GW's Bicentennial Opening Ceremony Full Transcript

GW's Bicentennial Opening Ceremony, which took place on February 9, 2021, featured appearances from prominent alumni, musical performances, insights from university leaders past and present, interactive features and more. The full transcript appears here. 



Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the fourth day of January, one thousand nine hundred and seventy-seven, An Act To amend the Act of February 9, 1821, to restate the charter of The George Washington University, there is established in the District of Columbia a university and a body corporate which shall be known as The George Washington University and which shall have perpetual succession.

Speaker: Dana Bash, B.A. '93, Chief Political Correspondent, CNN

>> Good afternoon, everyone. I'm so pleased to welcome you to The George Washington University's bicentennial opening ceremony. Today we officially mark the 200th anniversary of our founding, celebrating our community for its academic excellence, research, innovation and global impact.

The George Washington University has quite a lot to celebrate. Over the past two centuries, generations of GW students, faculty and staff and alumni have made a difference in both this nation's capitol and throughout the world. We established the District of Columbia's first schools of law, of medicine and public health, and we have advanced scholarship and research that confronts our most difficult challenges; and we have educated hundreds of thousands of global leaders, past, present and future, who have changed the world in millions of ways.

While we may not be able to gather in person at the moment, we can all take heart in our sense of unity and appreciation for GW at this historic milestone. This virtual event is also the first of many, as we kick off a year-long celebration of exciting programming.

During today's program, we'll honor GW's great progress and look with optimism into the future. Over the next hour, you can expect to learn, to think and to awaken your own GW memories.

We will start today's program with a brief documentary narrated by our own alumna, Kerry Washington.

You'll also hear from university leaders, past and present, and enjoy moments that will bring you back your own fond memories. I know mine are lazy days on the quad or taking advantage of D.C. by going to monuments with friends.

As you stay tuned, remember that tonight is all about how all of us have made GW what it is today. We have two centuries of Only at GW moments, two centuries of GW memories and two centuries of bonds that form this lifelong community.

Thank you for joining us in honor of GW's bicentennial and in celebration of what is to come. Raise high. And now, on with the show.

>> 200 years ago, a small regional college was established on a hill on the outskirts of the city of Washington, D.C. Its founders dreamed of creating a school of national significance at the seat of power in the nation's new capital.

When Columbian College, later renamed The George Washington University, was officially established on February 9th, 1821, its success was not inevitable, its path not clearly charted; but with perseverance, passion and persistence, GW grew from a school of just 20 students and 6 faculty into a world-class global institution.

Now, in its bicentennial year, The George Washington University includes more than 27,000 students, over 2,000 faculty and more than 300,000 living alumni. The story of GW has been solidified over its 200-year journey by its dynamic students, alumni, faculty and staff; but the other significant character in the narrative of the university is the city GW grew up in, the capitol city, providing an unparalleled location and access for a global education. Since the university's founding in 1821, students have been able to take full advantage of living and learning at the seat of the federal government, within arm's reach of prominent scientific institutions, and with notable cultural establishments at their fingertips.

"March 1st, 1823. For seven weeks, we have been permitted to go one day in a week to hear the debates in Congress and the pleas in the Supreme Court of the United States. Many of these have been instructive and animating." Barron Stow, student, 1823.

"The city and all it has to offer, culturally, socially, politically and historically, is an extension of the university; as much a part as the textbook, the classroom, and the education." The Cherry Tree, 1976.

"It's one of the reasons I decided to come to GW. I have a chance to study at an institution that has access to the Smithsonian, to the Library of Congress, to all of these historic museums." Sara Bhatia, student, 2020.

GW students bear witness and actively learn as history unfolds around them; the location allowing for a supremely unique vantage point, cementing the GW experience as one of true immersion in moments that have shaped America and the world. GW's never-ending commitment in helping to shape a stronger future is proven through its faculty, who contribute to significant moments in history, participating in ground-breaking and cutting-edge research, who are leaders in their fields, in politics and journalism, law, medicine, public health and science, arts, culture and more, infusing the GW academic environment with an unrivaled learning experience.

The collective academic weight of GW's two centuries is embodied by its remarkable alumni, now numbering more than 300,000, living worldwide. They have used their GW education to make an enduring impact, becoming heads of state from around the world, U.S. cabinet officials, members of Congress, judges, activists, artists, scientists, inventors, CEOs and icons from nearly every field of endeavor.

A university with as dynamic a story as the capitol city it grew up with, it now enters its third century. And with it, new challenges arise, new ways of learning are implemented, new frontiers of discovery are forever on the horizon. And as always, GW will adapt, grow, learn and build an enduring path forward, fortified by the foundational strength of 200 years of history that has elevated this university from an ambitious small college on a hill to the internationally acclaimed research institution it is today and will continue to be long into the future.

Speaker: Skye L. Blanks, ESIA '21

>> Hello, GW. I'm Skye Blanks. I'm a current senior studying international affairs and development in the Elliott School.

Speaker: Peyton Wilson, SMPA '22

>> I'm Peyton Wilson, a junior studying political communication at SMPA. We are so excited to be your emcees for today's program.

