Celebrate GW

Celebrate George Washington; hashtag Celebrate GW

Celebrate the founding of the George Washington University and the legacy of our namesake.

Calendar of Events



Celebrate GW Bonfire

Wednesday, February 6
5:30-6:45 p.m.
Potomac Square: G Street between 20th and 21st Streets NW (directly across from Lisner Hall)
Weather Permitting; Prior to the men’s basketball game vs. VCU

Bring your friends and join us for games, music by DJ Phlipz, free food at your favorite food trucks, and more!

George Mascot with a crowd of students at the bonfire





Charter Day

Friday, February 8
12:00-2:00 p.m.
Marc C. Abrahms Great Hall
Marvin Center First Floor

The George Washington University was chartered by an act of Congress on February 9, 1821. Celebrate the 198th anniversary of the university’s founding with cookies, copies of the charter, and more!

basket full of scrolls to celebrate charter day





Commemoration of George Washington’s 287th Birthday

Friday, February 22
11:00 a.m.
George Washington Statue in University Yard
Rain location: Marc C. Abrahms Great Hall, Marvin Center First Floor

Commemorate George Washington’s Birthday with brief remarks, live music and the presentation of a wreath, honoring the commander of the Continental Army and the nation’s first commander-in-chief.

George Washington Statue in University Yard covered in snow



Other Events of Note 

Not in Washington, D.C.? Throughout February, attend George's Birthday Bashes celebrating our university namesake's 287th birthday with GW alumni around the world.


“The George Washington University: Then and Now”

Step back into time and experience campus life through a digital photo montage that matches old campus photos with current locations. Can you find these locations on GW’s campus today? Take a selfie at these locations and tag #CelebrateGW.


before after

Woodhull House, 1912


before after

University Yard behind Lisner Library, circa 1950s


before after

Monroe Hall (Registration for Fall Semester), 1958


before after

Tonic at Quigley’s Pharmacy, 1969


before after

Marvin Center, 1970



Images from RG0031: University Historical Materials collection, Special Collections Research Center, GW Libraries

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. Ironically, the holiday will never fall on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22, as the third Monday in February cannot fall any later than February 21. 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.

See the history of federally recognizing 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.