Last week’s four-day inauguration cost about $250,000, more than half a million dollars less than prior estimates, University officials said.
The price reduction was largely due to an effort to reduce unnecessary spending and merge prior events into the inauguration, said Vice President for Communications Mike Freedman. He said when the inauguration was being planned last spring, the proposed high cost was about $850,000.
“Now we feel that we have come out of this with a much more streamlined and cost-effective inaugural,” Freedman said.
One of the most significant costs with big events is printing fees for banners and invitations, he said. So during the planning process, they reduced hard-copy invitations by 80 percent, substituting them with online invites.
The University also sought to merge other annual events into inauguration, such as the donors’ ball and the Foggy Bottom Cleanup. Because of Knapp’s celebration, there will be no President’s Night this winter, an event that costs about $100,000 annually.
“(Knapp) did say, you’ve got to do this in a cost effective way,” Freedman said. “And he also left it to us to do in a responsible way.”
The artifacts of George Washington – such as his Bible, sheep and will – were brought to campus without charge.
GW’s annual Commencement costs about three times as much, reigning in at about $750,000. Freedman said that even $250,000 is a lot of money, but it is a special event in the history of the school.
“The University can’t do this without spending money. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “I look at what we’re doing this week as an investment.”