>> Throughout today's event, we'll be your guides as we celebrate this historic milestone, honor GW's generations of progress. Our program today will help all of us see and feel how GW evolved into a global university with global impact. We'll also look ahead and explore how GW will continue to lead us into its third century.

>> You will be hearing from some familiar faces and voices, all of whom have contributed to GW throughout its 200 years and who are responsible for helping to shape the future of our university. You'll also learn ways you can join the celebration throughout the year. Let's get started.

>> We know getting together isn't easy right now, but we're so fortunate to have President Thomas J. LeBlanc and Presidents Emeriti Steven Knapp and Stephen Trachtenberg join together to discuss their time at GW. They had an awesome Q&A session where they were able to share their thoughts on GW's progress and our future. You will get to hear pieces of that discussion through tonight's program.

>> And after this first segment, we'll be testing your knowledge of GW, so we hope you'll be ready for some trivia. Okay, let's turn it over to our university presidents in a discussion moderated by television journalist and GW alumna, Reena Ninan.

Speaker: Reena Ninan, B.A. '01, Journalist and Founder, Good Trouble Productions

>> When you look at this 200-year benchmark, what do you think it means in particular for higher education?

Speaker: Thomas J. LeBlanc, President, George Washington University

>> First of all, 200 years is a big deal. This is a great celebration of a great university. There are a lot of universities that were started in this country that never made it to their 200th anniversary. It's a chance to look back at the history of our university, but it's also a chance to look back at the history of our country because our institution in our nation's capitol is intertwined with the history of our country; I think in particular, the Vietnam War protests, where we were a site that housed a lot of students that came from around the country to be a part of that. I know that students would look across the street and see presidents walking into the F Street House. It's an opportunity for us, therefore, to look back, celebrate our history, but also to look forward and think about what do we want to be during the coming century. This great university will continue to be a part of this great nation and train the leaders of the future.

Speaker: Reena Ninan, B.A. '01, Journalist and Founder, Good Trouble Productions

>> I want to turn to you, President Trachtenberg. We're hitting this 200-year benchmark, which is remarkable for a university. As we look sort of on our history, what does it mean to you that we're celebrating 200 years?

Speaker: Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, President Emeritus, 1988-2007, George Washington University

>> Well, people think we've been around for a long time; but actually, of course, this is a very young nation. And by being 200 years old as a university, GW has grown up during most of the history of the nation. Our participation in the Civil War, having a hospital here which assisted wounded from both the North and the South makes GW, I think, sufficiently broad-based and eclectic to reach out across the 50 states, from the east coast to the west coast, and really be a national as well as an international university.

Speaker: Reena Ninan, B.A. '01, Journalist and Founder, Good Trouble Productions

>> President Knapp, when you look at the 200 years, what does it mean to you?

Speaker: Steven Knapp, President Emeritus, 2007-2017, George Washington University

>> Well, I think that mission of educating citizen leaders for the nation, and now, of course, citizen leaders for the world, because the other thing that's happened in addition to our expanding across 50 states, we've become an increasingly international university, so I think it's that impact, that sense of having a front row seat in the theater of both American history and global history really is a hallmark of the institution. But at the same time, I would point to this really remarkable entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to service on the part of our students, so it's that combination of global reach and this extraordinary focus on creativity and service that I think are continuing hallmarks of our students. And they're supported by a faculty that combines theory and practice in a way that's really unusual among research universities.

>> Trivia (No Audio)

Do You Know Your GW?

1. Did you know that the institution we know as the George Washington University has had many names throughout the years? What was the first name GW received when initially chartered in 1821?

A. University

B. Columbian College

C. The George Washington University

Answer: B. Columbian College


2. Today, more than 27,000 students and thousands of faculty call GW home. How many GW students and faculty were there at the beginning in 1821?

A. 26

B. 58

C. 110

D. 154

Answer: A. 26


3. In 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama challenged GW students to complete 100,000 hours of community service. By 2012, how many community service hours were officially logged?

A. <75,000

B. >100,000

C. >200,000

D. >250,000

Answer: D. >250,000


>> The purposes of the university are to educate individuals in liberal arts, languages, sciences, learned professions and other courses and subjects of study.

Speaker: Skye L. Blanks, ESIA '21

>> I know it was before my time, but I feel like that portion of GW's charter really reflects the tenure of former GW President Stephen Trachtenberg's time at the university. During his 19 years as president, he expanded GW's academic offerings, as well as the physical footprint of the university, beyond our Foggy Bottom home.

Speaker: Peyton Wilson, SMPA '22

>> It's true, Skye. Let's hear from President Emeritus Tractenberg, as he reflects on his legacy at GW, and then we'll test the audience with some trivia one more time. I'm also excited for this next section, because we're joined by some of the most talented members of the GW community, as they offer a musical tribute to celebrate GW's bicentennial.

