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University Traditions & Spirit

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The George Washington University Website

Office of the Senior Vice President
Student and Academic Support Services
Rice Hall Suite 403
2121 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
202-994-7210
sass@gwu.edu


The George Washington University Community is home to many unique customs, traditions, and spirit programs. 

Our School Colors  - Buff and Blue
Along with our name change to The George Washington University in 1904, the mascot and colors were also altered to commemorate George Washington. The original colors of the Columbian University were blue and orange.

These new colors, Buff and Blue, were chosen to match the uniform George Washington wore as he resigned his position as Commander In Chief of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783.

We were referred to as the "Buff and Blue" for many years. "George 1" has been GW's mascot since 1948. The name "Colonials" was voted in by the student body in 1928.

Web Poll

What is your favorite color?
Buff
Blue
Buff and Blue

Our Fight Song History
The GW Fight Song, or Hail to the Buff and Blue, is sung proudly at every GW sporting event.  As you walk around campus, you will hear the carillon chimes ring out the GW Fight Song twice a day.  

In 1924, Eugene Sweeney wrote the song entitled Buff and Blue, which served as the fight song for the GW Football Team. In the 1990's Patrick M. Jones rewrote the song so that is could be used for any GW athletic contest and entitled it The GW Fight Song.   The lyrics are:

Hail to the Buff,
Hail to the Blue,
Hail to the Buff and Blue!
All our lives we'll be proud to say,
We hail from GW!
Go Big Blue!
Oh, by George, we're happy we can say,
We're GW, here to show the way, so
Raise high the Buff!
Raise high the Blue!
Loyal to GW
You bet we're
Loyal to GW!
Fight!


Our Alma Mater and History

The lyrics to GW Alma Mater were written by Dr. George Steiner in 1970.  The words, as it is sung today are:

Hail Alma Mater,
To thy spirit guiding,
Knowledge thy closest friend
In its strength abiding,
Pledge we fidelity
Ne'er its place resigning,
Hail thee George Washington.

The best way to use the Fight Song and Alma Mater are to get involved in our Colonial Community. 

Get involved in Colonials Athletics, or find out about our Spirit Programs, including Cheerleaders, First Ladies Dance Team, and Mascots on campus.

Building Community through Campus Traditions and Legends
One of the goals of GW's President, Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, has been enriching the University's sense of tradition and of itself as a coherent community. To that end, efforts to convey GW's internal sense of unity and tradition through the tangible construction of campus walkways made of bricks inscribed with students' names and placed archways, clocks, and plaques across campus. 

In addition to these spirit traditions, GW has a unique history of legends and stories.  One common question is about the history of the Hippo, located at the corner of 21st and H Streets, NW.   

The Lineage of the Colonial Coat of Arms is also a Unique part of GW lore.  The coat of arms, presented to GW by Britain's York Herald of Arms at the 1997 commencement ceremony. The coat of arms depicts George and Martha Washington holding a shield beneath a cupola, symbolic of Mount Vernon, Washington's home. The shield itself bears three stars and two stripes, emblems from the armorial bearings of George Washington's family. Other elements, such as the brick walkway and roses, refer to more modern traditions.

The seal of The George Washington University is two inches in diameter bearing the head of George Washington, as painted by Gilbert Stuart, on a chief (azure), and an open Testament showing the following words in Greek from Chapter I, verses 1-4, of the Gospel according to St. John, on the left page: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," and, on the right page: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." Upon the background are the words Deus Nobis Fiducia, "God in our Trust."  

Information on our logo, seal, or other
graphic standards is readily available.  We also have guidance on use of our logo, with regard to our collegiate license.

To learn more about GW history, traditions, and symbols, log on to the University Archives.  

To see many of these symbols visit the Office of
Undergraduate Admissions to take a campus walking or trolley tour or select our online Guide to GW to learn about campus from the comfort of you computer.



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