From First Lady Michelle Obama’s surprise visit to the Smith Center to GW’s merger with the Corcoran, here are some of the biggest stories you might have missed over the summer.
GW launches $1 billion fundraising campaign
The University kicked off its $1 billion fundraising campaign in June, announcing that it had already pulled in $525 million during the first three years of a “quiet phase.” Momentum is building for the campaign that will help the University expand its financial aid pool and hire dozens of new professors: GW raised $191.3 million last year while growing its donor pool by 15 percent.
High-profile visitors appear on campus
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in front of a sold-out Lisner Auditorium audience about her memoir “Hard Choices” in July. She discussed the Middle East, described some of her visits to more than 100 countries and hinted at a possible presidential bid.
In mid-July, First Lady Michelle Obama watched a Washington Kastles tennis match at the Smith Center.
Former Secretary of State and GW alumnus Colin Powell came to Lisner to talk about leadership and government the following month. He reflected on his early childhood in the Bronx and his time serving in the former President George W. Bush’s administration.
GW’s debt pile grows
The University confirmed in July that its debt will reach $1.7 billion, an all-time high. GW will used new debt to lock in lower interest rates and cover campus construction projects.
Though two credit rating agencies that grade colleges’ financial health kept their top-tier marks for GW, experts have cautioned against taking on more debt.
Columbian College to absorb the Corcoran
GW’s merger with the Corcoran College of Art + Design moved forward this week after a D.C. Superior Court judge ruled that the Corcoran could make changes to its founding charter. Corcoran students will maintain their fall semester schedules but may eventually need to take general education requirements, like math and science courses, to graduate. GW will spend about $25 million on the initial phase of renovations to the Corcoran’s building on 17th Street, though University President Steven Knapp said in July the costs could reach $80 million.
D.C.’s transportation infrastructure grows
The first phase of Metro’s long-awaited Silver Line opened to the public July 26. The new line passes through Foggy Bottom, stretching from Reston, Va. to Largo Town Center. It allows GW to cut down shuttle services to the Virginia Science and Technology Campus by about 10 miles.
Meanwhile, the District’s new streetcar system, which will stretch about 2.5 miles from Union Station to Benning Road in Southeast D.C. is in the final stages of construction, and operator training began this month. The D.C. Department of Transportation hopes to build a 37-mile system of streetcars across the city by 2030.
GW students clinch title as most politically active again
The University held onto its crown as the “most politically active” college in the country for the second year in a row. In the Princeton Review’s annual list, which it published in early August, neighboring schools Georgetown and American universities both fell six spots in the same category to No. 9 and No. 10, respectively. GW also earned recognition for dorm quality, city life and study abroad programs.
University appoints two new deans
Marvin Center to house student health offices
The bookstore is preparing for a major shuffle as GW makes space in the Marvin Center for a new student health hub that will be home to the University Counseling Center, Student Health Service and the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education. GW-branded merchandise will move to a store on Pennsylvania Avenue, while textbooks will remain in the Marvin Center.
Fraternities receive sanctions for conduct violations
Social fraternities Kappa Alpha and Pi Kappa Phi landed on the University’s list of student organizations facing sanctions this summer for reports of hazing and underage drinking. They joined a the list that already includes 15 other Greek-letter organizations.