Speaker: Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, President Emeritus, 1988-2007, George Washington University

>> We were at a moment in time where I saw opportunities for expansion into disciplines that made a lot of sense, given our location. The best example, I think, is the School of Public Health. I perceived, fortunately, and with the help of advice from others, that health issues were going to be a very consequential matter in the 21st Century, and I saw that our location in Washington gave us an opportunity to develop a School of Public Health that would really matter. At the time, the nearest school of public health was in Baltimore. While that is not a far-away city, it is sufficiently distanced that you can't be in this city and commute easily on a regular basis. We had a program, for example, in hospital administration, but it was in Business. We had a program in kinesiology, but it was in the School of Education. By taking these pieces and putting them together in a new format, we created a new school. In any case, the point I'm trying to make is I think universities need to contribute in their own unique way. At different times, that changes, so that an idea that I have might be different than that of President Knapp or different than one of President LeBlanc or one of Lloyd Elliott's. And undoubtedly, our successors will come up with new ideas.

>> Trivia (No Audio)

Do You Know Your GW?

4. GW moved to Foggy Bottom in… 

A. 1845

B. 1876

C. 1912

D. 1945

Answer: C. 1912…it was a very big moving day


5. On December 13th, 1824, GW's first commencement took place at the F Street Presbyterian Church, now the site of the Willard Hotel. Who was the invited commencement speaker?

A. President Andrew Jackson

B. The Marquis de Lafayette

C. Chief Justice John Marshall

D. House Speaker Henry Clay

Answer: B. The Marquis de Lafayette

Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, was the invited speaker. President Andrew Jackson, members of the president's cabinet, and members of both houses of Congress were also in attendance.


6. GW students have incredibly robust opportunities for internships. How many graduates complete between 1-3 internships during their time at GW?

A. 41%

B. 52%

C. 67%

D. 71%

Answer: D. 71%

>> Musical Performance: Millicent Scarlett, Adjunct Professor of Voice, Music Program, George Washington University

>> When you walk through a storm

hold your head up high

And don't be afraid of the dark

At the end of a storm is a golden sky

and the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind,

walk on through the rain

Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart

And you'll never walk alone

You'll never walk alone

Hail alma mater to thy spirit guiding

Knowledge thy closest friend

in its strength abiding

Pledge we fidelity

ne'er its place resigning

Hail thee George Washington

Speaker: Peyton Wilson, SMPA '22

>> That was so good.

Speaker: Skye L. Blanks, ESIA '21

>> I know. I love watching and listening to the performing arts at GW. Unfortunately, it was one talent I never really had. How have you gotten involved at GW, Peyton?

Speaker: Peyton Wilson, SMPA '22

>> Skye, don't even get me started. From the Black Student Union, to working at the admissions office, I do social media for Dining Services, teach student cooking classes. I mean, I've always felt like GW's where you have the freedom to explore your interests, whatever they may be. Everyone here is curious and passionate, and I get to learn so much just from the people around me because they all care about something different. What about you, Skye?

Speaker: Skye L. Blanks, ESIA '21

>> I felt the same way, Peyton. I'm a first-generation college student, and found that the First-Gen United really helped me find myself. I felt so supported and constantly surrounded by so many students with similar backgrounds. I also found a home at the Multicultural Student Service Center, which made me feel GW is even more diverse than it really is. I was definitely intimidated by the city at first, but started volunteering with Circle K, the largest collegiate service organization in the nation. They really got me into the city. By my second semester, freshman year, people were asking me where to go.

Speaker: Peyton Wilson, SMPA '22

>> It's true. There are thousands of student organizations, countless internships and dozens of varsity and club sports. GW students are able to take advantage of the opportunities that GW and its location in the heart of D.C. provides. Let's look deeper at how GW students have enriched their lives on campus and beyond, with everything from singing and sports to culture and civics, for 200 years.

♫Student Life Video – No Text

>> The purposes of the university are to conduct scholarly research and publish the findings of such research, to operate hospital and medical facilities.

Speaker: Peyton Wilson, SMPA '22

>> I feel like that section of GW's charter truly reflects the leadership of the years that Steven Knapp was president of the university.

Speaker: Skye L. Blanks, ESIA '21

>> I agree. During his tenure, President Emeritus Knapp, through research funding, opened the Science and Engineering Hall and incorporated the Corcoran School of Arts and Design into the university. Let's tune in to former President Knapp as he discusses his legacy at GW.

Speaker: Steven Knapp, President Emeritus, 2007-2017, George Washington University

>> I really saw part of my role as expanding our research excellence into other fields, which we already had quite a bit of excellence in other fields, but I thought we could build upon that. That's one of the reasons we constructed the Science and Engineering Center, that's one of the reasons we built a museum on campus and also merged with the museum off-campus that's now the home of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. We continued to develop our strengths in the policy realm. One example of that is, in 2012, we launched the Global Women's Institute, which works on the education and empowerment of women and girls around the world, and I think has become a very prominent leader in that field. President Trachtenberg said something very important, which is we had a unique opportunity in the field of public health to combine our strengths in the natural sciences with our strengths in policy. And that has given us, I think, a unique role, as we've all seen in the media coverage, of George Washington University's contributions to addressing the Coronavirus pandemic. We've continued to develop in all these directions, branch out in research. It's always been part of our mission, but I would say what's unique about our approach to it is this blend of theory and practice. Public health's an excellent example of that. So is the work that we do in the Elliott School, so is the work we do in the Trachtenberg school. It's really across the board that we combine scholarship of the highest levels with an impact on the world. We really are an institution that sees our contribution in research directly related to the needs of society, the needs of the world, and I'm sure that will continue to be a hallmark of what research means at George Washington in the years and, we hope, centuries to come. By the way, because of our investment in research during my presidency, we did see an advance in our research ranking, as measured by the National Science Foundation by some 27 places, so there's measurable progress we made and we'll continue to make in research across all of our fields of endeavor.

