A Colonial Celebration

Wolf Blitzer shares the stage with Jimmy Fallon.
October 18, 2010

Three days of lectures, performances, musical acts and more marked this year’s Colonials Weekend.

Sunny skies welcomed the thousands of family and friends who descended on GW’s Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses for Colonials Weekend Oct. 15-17.

President Steven Knapp called this year’s Colonials Weekend an “action-packed” celebration. “There’s a lot going on but that’s what it’s like at this university every day, and parents and friends are getting a taste of what it’s like,” said Dr. Knapp.

The weekend kicked off with the university’s biggest show of GW spirit, Colonials Invasion, in the Charles E. Smith Center. The event, which launches the men’s and women’s basketball seasons, included live music, giveaways, sports-related entertainment and performances by GW’s Cheer and First Ladies Dance Teams, the GW Colonial Brass and mascots, as well as a special effect-filled introduction of the GW men’s and women’s basketball teams. In his remarks on the basketball court, Dr. Knapp encouraged students to keep the GW spirit alive throughout the year.

On Oct. 16, Steven V. Roberts, GW’s Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs, delivered the keynote address at the Colonials Weekend Welcome in Lisner Auditorium, which also included remarks from Dr. Knapp, President of the Student Association Jason Lifton and President of the GW Alumni Association Laura Taddeucci Downs, B.A. ’92, M.A. ’95.

That afternoon, families and local residents carved pumpkins, participated in arts and crafts and sampled fall desserts at the Mount Vernon Campus’ annual Octoberfest, the popular outdoor festival organized by the Mount Vernon Programming Council. Visitors also enjoyed a housewarming for nearby West Hall, GW’s new mixed-use residence hall and campus life center, and a dedication of Pelham Commons, the building’s new dining hall, named in honor of former Mount Vernon College President Peter Pelham.

On GW’s Foggy Bottom Campus, the GW community joined members of Engine Company 23 to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary with an open house, tours of the station and a barbecue.

Two hilarious performances by comedian Jimmy Fallon in the Charles E. Smith Center closed the day’s activities. The host of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “Saturday Night Live” alumnus sang original songs, did impressions of other famous comedians, and even brought guest CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on stage for a tune. Mr. Fallon’s friend, comedian Wayne Federman, had audiences laughing in his opening performances with stories about his childhood and songs about growing up.

Before his shows, Mr. Fallon told GW Today that he was “psyched” to be at GW and will have to “rub the hippo before he leaves.”

“I got a free sweatshirt and just learned that this [color] is buff,” he said. “Not gold, not yellow, it’s called buff. I got to call up the people on JCrew and tell them they’re missing out on their color scheme.”

Live music at the annual Jazz Brunch in GW’s Marvin Center began Sunday's events, which included the interactive session “CSI Mount Vernon Campus” at the Acheson Science Center on the Mount Vernon Campus, GW volleyball and men’s soccer games.

In the afternoon, more than 3,500 GW community members enjoyed a variety of local food and craft vendors, musical performances and free health screenings at the Eighth Annual Foggy Bottom/West End Neighborhood Block Party on the Eye Street Mall.

“Thanks to the hard work of our neighbors, students and staff, this was our biggest and best block party yet!” says Michael Akin, assistant vice president for government, international and community relations. “The weather was perfect and we were pleased to be joined by councilmembers Vincent Gray and Phil Mendelson as well as the world-renowned Ballou High School marching band.”

Other weekend highlights included the Deans’ Breakfasts, the 17th Parents’ Association Annual Meeting, Office of Parent Services Silent Auction, “Classes From GW's Best” and a Cabaret Showcase.

“I see Colonials Weekend as a chance for parents to understand that we are glad they are here, we are glad they came back to visit, and we want them to know that students are having a positive experience at George Washington University,” says Executive Director of Parent Services Rodney L. Johnson. “And it’s never too early to make sure you put in your hotel reservations for Colonials Weekend 2011.”

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