The Colonial Lodge No. 1821 Pledges Funds to Gelman

University community Freemason lodge begins a new legacy at GW.

Colonial Lodge MOU
The Colonial Lodge No. 1821 Worshipful Master Nicholas Sampogna, B.A.’10, M.A. ’12, with University Archivist Bergis Jules, University Librarian and Vice Provost for Libraries Geneva Henry and Secretary Morgan Corr, B.A.’07 at the MOU signing last month.
January 09, 2014

By Brittney Dunkins

The Colonial Lodge No. 1821, a Masonic lodge founded by George Washington University alumni, pledged a portion of membership dues to the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library at an event held last month.

The lodge signed the memorandum of understanding and wrote the commitment, a yearly contribution of 10 percent of members’ dues, into their bylaws in support of the library’s efforts to become a state-of-the-art hub of campus life with resources for collaboration, research and learning.

We're honored and humbled to receive this thoughtful and generous donation from the Colonial Lodge No. 1821,” University Librarian and Vice Provost for Libraries Geneva Henry said. “This gift will provide and promote new resources for the students, faculty and staff of the GW community and support the creation of information in diverse formats.”

“The alignment of their mission with GW Libraries' mission could not be stronger,” she said.

According to Co-Founder and Secretary Morgan Corr, B.A.’07, the commitment was a way to honor the rich history of Freemasonry at the university, which began with university namesake President George Washington.

“The whole allegory of Masonry is focused on dispensing light, with light being a metaphor for knowledge” Mr. Corr said. “There is no better place for us to support that part of our mission and the mission of the university than through the library.”

The lodge, named to reflect the founding year of the university, was granted a dispensation by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia in 2008 and chartered in 2009. It is modeled after the first university lodges begun at Oxford and Cambridge and grounded in the traditional credos of brotherly love, relief and truth.

The Colonial Lodge No. 1821 counts former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg among its founding members and has expanded to include 53 alumni, faculty and staff, undergraduate and graduate students and other members of the university community.

Membership to the Colonial Lodge No. 1821 is considered on a rolling basis.

In addition to meeting six times per year and planning social events, the lodge also works on at least four community service projects each year.

“We do the majority of our community service projects in Foggy Bottom,” Mr. Corr said. “In 2013, we decided we wanted to re-engage with the university community, and sponsor more service projects, host alumni events and make a formal donation to the university.” 

The lodge hopes to participate in the university’s celebration of George Washington’s birthday and continue hosting successful alumni events. It is also negotiating the process of having its archives stored in Gelman Library, Mr. Corr said.

“There is great symmetry with the library given the Masonic history at GW and our commitment to spreading knowledge,” Mr. Corr said. “We are excited to continue this relationship.”