Speaker: Peyton Wilson, SMPA '22

>> That's so interesting. I love hearing about the legacies of GW and the stories behind the work that goes on here every day. I also really like how he mentioned our place in the nation. Everything I study and research is applicable in current life. I mean, it's happening down the street.

Speaker: Skye L. Blanks, ESIA '21

>> I know. The past four years, I really felt like I can be in a place that has so much going on and it feels like home. And to know this place is so rich in research and discovery over the past 200 years is so awesome.

Speaker: Peyton Wilson, SMPA '22

>> Let's take a closer look at some of those moments in research since GW began.

>> Achieving Through Research

1895 Master’s of Patent Law established 

GW alumni have and continue to write many famous patents, including for Wright brothers’ flying machine (1906)

1927 Samuel Flagg Bemis

GW faculty member Samuel Flagg Bemis wins Pulitzer Prize in History for work on Pinckney’s Treaty

1948 Hot Big Bang Theory

GW student Ralph Alpher and prof. George Gamow develop “Hot Big Bang Theory” of the early universe.

1958 Human and Organizational Learning Established

GW establishes the Human and Organizational Learning field of study, becoming the first of its kind in the US.

1961 Sino-Soviet Institute

GW develops the Sino-Soviet Institute, evolving into one of the top centers for regional studies.

1966 Uncovering the first Congress

GW scholars began composing the definitive history of the First Federal Congress, a task that will take 50 years and result in 22 volumes.

1972 Biostatistics Center is established

Biostatistics Center is established, conducting major research with federal agencies and private companies alike and publishing 1,290+ articles.

2000 The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers

The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project launches, creating a public archive of over 100,000 historically significant documents.

2009 New Venture Competition

GW launches the New Venture Competition, now among the top collegiate innovation competitions of its kind.

2010 D.C. Center For AIDS Research 

District of Columbia Center for AIDS Research is established and led by GW faculty. The Center is a unique city-wide consortium representing 230 HIV investigators at eight collaborating research institutions.

2010 Clinical and Translational Science Institute

Is launched by the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Children's National Hospital to support clinical and translational research.

2011 Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center

The School of Business establishes the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, the world’s leading center for financial literacy research and policy.

2012 The Global Women’s Institute is founded.

The Global Women’s Institute is founded. GWI’s evidence-based interventions on Violence Against Women and Girls are now implemented around the world. 

2012 Partnership with National Museums of Kenya

GW partners with the National Museums of Kenya to lead the Koobi Fora Field School, the world’s premier field research and training program in paleoanthropology. 

2015 Giapreza Discovered
Giapreza, a drug that treats hypertension/septic shock is discovered at GW. Royalty funds from Giapreza are now reinvested in GW.

2015 Science and Engineering Hall Opens
GW Opens Science and Engineering Hall, the largest building dedicated to interdisciplinary science and engineering research and teaching in the nation’s capital.

2015 GW Museum and Textile Museum

The George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum opens on GW’s Foggy Bottom Campus with one of the world’s most significant textile collections.

2015 National Chimpanzee Brain Resource
National Chimpanzee Brain Resource, the largest collection of consolidated chimp brain resources in the U.S., is established to advance neuroscience research.

2018 New Dinosaur Fossils Discovered
GW researchers and scientists from the Chinese Academy of Science uncover never-before-seen dinosaur fossils, discovering and identifying the ninth new species of their partnership.

2018 Hurricane Maria Research
The Milken Institute School of Public Health publishes a report on Hurricane Maria-related deaths in Puerto Rico garners international attention. The Puerto Rican Government adopts this report as the official death toll.

2019 The Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics 
The Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics is established to track the spread of distorted information online, combating disinformation.

2020 COVID-19 Vaccine Tested
GW begins a Phase 3 study of Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine, helping to develop and test a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine.

2021 and Beyond
GW faculty will continue their work to address the world’s most urgent challenges, creating a brighter future for a greater world.

>> The purposes of the university are to engage in any activity incidental to the foregoing purposes. Such purposes shall be accomplished without regard to the race, color, creed, sex or national origin of any individual.

Speaker: Peyton Wilson, SMPA '22

>> With the global pandemic and the many other challenges facing our nation and the world, GW has needed steady leadership in these uncertain times. Even as we navigate through this period, GW's leadership is focused on ways we can fulfill the promise of our founding charter. To wrap up this program, let's hear from some of that leadership.

Speaker: Skye L. Blanks, ESIA '21

>> President LeBlanc has been at the forefront of these efforts, and he'll outline his vision to make GW more accessible and inclusive for all of us. We will also hear from some of our prominent alumni, who will share the impact that GW has had on their lives. And finally, we'll hear from the chair of our board of trustees, Grace Speights, as she provides words of inspiration for GW's third century, and from members of our community sharing their best wishes for GW's 200 years.

