A Trip to Mount Vernon for George Washington’s Birthday

Students, faculty, staff make annual visit to university namesake’s estate.

Steven Knapp
George Washington President Steven Knapp places a wreath at Washington's tomb. (Logan Werlinger/GW Today)
February 24, 2016

The university community celebrated George Washington’s 284th birthday Monday with a field trip to his Mount Vernon Estate and a lecture on a relatively unknown moment of his presidency.

Students, faculty and staff convened at Washington’s home and spent the afternoon exploring the grounds. They toured the mansion and museum, viewed special exhibits and participated in an annual wreath laying ceremony at Washington’s tomb, where George Washington President Steven Knapp and Jamie Bosket, M.A. ´08, vice president of guest experience at the Mount Vernon Estate, spoke briefly about Washington’s legacy.

“[Washington] really did a remarkable service to our country in two ways,” Dr. Knapp said. “One was not to become king, and the other was not to become president for life. It set the pattern for peaceful succession that has marked our country's history.”

His words hinted at the George Washington Lecture later that evening, when Kathleen (Kata) Bartoloni-Tuazon, MPhil. ’06, Ph.D. ’10, discussed the presidential title controversy of 1789—a congressional debate over whether to add a regal prologue to the title “president of the United States.”

The lecture and the trip included ties to the 2016 presidential election. Mount Vernon recently launched a campaign website for the university namesake, complete with videos, apparel and slogans for its 284-year-old “candidate.”

“Politics is in the news, of course, and Mount Vernon is having a lot of fun with that,” said Denver Brunsman, associate professor of history, as he showed off a “George Washington For President” button to students.


How a 1789 Congressional Dispute Helped Shape the Presidency

February 24, 2016
Kathleen Bartoloni-Tuazon’s discussion highlights Washington birthday celebrations on and off campus.

Alumna’s Book Charts Path to ‘Mr. President’

February 17, 2016
‘For Fear of an Elective King,’ the topic of this year’s George Washington Lecture, examines presidential title controversy of 1789.