- Intro (timeline)
President James Monroe signs the Act of Congress chartering the Columbian College. The first commencement takes place in 1824 with three students graduating. The first MA degree is conferred in 1831. Image: First college building, located at “College Hill” in what is now Columbia Heights. The Columbian College seal was drawn and adopted by the Board of Trustees in 1821.
During the Civil War, the U.S. Government commandeers the College Hill campus and buildings are used as a hospital and barracks. Despite sagging enrollment, professors continue to hold classes, often in their homes. Image: Carver Barracks on Columbian College grounds
The college becomes Columbian University and establishes the Schools of English, Greek, Latin, Modern Languages, Mathematics, Natural Science and Philosophy. Image: Columbian University, early engraving
Mable Nelson Thurston is among the first female students admitted to the university. Thurston Hall is later named in her honor. Also that year, the first PhD degrees are awarded. Image: Mable Nelson Thurston
Initially called The Columbiad, the yearbook is published. Image: Early yearbook photos
The School of Graduate Studies formally opens with 24 graduate students in 72 courses taught by 24 professors. Image: 1890s classmates
Columbian Women is organized for the purpose of advancing the interests of women and the university. Image: 1890s yearbook image
The George Washington University is established by an Act of Congress. Columbian College and the Graduate School are consolidated under the Department of Arts and Sciences. Image: Second home of the university from 1884 to 1910, at 15th and K streets NW
Theoretical physicist George Gamow, an early advocate and contributing developer of the Big Bang Theory, joins the faculty and ushers in an era of in which GW serves as a prominent center of scientific activity. Image: George Gamow
Columbian College Dean Henry G. Doyle establishes the first Phi Beta Kappa chapter in Washington, DC, at GW. Doyle leads the college through the early 1950s. Image: Classroom in the 1950s
Columbian College’s longest serving dean, Calvin D. Linton, begins his 27-year tenure, a period marked by significant expansion of college faculty and programs. Image: Physics class in Corcoran Hall
Columbian College alumna Jacqueline Kennedy, BA ’51, visits campus with her husband, President John F. Kennedy, who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws. Also in 1962, Columbian College changes its name to the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Image: President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy visit GW campus on May 3, 1961.
Phillips Hall, the unofficial home of the Columbian College, is built. The building is dedicated in 1986. Image: Phillips Hall
Clara M. Lovett becomes the first female dean of the college.
Ben Vinson III becomes Columbian College’s first African American dean.
The state-of-art Science and Engineering Hall opens on the Foggy Bottom Campus. The 500,000 square foot building is home to innovative, cross-disciplinary teaching and research spaces.
Columbian College celebrates its Bicentennial and two centuries of growth as a major research institution in the nation's capital.