Speaker: Thomas J. LeBlanc, President, George Washington University

>> One of the lessons we've learned from this pandemic is, once again, it exposed the fault lines in our society. We've had a disproportionate impact on communities of color from this pandemic with respect to health, access to bandwidth and learning. Every aspect of society was exposed once again. We need to make sure that higher education, which I believe is the greatest force for social mobility in our country, is accessible to all. We need to enroll a diverse student body, we need to have a diverse faculty and staff, and we need to ensure that our students can be successful. The first step in that is the admissions process. Several years ago here at GW, we eliminated the need for standardized test scores as a part of the admissions process, and we saw a significant increase in the diversity of our application pool as a result. But getting admitted isn't enough. We have to make sure students have the financial aid so they can be successful here at the university and not have to drop out due to money problems or spend all of their time working in other jobs so that they can see their way through to graduation. We're trying to raise more money for scholarships, we're looking at our financial aid policies to ensure the dollars that we have are directed to the neediest. This past fall, we introduced two very significant estate gifts we received to start a scholarship fund for the neediest students. We dedicated $22.5 million for that purpose. We will continue to raise those funds so that we can ultimately meet the full need of the neediest students here at GW. Once they get enrolled and have an appropriate financial aid package, we have to make sure that they feel comfortable on our campus and that they can be successful. We need to work with our Multicultural Student Center, our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Black Student Union, our Latino organizations to make sure that we're continually improving life on campus for all of our students, particularly those that may be first-generation students and don't have experience with higher education. And we need to make sure that they can be successful in the classroom, whether it's ensuring that they have access to the classes they need or they have the support that they need to be successful academically. We want our students to be able to graduate, ultimately go out into the world and change the world so that in the future, we're not dealing with these same problems.

>> Trivia (No Audio)

Do You Know Your GW?

7.  Students from all over the world come to complete their studies in the ‘center of it all.’ How many countries are represented through our international student body?

A. 134

B. 110

C. 85

D. 65

Answer: A. 134


8. GW has bestowed honorary degrees on many notable agents of change. Which of the following people have received an honorary degree from GW?

A. Ella Fitzgerald

B. Hillary Clinton

C. Sandra Day O'Connor

D. Julian Bond

E. All of the Above

Answer: E. All of the Above


9. All of these prestigious awards have been won by GW students, but which award is named after a GW alumnus?

A. Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

B. Marshall Scholarship

C. Fulbright Summer Institute Scholarship

D. Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship

Answer: C. Fulbright Summer Institute Scholarship


10.  GW is actively taking steps to become a sustainable university. Not only do we aim to reduce our carbon footprint, we want to remove all greenhouse gas emissions the university has produced since its founding. What % of GW's electricity is currently solar powered?

A. 20%

B. 50%

C. 40%

D. 10%

Answer: B. 50%

Speaker: Grace E. Speights, J.D. '82, Chair, George Washington University Board of Trustees

>> Hello, GW and happy bicentennial. As chair of the board of trustees and as a proud GW alumna, it is my honor to serve the university alongside my fellow trustees and President Leblanc to support the incredible work of our students, faculty, staff and alumni. Supporting the aspirations of this community is an important goal of the board. We serve to enable each and every member of our community to make a positive mark on society, to strengthen our teaching and research mission and to help build a greater world. This past year has presented many challenges, and our path forward, like all universities, is uncharted. But unlike other universities, we have the advantage of benefiting from this fabulous GW community. This community is why I firmly believe that we are positioned for preeminence as a comprehensive global research university in our third century. As we move into the future, this community is focused as ever on supporting our students' success and providing the high-quality academic experience and Only at GW moments that have been hallmarks of our university for centuries. We are focused on inclusion and equity, believing that a GW education changes lives and should always be within reach. We are focused on finding opportunities in the new and different, adapting the ways we teach, learn and work, to evolve our university to address the big challenges, not only of the present, but also of the future. And we are focused on leading in service of others. Our community leads and serves, knowing that together, we can change the world. And we lead and serve knowing that perhaps now, more than ever, our communities need us. We are all here today celebrating GW's bicentennial, recognizing the importance of GW in our lives and affirming our community's commitment to building a greater world. Our GW family is strong, resilient and proud. I am personally grateful to each of you for your support to GW, past, present and future. Thank you for joining us as we celebrate this historic milestone and as we celebrate each of you. Happy bicentennial, GW. Raise high.

Speaker: U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, B.A. '77, Hon. D.P.S. '03

>> 200 years George Washington University has been providing a world-class education to Americans and students from all over the world. I think it was the GW education that gave me that fair shot to go into business and then into politics, so congratulations, GW.

Speaker: Nadja West, M.D. '88, Hon. D.P.S. '17, Retired U.S. Army Surgeon General

>> When I reflect on what I learned while I was at GW that I've taken with me throughout all these years, would have to be first, the professors who taught me to make sure that I was academically prepared to be the best physician that I could be. But most importantly, it was the patients who were patient with me, who allowed me to ask them question after question and to examine them when they'd probably already been examined once already, so that I could learn, so that I could be the best physician to take care of them, so I could learn compassion and empathy of what it's like to be a patient. And so that's one of the things that I take with me and keep with me, those first patients who were patient with me.

