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George Washington Statue

The George Washington University was founded in 1821 in response to a vision that the nation's foremost founder spelled out in his last will and testament. He dreamed of a university that would educate the citizen leaders of the new nation he had done so much to create.

Today the university that bears his name is different in many ways from what George Washington could have imagined. He could not have imagined the sheer size of its enrollment, now 26,000 students, including women as well as men from all fifty states and more than 100 countries. Nor could he have envisioned a university with multiple campuses and 14 schools; with more than 120 departments and 95 centers and institutes; with a half-million-square foot science and engineering building; with a school of public health, located on a circle that bears his name; or with a museum housing a world-class collection of textiles and the history of the great capital city he had only begun to plan.

But what George Washington could have imagined and we hope would recognize is the university’s culture of service and our ongoing commitment to the education of citizen leaders. In those respects, we have remained faithful to our founding vision for nearly two hundred years.

As we prepare for the beginning of the university’s third century in 2021, five short years from now, we must look at the path we have already traveled and what will enable us to navigate the complex and rapidly changing landscape of higher education.

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