Celebrate the 284th anniversary of George Washington’s birthday with a series of celebrations that recognize his legacy of leadership. All university events are free and open to GW students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends. Please join us to honor, rejoice, and learn more about our namesake.
February 9: Celebrate the university’s 195th birthday by wearing your #ColonialsColors, sending a #CelebrateGW message, testing your GW knowledge and taking a selfie with George Washington himself!
February 18: Join students, faculty, staff, alumni, and neighbors at the annual George Washington’s Birthday Bonfire.
February 19: Cheer on the GW women’s gymnastics team with North Carolina, New Hampshire, William & Mary.
February 20: Cheer on the GW women’s basketball team’s home game against Virginia Commonwealth University.
February 22: Join students at the 5th annual journey to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in Alexandria, Virginia on his actual birthday. Visit includes transportation and admission.
February 22: Learn about the presidential title controversy of 1821 at the 5th annual Washington Lecture with Kathleen Bartaloni-Tuazon, Ph.D. ’10.
Show Your GW Spirit on Social Media!
George Washington Behind the Scenes
The George Washington University’s Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection features objects relating to our nation’s first President and university namesake.
Washington’s Birthday or President’s Day?
The holiday is popularly known as President’s Day but it is officially recognized as “Washington’s Birthday” through a Congressional bill passed in 1879. Regrettably, the recognition will never fall on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22. The Monday Holiday Law, passed in 1968, creates 3-day weekends for federal holidays and moved Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday in February.
History of federally recognizing Washington’s Birthday
U.S. Code Title 5, section 6103, officially naming the holiday “Washington’s Birthday”
Congressional Celebration of Washington’s Birthday
The first Congressional recognition of Washington’s Birthday, February 22, was in 1862, when Secretary of the Senate, John W. Forney, read George Washington’s Farewell Address to the People of the United States. In celebration of the centennial year of the Constitution’s ratification in 1888, the Senate’s presiding officer again read the Address on February 22.
The annual tradition of the Senate observing Washington’s Birthday began in 1896 and has continued every year since. A senator, chosen by the governing body and from alternate parties each year, reads the 7,641-word statement while the Congress is in session. At the conclusion of each reading, the senator inscribes his or her name in a black, leather-bound book maintained by the Secretary of the Senate.