Celebrate GW

Celebrate George Washington; hashtag Celebrate GW

Celebrate the 285th anniversary of George Washington’s birthday and the 196th anniversary of the university's founding with a series of events that recognize his legacy of leadership and his namesake. 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.

Calendar of Events

Charter Day

February 9:
Charter Day

12:00 - 2:00 pm
District House B1

Celebrate the university's founding with charters and cupcakes.


Birthday Bonfire

February 10:
Birthday Bonfire

5:00 - 6:30 pm
University Yard
(This event will be held if weather conditions permit.)

Join students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends at the annual George Washington's Birthday Bonfire in University Yard and to kick-off Homecoming Weekend 2017.


Homecoming Slam-Dunk Brunch

February 11:
Homecoming Slam Dunk Tailgate

2:30 - 4:00 pm
Lerner Health and Wellness Center
2301 G Street, NW

Attend a pre-game tailgate before the GW Men's Baksetball game. Register to attend.


Homecoming: GW Men's Basketball

February 11:
Homecoming Men's Basketball Game

4:30 pm
Charles E. Smith Center

Cheer on the GW Men's Basketball team as they take on St. Bonaventure in an Atlantic 10 Conference match-up.


Homecoming GW Women's Basketball

February 12:
Homecoming Women's Basketball Game

12:00 pm
Charles E. Smith Center

Cheer on the GW Women's Basketball team's home game against Dayton.


Return to Mount Vernon

February 22:
Return to Mount Vernon

12:30 - 4:30 pm
George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate

Join students at the 6th annual journey to his estate in Alexandria, Virginia on his actual birthday. Visit includes transportation and admission. Register to attend.


6th Annual George Washington Lecture

February 22:
6th Annual George Washington Lecture

6:00 - 7:00 pm
Jack Morton Auditorium, Media and Public Affairs Building

Learn about Washington’s legacy regarding religious freedom and tolerance and explore larger points about religious liberty in America and the world. Guest speaker Walter Russell Mead, James Clark Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities, Bard College. Register to attend.


George's Birthday Bashes Around the World

Birthday Bashes Around the World

Not in Washington, D.C.? Attend George's Birthday Bashes celebrating our university namesake's 285th birthday with GW alumniaround the world, happening throughout February. #GBB285




  • George Washington's Birthday Bonfire, February 18, 2016


    George mascot standing in front of bonfire
  • Return to Mount Vernon, February 22, 2016


    Fifer plays at Return to Mount Vernon, February 22, 2016
  • 5th Annual George Washington Lecture, February 22, 2016


    5th Annual George Washington Lecture, February 22, 2016


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.

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.