GW Flag, Students on Stage, Freshman Day of Service



We don't just celebrate every four years —
GW journeys are filled with milestones,

and even our traditions are monumental.





At GW, we know history. Founded in 1821 through an Act of Congress, we have fulfilled George Washington’s vision of an institution in the nation’s capital dedicated to educating and preparing future leaders. Our students have shaped and celebrated the quintessential moments that make the GW experience truly unique. As our bicentennial quickly approaches, our traditions rooted in history gain momentum and will show you why you chose GW, from the first day you’re here until the last. 

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Where You'll Start

Welcome to GW at Colonial Inauguration

At CI, our award-winning orientation program, you’ll visit GW with your families to learn more about what life as a Colonial is like. From staying in residence halls to sessions on how to succeed, to registering for your first semester of classes and meeting your first Colonial friends, CI is an experience you won’t forget.



GW students during First Night 2016

Celebrate Your First Night

After move in, we welcome all new and returning students to celebrate arriving to campus and starting the new academic year at First Night. There are many activities, food and even a movie on University Yard. Plus, there's no better way to start your time at GW than by meeting thousands of your fellow Colonials.


Students painting during Freshman Day of Service

Civic Leaders from Day One

Our students embody the spirit of service. We officially welcome you to GW during Freshman Day of Service, a day where you'll give back across Washington, D.C., with your entire class. Whether you're planting gardens or repainting schools, your service counts at GW.



Represent the Best of George Washington

Raise High: George Washington mascot

Raise High the Buff and Blue!

The Colonials always have a monumental home court advantage because our stands are full of raucous fans loyal to GW, led by our fearless mascot George. Join the Colonial Army or a group of your friends to cheer on the basketball teams in the Smith Center, sports like soccer and lacrosse on Mount Vernon or any of our 27 Division 1 teams as they compete across the city.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

A Culture of Service

Service is a key part of the GW community—in the 2015-2016 academic year, the GW community contributed more than 658,000 hours of community service. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is our marquee day of giving back. Our students honor Dr. King’s legacy by spreading out across the region to create literacy materials for kids, paint high schools or make bracelets for soldiers. Our students use this day to make an impact.


GW students at the Inaugural Ball

Welcome Your New Neighbor

Their motorcade might make you late to class, but you’ll still want to celebrate the next President of the United States at a once-in-a-lifetime event. The GW Inaugural Ball is a chance for you to celebrate in style and dance the night away to welcome the new residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


Spring Festivities  

Celebrate GW; man playing flute

Celebrate GW

We celebrate our namesake’s birthday and our founding annually with a variety of events, including a bonfire, homecoming games for various sports teams, lectures and celebrations with alumni around the world. Celebrate GW is an opportunity for us to appreciate our history and be proud of what we’ve done and will do.  

Chalk-In; Student drawing with Chalk


As finals near, we welcome our students to participate in Chalk-In, an annual stress-relief event held in Kogan Plaza and on H Street. No matter your artistic ability, we welcome you to draw whatever inspires you and helps you relax and prepare for the upcoming end of the semester.


The End is Just Your Beginning 

Students taking selfie with Senator Cory Booker during Commencement

Graduate Like No One Else

As the only university lucky enough to hold our Commencement on the National Mall, our graduates celebrate like no one else can. You’ll take your first steps as a GW alum, listen to a world-class speaker and throw your cap in the air with the nation’s most recognizable landmarks and monuments as the backdrop.


Graduation Week

Celebrating Graduates

Apart from donning your cap and gown for school celebrations and University Commencement, you can clink a glass with your classmates at the Senior Class Toast, attend Commencement Fairs and more to end your GW career on the highest note.


Alumni Weekend

Come Back to Campus

Each fall we welcome back thousands of GW alumni to campus during Alumni Weekend to reconnect, choose from more than 60 events and add to our Colonial spirit. Depending on the year they graduated, some alumni can participate in special reunion events.


Marine One helicoptor over Commencement on the Mall

Rachael Mendez

Class of 2016
Major: Criminal Justice, Law and Society

No better way to end an amazing four years than with POTUS flying over our celebration #gwcommencement #onlyatgw”

- @rachaelannmendez



"Everyone loves a good photo booth #gwcw17 #5yearreunion #photobooth" - @cerurode


"Thank you @GWTweets for helping clean the park today!" - @AnacostiaNPS


First-year #gwdpt students had the opportunity to visit NIH for some of their labs this week! [email protected]


"you already know me s•a•g•e #springfling2017" - @rebecca_wallace


Welcome, President LeBlanc!


Welcome, President LeBlanc!


Welcome, President LeBlanc!


Welcome, President LeBlanc!