Univ. prepares for more than 5,000 relatives, alumni at Colonials Weekend

The University is making final preparations for thousands of families and alumni to descend on the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses this weekend.

University officials said they expect about 1,000 alumni and up to 4,500 family members at this year’s Colonials Weekend, which lasts from Friday until Sunday.

Organizers of alumni events said they are planning new events in an effort to attract more attendees.

“We have expanded and innovated programming, including adding a 30-year reunion,” said Andrew Kaufteil, director of reunions.

Rodney Johnson, GW’s director of Parent Services, said he expects a similar turnout this year.

“We’ve had great turnouts in the past,” he said. “We always look forward to having parents, families and alumni on campus.”

The Office of Alumni Programs said increased fundraising and donation to the University in recent years has led to the department’s ability to beef up its Colonials Weekend programming.

“We have an extremely active Reunion committee with members who met various times over the year, conducted phone-a-thons, etc,” Kaufteil said. “Reunion fundraising efforts have also intensified, prompting major gifts from numerous participants.”

Jerry Seinfeld, the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning comedian, will headline the weekend’s festivities. Seinfeld will perform on Saturday night at 7 and 10 p.m. in the Smith Athletic Center. Both shows are sold out.

University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, in his last Colonials Weekend as president, will host a Saturday morning discussion called “For the Record: A Conversation with Stephen Joel Trachtenberg.”

Johnson, who has been at GW since Trachtenberg’s term as president began 19 years ago, said this weekend is the chance to see the various aspects of the University Trachtenberg has improved in his nearly two decades at the helm.

“It’s a little bit melancholy . (but) he’s allowed us to do some wonderful events,” Johnson said.

Five years ago, alumni and parents had separate annual events in the fall. However the events of Sept. 11 forced the alumni weekend to be cancelled in 2001, at which point the University decided to combine the weekends.

Although the University is not hosting a musical act this year, Johnson believes there are plenty events to keep families and alumni busy. Saturday night events include: a Cabaret showcase, La Fiestasa and a Kogan Plaza Dessert, Coffee and Music Reception.

“I think we have enough other things . that anyone can enjoy (on Saturday night),” Johnson said.

The University will also host five-year, 10-year, 25-year, 30-year, Law and Medical school reunions over the weekend.

The 50-year reunion of the class of 1956 will include a luncheon and a guided bus tour of the District, according to Kaufteil. The Classes of 1976, 1981, 1996 and 2001 will all hold Saturday evening reunions on campus.

On Foxhall Road, the Mount Vernon campus will be hosting its annual Oktoberfest. The event will be held on the Quad on Saturday afternoon from 2 to 5 p.m. and will feature live music and arts and crafts.

Visitors can also catch a full weekend of sports both at Foggy Bottom and the Mount Vernon campuses, the “Classes without Quizzes” lecture series and the Dean’s breakfast for their school.

-Lizzie Wozobski contributed to this report.

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