Around 300 members of the GW community gathered in the Science and Engineering Hall Monday afternoon to celebrate the University’s scientific and artistic achievements following the inauguration of University President Thomas LeBlanc.
LeBlanc invited students faculty, staff, alumni, students and trustees to tour the building, which featured academic showcases, historic artifacts and performances on all of its eight floors.
The event was billed as a celebratory reception following LeBlanc’s formal inauguration in the Smith Center earlier in the day.
Didn’t make it to the event? Here’s what you missed:
Celebrating research and the arts
The celebration gave the University a way to show off its $275 million investment in SEH and its academic achievements in other fields.
On the ground floor, the civil engineering department ran strength tests on reinforced flooring in the High Bay lab. The machinery in the lab can be used to test up to 100 million pounds of force, according the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences website.
Robots picked up cups of water on the second floor and on the ground and third floors, guests were treated to performances by acappella and dance groups like the GW Troubadours and GW Balance.
Students milled about the building, celebrating LeBlanc’s inauguration, watching student performances and taking advantage of the free food.
Taylor Inglut, a freshman, said she decided to come to the event after hearing about the various displays and performances scheduled.
“It’s really nicely set up. I like how people are exploring the whole building, and it’s not all just on one floor,” she said.
LeBlanc’s big day
More than 80 letters congratulating LeBlanc on his inauguration from different universities and officials including D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser were put on display on tables on the first floor of SEH.
In the letter, Bower specifically mentioned LeBlanc’s goal of helping lower-income students afford an education as a welcome aspiration both for her administration and D.C. as a whole.
David LeBlanc, Thomas LeBlanc’s brother, said he and LeBlanc’s five other siblings came to D.C. for their brother’s inauguration, an occasion he described as a “mini family reunion.”
David LeBlanc, a professor of biology at Ball State University in Indiana, said he enjoyed seeing the modern design and technology at SEH, especially because his university is currently building a new science facility.
“We’re about to get a new science building, so I’m walking around here going ‘Oh, this is what they mean when they talk about open concept labs, this is what it means when you don’t have walls, but you have windows,'” David LeBlanc said.
History of GW
Historical artifacts like George Washington’s last will and testament and the Bible from Washington’s 1789 inauguration were on display on the first floor for attendees to view.
Aubre Jones, the director of recreational sports, who has been at GW for 28 years, said LeBlanc is the third president he has seen inaugurated, which he described as a “special” moment for the University.
“He seems like he’s going to be a great fit for GW,” Jones said.
Meredith Roaten contributed reporting.