GW dedicates Marvin Center archway

D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams appeared on campus to assist with the dedication of a stone archway at the Marvin Center Thursday in honor of former District Mayor Walter E. Washington.

About 50 people crowded on the sidewalk of the Marvin Center’s Eye Street entrance, now named Mayor’s Way. Washington was the first black mayor to govern a major U.S. city and can be credited for much of the city’s progress, Williams said.

“All of us, as elected leaders of this city, stand in his shoes, and we stand on the foundation that he laid,” Williams said.

Washington, a Georgia native, was appointed mayor by former President Lyndon Johnson in 1967. After the passage of home rule, a measure that allowed residents to vote for local government officials in 1973, Washington was elected mayor in 1974. He died October 27, 2003 at age 88.

The ceremony was held on what would have been Washington’s 89th birthday.

Speakers said Washington worked for D.C. residents’ rights during his 12 years as mayor.

“(He was) an effective leader, a confident advocate, a respected statesman,” said University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, who was friendly with Washington.

Trachtenberg also announced a new academic program, in which participants would receive scholarships in Washington’s name. The Walter Washington Scholarship for Police Professionals will allow students to work with Metropolitan area police officials.

The degree program for law enforcement will begin in July.

As mayor, Washington oversaw the Metropolitan Police during the civil rights movement.

“He was a good, supportive mayor and a smooth political presence,” said speaker Jerry Wilson, who served as chief of police from 1969 to 1974.

Kelly Patterson, a member of Ward 3 D.C. Council Committee, who also attended the ceremony, said the emerging program and scholarship are appropriate because a new D.C. bill calls for future police professionals to have at least two years of higher education.

Washington’s widow, Mary Burke Washington, and granddaughter, Lauren Bledsoe, also attended the event.

A reception in the Marvin Center’s Great Hall followed the dedication.

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