The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies is a graduate degree that aims to provide both depth and breadth of study in the liberal arts. It is by nature an interdisciplinary program pulling together coursework from a number of disciplines such as behavioral sciences, natural sciences, social sciences designed to train students to think critically and contextually about their own fields of discipline as well a diverse range of issues. Similar graduate degrees are known as Master of Liberal Arts, Master of Liberal Studies, Artium Liberalium Magister, Magister Artium Liberalium, Doctor of Liberal Studies. Characteristics that distinguish these degrees include curricular flexibility and interdisciplinary synthesis via a master's thesis or capstone project. Like other master's degree programs, students enroll in a master's in liberal studies only after receiving a bachelor's degree; as of 2005, there were over universities offering liberal arts master's programs. Admissions criteria vary by institution.
Postgraduate liberal studies originated at Wesleyan University in 1953. Administrators sought to'break graduate education free' from what they perceived as'the bonds of overspecialization' that were prevalent at colleges and universities throughout the United States and Europe. Aimed at professors and teachers, postgraduate liberal studies gained popularity and became a cause célèbre during the progressive education movements of the 1960s. Another early program began at Johns Hopkins University in 1962 and gained national recognition; as now, Liberal Studies programs tend to draw courses and instructors from across a university's postgraduate curriculum. Students devise unique courses of study to suit their individual interests and scholarly curiosity. Liberal arts graduate programs are designed to counter the trend in modern education toward specialization and toward a career focus, offering instead the opportunity to explore ideas, to pursue knowledge for the sake of knowledge, learning for the joy of the intellectual challenge.
The Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs supports the work of the many member universities and colleges by holding a national conference each year and by publishing Confluence: The Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies, which features writing by faculty and students of the member institutions. Arizona State University: Tempe, AZ California State University Northridge: Northridge, CA Clayton State University, Morrow, GA Dallas Baptist University: Dallas, TX Dartmouth College: Hanover, NH DePaul University: Chicago, IL Dominican University of California: San Rafael, CA Duke University: Durham, NC East Tennessee State University: Johnson City, TN Georgetown University: Washington, DC Harvard Extension School: Cambridge, MA Henderson State University: Arkadelphia, AR Hollins University: Roanoke, VA Indiana University South Bend: South Bend, IN Indiana University Southeast: New Albany, IN Johns Hopkins University: Baltimore, MD Lake Forest College: Lake Forest, IL Loyola University in Maryland: Baltimore, MD Marshall University Graduate College: South Charleston, WV Midwestern State University: Wichita Falls, TX Mount St. Mary's University: Los Angeles, CA North Carolina State University: Raleigh, NC North Central College: Naperville, IL Northwestern University: Evanston, IL Oakland University: Rochester, MI Reed College: Portland, OR Rice University: Houston, TX Rollins College: Winter Park, FL Rutgers University: Camden, NJ San Diego State University: San Diego, CA Simon Fraser University: Vancouver, BC Skidmore College: Saratoga Springs, NY Southern Methodist University: Dallas, TX Spring Hill College: Mobile, AL St. John’s College-Santa Fe: Santa Fe, NM St. Norbert College: De Pere, WI Stanford University: Stanford, CA SUNY Brockport: Brockport, NY SUNY Empire State College: East Syracuse, NY Temple University: Philadelphia, PA Texas Christian University: Fort Worth, TX Tulane University: New Orleans, LA University of Central Florida: Orlando, FL University of Central Oklahoma: Edmond, OK University of Delaware: Newark, DE University of Detroit Mercy: Detroit, MI University of Houston – Clear Lake: Houston, TX University of Memphis: Memphis, TN University of Miami: Coral Gables, FL University of North Carolina-Asheville: Asheville, NC University of North Carolina-Charlotte: Charlotte, NC University of North Carolina-Greensboro: Greensboro, NC University of North Carolina-Wilmington: Willmington, NC University of Oklahoma: Norman, OK University of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, PA University of Richmond: Richmond, VA University of St. Thomas: Houston, TX University of Toledo: Toledo, OH University of Washington Tacoma: Tacoma, WA Valparaiso University: Valparaiso, IN Vanderbilt University: Nashville, TN Villanova University: Villanova, PA Wake Forest University: Winston-Salem, NC Wesleyan University: Middletown, CT Western New Mexico University, Silver City, NM Winthrop University: Rock Hill, SC In 2005, Georgetown University became the world's first university to offer a Doctor of Liberal Studies.