Speaker: Christine M. Brown-Quinn, M.B.A. '92, Owner, Career Expert, Author, "The Female Capitalist"

>> GW helped me find my leadership voice and the ability to navigate conflict. These are the gifts which have enabled me to lead the life I want to lead, both personally and professionally. Through my ongoing GW connection, I hope to be able to help current and future students discover their gifts.

Speaker: Robert K. Tanenbaum, J.D. '82, Principal, Lerner Enterprises

>> This institution has been important to me and many members of our family who have matriculated here. More importantly, this university has made a great contribution to our city, our nation and, yes, even the world. I'd like to think that our namesake would be proud of how his idea germinated and blossomed into an important citizen in its own right. We have had great faculty, great students and very capable administrations through the years that have only advanced our mission and enhanced our reputation. I think our best days are in front of us. There will be challenges to us and to our nation and the world; but given the strong foundation we have of excellence, I know that bright days are ahead. Congratulations.

Speaker: U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, M.A. '92, Hon. D.P.S. '17

>> I'm so proud to be an alumni of GW. During my time at GW, the most significant thing that happened to me was that I met new people that I would never have crossed paths with, had I not attended GW. Specifically, I met many students, my fellow classmates who were either serving in the military or were recently retired or serving in the Reserve or National Guard. Because of their encouragement, I tried military service, I took ROTC classes, and loved it. And that led to a 23-year career of military service, ending with my retirement at the rank of lieutenant colonel. I would never have had that fulfilling career and the opportunity to serve my country had I not gone to GW and met these wonderful classmates who encouraged me to try something different, try something new.

Speaker: Mark D. Lerner, B.B.A. '75, Principal, Lerner Enterprises

>> Congratulations to The George Washington University on this monumental occasion. I'm proud to call myself an alumnus of this university and join all of you in celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of its founding. Starting with my dad, three generations of my family have attended GW, and this school means so much to me and my entire family. During my time at GW, I remember sitting in business class, Building C, and dreaming what my future may look like. My education from this great school provided me with necessary skills to accomplish more than I could ever dream of, including bringing baseball back to the nation's capitol and bringing home D.C.'s first World Series title in 95 years. As a native Washingtonian, I watched GW grow into one of the top research universities, not only in the country, but in the world. This school is a jewel within our city and will continue to produce numerous distinguished alumni in government, business, medicine and other industries. Here's to many more years of success.

Birthday Wishes:

>> You look great for 200. Happy birthday, GW.

>> 200 years ago, we started educating citizen leaders for a new nation. Today we educate citizen leaders for the nation and the world. Congratulations, GW, and happy birthday.

>> Happy birthday, George Washington. 200 looks great on you. 300 is going to look better, and I'm looking forward to that occasion.

>> Raise high, GW. Happy birthday.

>> Way to go on celebrating your bicentennial. You matter and your efforts matter.

>> From our family to the GW family, happy 200th birthday.

>> Happy birthday, George Washington.

>> Happy birthday to GW. I'm proud to be a member of the faculty of this great institution for 40 years. Happy birthday.

>> Hey, GW, congratulations on your 200th birthday. Raise high.

>> Happy 200 birthday, GW. As we celebrate this special milestone, let's dream even bigger and together build on our rich history to attain greater heights. Raise high.

>> Happy bicentennial, George Washington University.

>> Raise high, GWU. Happy birthday.

>> 200 years and going strong. Happy bicentennial, GW. Can't wait to see the beginning of the next 200.

>> Happy birthday, GW. Raise high.

>> Raise high, GW. Happy 200th birthday.

>> Congratulations, GW, on your bicentennial. Happy birthday to you.

>> Happy birthday.

>> Happy birthday to GW. Raise high.

>> Happy birthday, GW. Here's to the next 200.

>> Happy 200th birthday, GW. Here's to another 200.

>> Sending birthday wishes all the way from Boston. Happy 200th birthday, GW.

>> Happy birthday, GW.

>> Happy 200 years, GW.

>> Raise high, GW, and happy 200th birthday.

>> Happy anniversary, GW. Congratulations on 200 years. I couldn't be prouder and look forward to what's ahead.

>> Happy 200th anniversary, GW. You have never looked better, and you've never needed Botox either. Congratulations. Looking forward to you and the success in the years to come. I'm a very proud alumni.

>> 200 years? GW, you wear it well. Here's to many more and even better years. Happy birthday, GW. Raise high.

♫ Bicentennial Logo Photo Mosaic

Speaker: Peyton Wilson, SMPA '22

>> Well, we've come to the close of tonight's event, but it's just the start of the bicentennial celebration.

Speaker: Skye L. Blanks, ESIA '21

>> That's right. Peyton and I encourage you to go to to learn more about the year-long celebration that we're kicking off today and how you can be a part of it. And on a personal note, I just really want to say thank you to GW. Being here for four years with so many mentors really helped me build my character and discover who I was meant to become.

