Colonials Weekend draws thousands to Foggy Bottom

Foggy Bottom overflowed with students, parents and alumni that came together to reunite with each other and the University as part of Colonials Weekend.

A variety of events were available to participants, including auctions, guest lectures, tours of the University and a live jazz brunch.

The University has hosted Colonials Weekend since 2002, when officials decided to combine Parents Weekend and Alumni Weekend. Officials said it was important to bring past and present students to one community after the attacks of Sept. 11.

The jazz brunch, which featured live music from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Sunday morning, was popular among visitors.

Brett Kaplan, general manager of GW’s radio station, WRGW, helped organize and promote the brunch. He said nearly 500 people ate brunch throughout the day, with standing room only at around 11:30 a.m.

“I love this more than anything … it’s a great way to wrap up Colonials Weekend,” Kaplan said.

The Matt Grason Trio, a professional jazz group, performed at the brunch along with students from GW.

Other entertainment available for campus visitors included singer Patti LaBelle and comedian Dana Carvey.

Carvey, of “Saturday Night Live” fame, performed to a sold-out audience in the Smith Center Saturday night. About 4,600 students, family members and alumni attended the show. LaBelle also preformed in the Smith Center to a nearly sold-out crowd Friday night.

Eric Wiegand, executive chair of the Program Board, which organized the events, said the entire weekend went flawlessly.

“It’s a big task and for nothing to go wrong, it’s pretty much amazing,” Wiegard said. “It went perfectly.”

Wiegard said Carvey and LaBelle were chosen to perform based on University market studies and the availability of the performers.

“(LaBelle) was a bit of a diva,” Wiegard said. “We had to work a little bit harder to make sure she was happy, but when she got here she was really nice.”

Many parents said they enjoyed the performance by Carvey.

“He had a lot of fun with Trachtenberg,” GW parent Michael Hicks said, in reference to several jokes Carvey made about University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. “It was the appropriate amount of edginess.”

A Saturday morning speech by Trachtenberg and former United States ambassador and Shapiro professor Edward Gnehm was also popular among parents.

Visitors said they were pleased with the opportunity to see the GW President speak.

“Not only did we get to see our daughter, but we got to be a part of the GW experience,” said Rob Whittemore, a GW parent. “GW has a sense of inclusion which is really unique for a university.”

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