For a University with few local students and few alumni who plan to spend their lives here, every Commencement ushers in a bit of amnesia to Foggy Bottom. Continuing The GW Hatchet’s 95-year battle against institutional memory loss, we present the first two years of the GW story that only the class of 1999 can call its own. (See p. 26 for two years of sports developments.)
Summer, 1995: As the freshmen roll into town for their Colonial Inauguration, two controversies boil over in Foggy Bottom. The University administration is heavily criticized for having no back-up plan after Commencement is canceled because of a lightning storm. GW also comes under fire after recruiting a basketball player convicted of sexual abuse. The offer made to guard Richie Parker ultimately is rescinded.
In D.C. news, Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House is closed in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. The newly elected Congressional Republicans institute a financial control board to deal with D.C.’s financial crisis.
August: 900 freshmen move into Thurston Hall in what is called “controlled madness.” Students learn the ropes of their new white identification cards. The Hatchet urges freshmen to “venture out and learn a little about the city,” because “what the hell, there’s no cable in the dorms anyway.” The University’s 175th Anniversary celebration moves into full swing.
Alpha Epsilon Pi loses its lease at 2138 F St. (to the left of Foggy Bottom Grocery). Three years later, the building is torn down.
The Hatchet rejoices after NATO attacks Bosnian Serbs, saying that NATO and the U.S. “have finally assumed a major role in the seemingly unending war in the Balkans.”
September: GW holds its first Green University Day. The University begins placing navy blue signs, map stations and GW flags in front of campus buildings.
WETA’s plan to locate across the street from the Marvin Center fails because of Advisory Neighborhood Commission foot-dragging. The University announces its intention to build a new residence hall at 2340 H St. This hall and Strong Hall are the only residence halls actually built by the University. The University is so flushed with room that GW administrators say they will rent out some of the rooms to faculty and graduate students if housing demand decreases.
Juliana Hatfield performs at Fall Fest on the Quad.
GW remains a second-tier school, according to U.S. News and World Report. GW alumnus Colin Powell visits D.C. on a book tour amid presidential rumors.
October: Mr. Henry’s (where Pangea is now located on Pennsylvania Avenue), a notorious hang-out for underage drinkers, is raided and closes with much fanfare Oct. 14, ending a 50-year GW tradition.
Hundreds of students gather in J Street to watch the O.J. Simpson verdict.
GW is forced to dispel rumors that classes will be canceled for the Million Man March.
Henry Rollins performs at Lisner Auditorium. Ground is broken on the new residence hall.
November: Bill Cosby performs at Lisner Auditorium.
GW holds a commemoration ceremony at Lisner Hall, remembering assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin; violinist Itzhak Perlman performs.
December: The Roots opens for Coolio at the Smith Center.
January, 1996: The Blizzard of `96 hits D.C. Snowed-in workers spend nights in empty rooms at Thurston Hall.
GW announces it will open Itza Pizza in Mitchell Hall.
February: GW considers making the GW ID a debit card. GW loses its bid to host a presidential debate. Vibe writer Kevin Powell (who appeared on MTV’s first Real World) and Secretary of Labor Robert Reich speak on campus.
The Marvin Center Newsstand in the basement stops selling newspapers and magazines.
GW holds Charter Day Convocation to celebrate the University’s 175th Anniversary. Larry King and Martina Navratilova receive honorary degrees.
GW announces plans to renovate the lobby in Everglades Hall and to rename the building Fulbright Hall in honor of GW Law School graduate J. William Fulbright.
MTV’s Choose or Lose visits campus.
March: An hour into March, Damian McKenna and Dianne Gayoski are announced as having become the new SA president and executive vice president, respectively.
The all-hall housing lottery is held at J Street. Hundreds are put on a waiting list.
April: Longtime Thurston housekeeper Evelyn Herbert dies.
For the first time a Hatchet editor in chief is re-elected. Outgoing editor Jared Sher says he expects his successor Jared Sher will do “a fine job.”