Speaker: Peyton Wilson, SMPA '22

>> Yeah, GW really taught me that you can take learning anywhere, and I'm so grateful to the university and grateful to all of you who joined us here tonight.

Speaker: Skye L. Blanks, ESIA '21

>> Happy bicentennial, GW. Raise high.

Speaker: Peyton Wilson, SMPA '22

>> Happy bicentennial, GW. Raise high.

>> Thank you for watching. Stick around for more birthday wishes from our GW community.

>> What a joy it is to celebrate the bicentennial for George Washington University. Happy birthday, GWU. Raise high.

>> Happy 200 years, GW, all the way from Abu Dhabi.

>> Communities matter, camaraderie matters and birthdays definitely matter. Happy 200th, GW.

>> Happy bicentennial, George Washington University. Very proud to be one of the graduates this year.

>> Happy 200th birthday, George Washington.

>> Happy 200th birthday, GW. Raise high, and here's to many more years. Stay safe.

>> Happy birthday, GW, from the class of '90. And '91. Go, GW.

>> Happy 200th birthday.

>> As a proud GW graduate, class of '83, happy 200th anniversary, GW, and here's to 200 more.

>> Happy 200th birthday, GW. Go buff and blue.

>> Hey, GW, I want to wish you a very happy 200th birthday.

>> Happy 200, GW. Many, many more to go. Raise high.

>> Happy bicentennial, GW, celebrating 200 years of The George Washington University. Raise high.

>> Happy birthday, GW.

>> Happy birthday, GW. Happy Bicentennial. Mazel tov. To many, many more. Thank you.

>> Happy 200th birthday. Look forward to celebrating this bicentennial year with you. Raise high.

>> I want to wish George Washington University a happy 200th birthday. During those 200 years, GW was able to secure its place as a global leader in the health sciences. Raise high.

>> Happy birthday, George Washington University. What a wonderful 200 years of progress, and I'm very much looking forward to celebrating number 300 with you in a while. Good luck to all.

>> Happy 200th, GW.

>> Happy birthday, GW. Raise high.

>> Happy birthday, GW. So proud to be part of the GW family.

>> Happy 200th, GW.

>> Happy birthday, G dub. Happy birthday G dub. Woo!

>> Happy birthday, and raise high, GW.

>> Happy bicentennial, GW.

>> Happy birthday, GW. Here's to a great third century.

>> Happy bicentennial, GW. Raise high.

>> Happy 200th birthday, GW.

>> Raise high, GW. Happy 200th birthday. Happy birthday, GW.

>> Raise high. Happy bicentennial, G dub.

>> Happy 200th anniversary, George Washington. Raise high the buff and blue.

>> Happy birthday, GW. Raise high.

>> As a proud alumnus from George Washington University, I want to wish GWU a very happy 200th birthday. Raise high.

>> Happy 200th birthday, GW. Party like it's 2021.

>> Hi, GW. Happy birthday.

>> Happy 200th birthday, GW. Raise high.

>> Happy 200th birthday, GW.

>> Hey, GW. Happy birthday. Welcome to the start of your third century. We have so many world problems and issues to solve in the next 200 years, so let's go.

>> Happy birthday, GW. Archie and I would like to wish you a very happy 200th birthday. We hope you have a great bicentennial year.

>> All the way from Marina Bay, Singapore, happy 200th, GW. Here's to another 200 years of raising high.

>> Thank you for your tremendous service to the country and the world.

>> Happy birthday, GW. Thanks for being an amazing place to get an education. Here's to 200 more excellent years. Raise high.

>> Happy birthday, GW.

>> Raise high, GW. Happy birthday.

>> Happy birthday, GW. Congratulations on completing 200 years, and here's 200 more of raising high.

>> Raise high, GW. Happy 200th birthday. Raise high.

>> Happy 200th birthday, GW. Raise high.

>> Happy birthday, GW. Or in Arabic -- (Speaking Arabic.)

>> Happy birthday, GW, the educational epicenter of the national capitol. All of us who've been there, all of us who studied there leave with a greater appreciation for America and a greater appreciation for the knowledge George Washington is conveying. Thank you, and happy birthday.

GW at 200 Video Credits


Narrated By Kerry Washington, B.A. ’98, HON ’13

Original Music By Jessica Jarvis

Archival Images Courtesy Of Dr. Benjamin Aaron Albany Institute of History & Art Critical Past

De Luan/Alamy Stock Photo

George Washington University

Getty Images

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Collection

National Archives and Records Administration

Operation Smile

Dr. Richard Restak

Smithsonian Institution

State Bar of Texas Archives

U.S. Army

Whitemay/iStock Photo

Musical Entertainment Credits Slide

“You'll Never Walk Alone” Performed by Millicent Scarlett Adjunct Professor of Voice, Music Program  George Washington University

Professor Scarlett is performing at St. Mary’s Foggy Bottom, the first African American Episcopal community in the City of Washington, founded in 1867.

