GW Today’s Top 15 Stories of the Semester

The visit to the George Washington University of President Obama and Stephen Colbert leads the list of Fall 2014's most popular stories.

Fall 2014
GW Today’s Top 15 Stories from Fall Semester 2014
December 17, 2014

Fall 2014 was an exciting time for George Washington University, bringing to campus huge new partnerships, high-profile visitors, nation-sweeping social movements and major strides in research. For a look back on what got Colonials' attention this semester, George Washington Today staff assembled some of the fall's most popular stories:

1. President Obama Comes to GW for ‘Colbert Report’
The top event of the year—and GW Today’s most-read story of all time—was the announcement of President Barack Obama visiting GW for a “Colbert Report” segment taped at Lisner Auditorium. He discussed immigration, Affordable Care Act and the Keystone pipeline in front of an enthusiastic crowd of GW community members.

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2. GW Graduates Seek—and Win—another Term in Elective Office
Alumni stories landed in several of the top spots of GW Today’s most read stories in the semester, from their involvement in politics to their connections to both teams in the 2014 World Series and their push to bring the Olympics to Washington.

3. Chef José Andrés’ New Restaurant Is Coming to the George Washington University
Mr. Andrés, last year’s Commencement speaker, will open his first fast-casual restaurant, Beefsteak, in January 2015—another sign of the food revolution happening on campus, like the Columbian College’s service-learning course on the biology behind healthy eating.

4. Class of 2018 Commemorates ‘First Night’ at Historic Mount Vernon Estate
Nearly 2,000 members of GW’s class of 2018 received an awe-inspiring welcome to their academic careers at the annual First Night celebration, held for the first time at the historic home of university namesake George Washington.

5. Students with Depression Fight to Stay on ‘The Path’
Students Tim Rabolt and Jenny Curt shared stories of managing addiction and mental health just weeks after students hosted “Breaking the Silence” activities. GW’s combined wellness hub is set to open in January 2015.

6. Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Law Needs ‘Statement of Women’s Full Citizenship’
The Supreme Court justice, who discussed women’s rights at Lisner Auditorium during the Sixth Annual Capital City Constitution Day in September, was one of a number of exciting guests this semester, including Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, author Stephen King and scientist Bill Nye.


7. Colonials Weekend Spotlights GW University Pride
This year’s celebration of school spirit counted an appearance from comedian Seth Meyers among its highlights, as well as the dedication of Tucker Field at Barcroft Park and the announcement of a major gift to the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

8. GW Researcher Receives $2 Million NIH New Innovator Award
Lijie Grace Zhang, an assistant professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, was recognized for her work in the development of 3-D bioprinting techniques to treat critical-sized bone defects. Other faculty improving lives through biomedical research include Zhenyu Li, who has created a smartphone-controlled medical testing device, and Igor Efimov, who was hired to serve as inaugural chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

9. Missouri Grand Jury Declines to Indict Police Officer in Fatal Shooting
Law school Professor Roger Fairfax discussed the legal ramifications of one of the year’s longest-running stories—a topic that has become a focus for student activists across the university and country.

10. Opening Date Set for George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum
The new museum on the Foggy Bottom Campus will premiere its first exhibitions on March 21, 2015.

11. University Welcomes the Corcoran School
The historic agreement brought a host of new students, faculty and staff to GW and opened up worlds of artistic possibility.

12. GW Celebrates Alumni Weekend
The fall semester event welcoming back GW graduates featured the dedication of Shenkman Hall and the honoring of six alumni at the 78th annual Alumni Achievement Awards.

13. Science and Engineering Hall Opening Scheduled for Early 2015
The 500,000-square-foot modern research hub, designed and built by architecture firm Ballinger and Clark Construction, will welcome a diverse crop of researchers and faculty in early 2015. 

14. University Embarks on $1 Billion Campaign
The June launch of “Making History: The Campaign for GW” had subsequent events in New York, Philadelphia and South Florida that have energized the GW community.

15. ‘Be More Than a Bystander’
The White House’s “It’s On Us” campaign against sexual assault sparked an on-campus movement that included videos, discussions and a visit from Tina Tchen, chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama.