these are celebrated through athletics, student organizations, spirit groups, University publications and hallmark events. Campus landmarks, including the Tempietto, brick walkways, University Gates, busts of George Washington and the lovable bronze hippo, join the traditions, helping GW to leave an indelible mark on its charming neighborhood in the nation’s beautiful city of monuments.

Foggy Bottom Directions & Parking