Jeffrey Kempskie, Adjunct Professor of Music George Washington University

Octet Members

Top Row (left to right)

Nathan Vasquez, GWSB ’20

Madison Kuchta, CCAS ’21

Chris Pino, ESIA/CCAS ’22

Megan Ortman, CCAS ’23   

Bottom Row (left to right)

Kathleen Borgueta, ESIA ’08

Floyd Jones, ESIA/CCAS ’15 

Grace Srinivasan, CCAS ’13

Kevin Frey, CCAS/SMPA ’15

Birthday Wishes Video #1 Credits

Christine Piorkowski Barth, GWSB B.B.A. ’88, Member, Board of Trustees

Mollie Bowman, CCAS B.A. ’16, M.A. ’17 Member, Board of Trustees

Sarah Catz, CCAS B.A. ’77

Amanda Crinks, GWSPH ’22

Natasha Dupee, CCAS B.A. ’12, Chair, GW Black Alumni Association

Carleton English, ESIA B.A. ’05

Amitai Etzioni, University Professor and Professor of International Affairs

Lynn R. Goldman, Michael and Lori Milken Dean, Milken Institute School of Public Health

Donna Hill Staton, LAW J.D. ’82, Member, Board of Trustees

Madeleine S. Jacobs, CCAS B.S. ’68, Hon. ’03 Member, Board of Trustees

Sonam Jain, GWSB ’23

Steven Knapp, President Emeritus, 2007-2017, George Washington University

Thomas J. LeBlanc, President, George Washington University

Anne LeBlanc, First Lady, George Washington University

Amy Lestition Burke, ESIA B.A. ’00, M.A. ’02

Chenfei Li, GWSB ’23

Frederic Maniraho, SON ’21

Anuj Mehrotra, Dean, School of Business

Travis Nesbitt, ESIA B.A. ’99

Reena Ninan, CCAS B.A. ’01

Grand Pacheco, GSEHD ’23

Judith Lane Rogers, Mount Vernon College A.A. ’74, Member, Board of Trustees

Shane Ryan, ESIA B.A. ’15

Devin Scarlett, ESIA M.A. ’19

Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, President Emeritus, 1988-2007, George Washington University

Avram Tucker, GWSB B.B.A. ’77, Secretary, Board of Trustees

Ellen Zane, CCAS B.A. ’73, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees

Birthday Wishes Video #2 Credits

Rana Abdel-Rahman, GWSPH ’22

Jared Abramson, Vice President, Financial Planning and Operations

W. Scott Amey, SEAS M.S. ’75

Donna Arbide, Vice President, Development and Alumni Relations

Elliot Bell-Krasner, CCAS B.A. ’08

Chaz Berry, Strength Coach, Athletics; GWSPH M.S. ’17

Dana Bradley, Vice President and Chief People Officer

Elisabeth Calderon, CCAS M.A. ’20

J. Andrew Carlander, GWSB B.B.A. ’18

Henry G. Cisneros, GWSB D.P.A. ’76, Hon. ’84

John A. Covello, CCAS B.A. ’83

Hitesh Dev, SEAS M.S. ’02

Chartitha Devabhaktuni, SEAS ’22

Ryan Devlin, Assistant Coach, Athletics

Emma DeWitt, GWSB ’22

Amy Durbin, GSEHD M.A. ’14

Danya Ellman, Assistant Athletics Director for Educational Support Services; CCAS B.A. ’06, GSEHD M.A. ’12

Ilana Feldman, Vice Dean; Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs

Yunru Feng, LAW L.L.M. ’15

Melissa Feuer, Acting Dean, College of Professional Studies

Michael Feuer, Dean, Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Anwar Gargash, CCAS B.A. ’81, M.A. ’84

Geneva Henry, Dean, Libraries and Academic Innovation

Pamela R. Jeffries, Dean, School of Nursing

Chenyu Ji, GWSB ’24

Jared Johnson, Interim Chief Technology Officer; GWSB M.B.A. ’11

Cory Jorgensen, Assistant Professor of Arabic

Cengiz Kara, GWSB M.B.A ’14

Fadima Konate, ESIA ’23

Michael J. La Place, Jr., CCAS B.A. ’85, GWSB M.B.A. ’89

Kate Lacey, Interpreter, Disability Support Services

John Lach, Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Steve LaForte, ESIA B.A. ’86, LAW J.D. ’93

Moshe Lencer, GSEHD M.A. ’20

Foscolo Liano, SEAS M.S. ’88

Jennifer Maher, CCAS B.A. ’04

John David Morris, CCAS B.A. ’90, GWSB M.P.A. '93

Beth Nolan, Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Saiansha Panangipalli, ESIA ’22

Cissy Petty, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Dylan Pyne, CCAS B.A. ’12

Jason and Stacey Rabbino, CCAS B.A. ’90 and CCAS B.A. ’91

Hailey Scatchard, ESIA ’21

Danny Schapiro, GWSPH ’22

Dan Simons, GWSB B.B.A. ’92

Robert Tucker, CCAS B.A. ’92

Kubra Unver, GSEHD ’21

Tanya Vogel, Director of Athletics, SMHS B.S. ’96, GWSPH M.S. ’99

Nicholas S. Vonortas, Professor, Economics and International Affairs

Paul Wahlbeck, Dean, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Linlin Wang, GWSB ’22

Yiding Zhao, GWSB ’22

>> Thank you for joining us. Visit for more information and updates.