Billy Joel and Jane Goodall speak at Lisner Auditorium. Secretary of Defense William Perry speaks at the Marvin Center.
President Clinton belatedly turns down an invitation to speak at Commencement. (We hear he was pretty busy at this time.)
May: Chief Justice William Rehnquist and artist Roy Lichtenstein are among six Commencement speakers.
June: GW leases out rooms in the Aston Hotel. CI attendees are treated to a week of tapings at the Marvin Center of CNN’s “Crossfire.” Guests include George Stephanopoulos.
August: President Clinton delivers a speech on international terrorism at Lisner Auditorium. President Trachtenberg purchases a hippo statue and has it placed at 21st and H streets. The University encourages students to rub its nose for luck.
September: Foggy Bottom rejoices as GW breaks into the top tier of the U.S. News rankings, coming in at 46.
GW adjunct professor Pat Choate is picked as Ross Perot’s presidential running mate.
GW gets used to the phrase, “the right answer comes from you,” as the University’s academic code is posted all over campus after yearlong preparation. GW’s academic code also appears on blue books, which are now supplied by professors, not students.
Just a week after making the U.S. News top tier, GW is named the number-two party school by the Princeton Review. Trachtenberg says this makes it “clear we know how to work and to play.”
“The Princeton Review apparently knows some things we don’t,” a Hatchet editorial proclaims.
WRGW celebrates its 10th anniversary, while WRTV first hits the airwaves.
James Carville speaks at the Marvin Center.
October: Robert Reich speaks again at the Marvin Center.
The AIDS Quilt is put on display, covering half the Mall. GW announces it will help Mount Vernon College financially.
The cornerstone of the new residence hall is laid. Harry Connick Jr. plays at Lisner Auditorium. The Counseling Center building at 718 21st St. is torn down, and the rose garden next to Lisner Auditorium expands into that space.
November: Pat Choate’s bid to become GW’s first professor-cum-U.S. vice president falls short.
Author John Grisham reads his works on campus to help kick off Hunger Awareness Week.
GW fraternities and Womyn’s Issues Now start a never-ending argument over “shoe trees.”
The University announces it will accept a larger class of 2001 and that tuition may rise quite a bit.
December: The SA releases Respectfully Yours, G. Washington, an album featuring GW musical and comedic talents.
January, 1997:Jerry Lewis and Janeane Garofalo perform on campus. Vice President Al Gore speaks about aviation safety at Lisner Auditorium.
GW hosts 3,000 guests at its Presidential Inaugural Ball in the Marvin Center.
February: GW announces tuition will rise 6.9 percent.
White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry speaks at the Marvin Center. Kuyomars “Q” Golparvar and Tony Sayegh are elected as SA president and EVP, respectively.
The housing lottery is held, and no one is placed on a waiting list.
March: The GW double-decker bus passes its one-million mile mark.
GW students boycott J Street, but the tuition hike passes anyway. GW announces the mysterious F Street Club may be taken over and turned into the president’s house by the University when the lease runs out in 2001.
April: GW sells the PEPCO building on Pennsylvania Avenue to the Internat
ional Monetary Fund to help fund the purchase of Mount Vernon College.
WRTV interviews Kadeem Hardison and Marlon Wayans on the H Street Terrace.
Tyson Trish is elected Hatchet editor in chief, promising the debut of the Hatchet’s Web site, www.gwhatchet.com.
GW abandons an old deal and partners with Universal Health Services to keep the GW Hospital running.
GW announces plans to overhaul the area next to Gelman Library, including the addition of a cafe.
Mikhail Gorbachev speaks at Lisner Auditorium and is given the President’s Medal. Carl Bernstein speaks at the Marvin Center.
The University says it might hold future Commencements at the MCI Center.
GW announces the GWorld card will be introduced in the fall.
May: Bill Cosby speaks at Commencement on the Ellipse.
Look in Monday’s Hatchet for part two: 1997-present