Congrats, GW – you’ve made it 200 years strong.
Since your establishment two centuries ago, you’ve changed nicknames, altered admissions practices and participated in tons of protests. In commemoration of this milestone, the editorial board deliberated GW’s best and worst moments. Opinions editor Hannah Thacker looks into the history of the Colonials moniker; contributing opinions editor Andrew Sugrue lays out the evolution of GW’s tuition costs; culture editor Anna Boone comments on campus expansion; managing editor Parth Kotak breaks down the racial history of GW; managing director Kiran Hoeffner-Shah talks about student activism; design editor Olivia Columbus weighs in on gender equality; and sports editor Emily Maise sheds light on the history of sports.
From each member of the editorial board, here’s a look at some of the University’s highs and lows over the years, as well as what we can learn from these events moving forward:
Hannah Thacker, opinions editor
In 1926, GW rebranded itself as the Colonials amid dissatisfaction from students over the former name, the “Hatcheteers.” Since the change, the University has pretty much altered everything around campus, from sports jerseys to store apparel. In hindsight, switching to a new nickname was good – it demonstrated that officials were listening to students. But as we reflect on GW’s history and look to prosper, we need to look into another change.
The Colonials moniker has had its fair share of criticism, and the editorial board has joined several student organizations in calls for it to be removed. The concerns are valid – the Colonials moniker is divisive and harmful to several student groups. It’s been time for the University to adopt a more respectful nickname, and officials should use this period of reflection to ditch it once and for all.
Andrew Sugrue, contributing opinions editor
GW spent its early decades as a commuter school. Low tuition and the D.C. location made it an ideal choice for students looking to split time between college and building their careers. Notable alumni like former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., were among the many up-and-coming professionals who got a quality education on the cheap. But things changed a bit in the ’90s – GW reinvented itself as the more traditional campus we know today. Tuition began to soar, with the University’s yearly cost becoming the highest in the nation at one point.
Now, GW has a reputation as a pricey institution. Its career-building bona fides remain incredibly strong – GW is the internship capital of the American higher education system, and programs like the Elliott School of International Affairs and the School of Media and Public Affairs are top-notch feeders into the professional world. But the skyrocketing tuition prices that began a few decades ago helped blaze the trail for the exorbitant cost of attendance that hallmarks American higher education today.
Anna Boone, culture editor
During his time as University president, from 1965 to 1988, Lloyd Elliot oversaw the building of three libraries: Melvin Gelman Library, Jacob Burns Law Library and Paul Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library. He was also responsible for the creation of the Academic Center, Funger Hall, The Charles E. Smith Center for Physical Education and Athletics and the Cloyd Heck Marvin Student Center.
While athletes and introverted nature fiends might disagree, the affiliation of the Mount Vernon Campus to the University, which was established in 1999, is inefficient and confusing. For some, the Vern is quiet and relaxing, and for other students it is infuriating and a waste of time. GW has a chance to invest more in the campus or nix it, especially while it’s cleared out during the pandemic.
Parth Kotak, managing editor
Over the course of its two centuries of existence, GW, a predominately…