The Doctorate in Liberal Studies is offered through The School of Continuing Studies and the Graduate School at Georgetown. Along with Georgetown's DLS program, one graduate school, at Drew University offers a Doctor of Letters, the only such degree not offered in the honorary fashion in the U. S; the other two North American programs, at Emory University in Atlanta, GA and Simon Fraser University: Vancouver, BC, are Doctor of Philosophy degrees in interdisciplinary studies
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur and philanthropist Johns Hopkins, his $7 million bequest —of which half financed the establishment of Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States up to that time. Daniel Coit Gilman, inaugurated as the institution's first president on February 22, 1876, led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U. S. by integrating teaching and research. Adopting the concept of a graduate school from Germany's ancient Heidelberg University, Johns Hopkins University is considered the first research university in the United States. Over the course of several decades, the university has led all U. S. universities in annual research and development expenditures. In fiscal year 2016, Johns Hopkins spent nearly $2.5 billion on research. Johns Hopkins is organized into 10 divisions on campuses in Maryland and Washington, D.
C. with international centers in Italy and Singapore. The two undergraduate divisions, the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering, are located on the Homewood campus in Baltimore's Charles Village neighborhood; the medical school, the nursing school, the Bloomberg School of Public Health are located on the Medical Institutions campus in East Baltimore. The university consists of the Peabody Institute, the Applied Physics Laboratory, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the School of Education, the Carey Business School, various other facilities. Johns Hopkins was a founding member of the American Association of Universities. Johns Hopkins University is cited as among the world's top universities; the university is ranked 10th among undergraduate programs at National Universities in U. S. News & World Report latest rankings, 10th among global universities by U. S. News & World Report in its 2019 rankings, as well as 12th globally in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
Over the course of more than 140 years, 37 Nobel laureates and 1 Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Johns Hopkins. Founded in 1883, the Blue Jays men's lacrosse team has captured 44 national titles and joined the Big Ten Conference as an affiliate member in 2014. On his death in 1873, Johns Hopkins, a Quaker entrepreneur and childless bachelor, bequeathed $7 million to fund a hospital and university in Baltimore, Maryland. At that time this fortune, generated from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States; the first name of philanthropist Johns Hopkins is the surname of his great-grandmother, Margaret Johns, who married Gerard Hopkins. They named their son Johns Hopkins. Samuel named one of his sons for his father and that son would become the university's benefactor. Milton Eisenhower, a former university president, once spoke at a convention in Pittsburgh where the Master of Ceremonies introduced him as "President of John Hopkins."
Eisenhower retorted that he was "glad to be here in Pittburgh." The original board opted for an novel university model dedicated to the discovery of knowledge at an advanced level, extending that of contemporary Germany. Building on the Humboldtian model of higher education, the German education model of Wilhelm von Humboldt, it became dedicated to research. Johns Hopkins thereby became the model of the modern research university in the United States, its success shifted higher education in the United States from a focus on teaching revealed and/or applied knowledge to the scientific discovery of new knowledge. The trustees worked alongside four notable university presidents – Charles W. Eliot of Harvard, Andrew D. White of Cornell, Noah Porter of Yale College and James B. Angell of Michigan, they each vouched for Daniel Coit Gilman to lead the new University and he became the university's first president. Gilman, a Yale-educated scholar, had been serving as president of the University of California prior to this appointment.
In preparation for the university's founding, Gilman visited University of Freiburg and other German universities. Gilman launched what many at the time considered an audacious and unprecedented academic experiment to merge teaching and research, he dismissed the idea that the two were mutually exclusive: "The best teachers are those who are free and willing to make original researches in the library and the laboratory," he stated. To implement his plan, Gilman recruited internationally known luminaries such as the mathematician James Joseph Sylvester. Gilman focused on the expansion of graduate support of faculty research; the new university fused advanced scholarship with such professional schools as medicine and engineering. Hopkins became the national trendsetter in doctoral programs and the host for numerous scholarly journals and associations; the Johns Hopkins University Press, founded in 1878, is the oldest American university press in continuous operation. With the completion of Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1889 and the medical school in 1893, the university's research-focused mode of instruction soon began attracting world-renowned faculty members who would become major figures in the emerging field of acad
Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy
The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy is a non-profit organisation, based in Florida, that seeks to improve literacy in the United States through programs directed towards preschool children and parental literacy. During Barbara Bush's time as Second Lady, while her husband was Vice President of the United States, she took an interest in literacy issues, prompted by her son Neil's diagnosis with dyslexia, she subsequently began working with several different literacy organizations and spent much time researching and learning about the factors that contributed to illiteracy—she believed homelessness was connected to illiteracy. In 1984 she wrote a children's book about her family told from the point of view of her dog C. Fred entitled C. Fred's Story, donated all proceeds to literacy charities; when her husband became President her most public cause was family literacy. She called it "the most important issue we have". Barbara Bush stated her dedication to eliminating the generational cycle of illiteracy in America by supporting programs where parents and their young children are able to learn together.
During the early 1980s, statistics showed that 35 million adults in the United States could not read above the eighth-grade level and that 23 million were not able to read beyond a fourth-grade level. She appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss the situation and spoke on Mrs. Bush's Story Time, a national radio program that stressed the importance of reading aloud to children. Barbara Bush became involved with literacy organizations, served on literacy committees and chaired reading organizations, she helped develop the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. The foundation formed in 1989 with a stated aim of getting low-income parents reading, creating positive examples for their children; the foundation aimed to help young parents pass their high school general educational development tests via literacy programs. It was first announced at a luncheon in March 1989. Barbara Bush was to be the foundation's honorary chairman, Joan Abrahamson the chairman; some funding came from a book, credited to the Bushes' dog Millie but ghostwritten by Barbara Bush, Millie's Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush.
The book reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller nonfiction list. The book earned $1.1 Million of royalties to July 1991. All of the after-tax royalties were donated to the foundation. Barbara Bush chaired the foundation until 2012. From her children Jeb Bush and Doro Bush Koch served as co-chairs. Jeb Bush resigned in 2015, leaving Doro Bush Koch as the honorary chairman, though Barbara Bush remained active in the foundation; as of 2014 the foundation ran 1500 literacy programs spread across in all US states. The foundation's stated mission is "to make literacy a core value in every home in America", it is registered as a public charitable organization under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code. In 2016, the organization announced a new partnership with Talk With Me Baby, a Georgia-based organization that the Foundation helped launch nationwide; the partnership was announced at a White House Summit on Behavioral Science Insights, along with the development of an online toolkit. The Foundation aimed for the toolkit to be used by any care providers, from parents to nurses to teachers, to engage children and work with them in the first three years of their lives to develop language and social skills.
In February 2017, the Foundation announced the creation of Voices for Literacy. Four other organizations will join with the Foundation with a commitment to improve the lives of both children and adults through literacy; the other organizations have varied backgrounds and areas of expertise, allowing Voices for Literacy to reach and connect with many different groups. The other organizations are: the Coalition on Adult Basic Education, Digital Promise, Pi Beta Phi, Reading is Fundamental; the groups began their efforts with the "Leave Your Mark for Literacy" campaign, which involved an interactive online map tool. Official website
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library that serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States; the Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C.. The Library's functions are overseen by the Librarian of Congress, its buildings are maintained by the Architect of the Capitol; the Library of Congress has claimed to be the largest library in the world. Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages."The Library of Congress moved to Washington in 1800 after sitting for 11 years in the temporary national capitals in New York City and Philadelphia. The small Congressional Library was housed in the United States Capitol for most of the 19th century until the early 1890s. Most of the original collection had been destroyed by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812, the library sought to restore its collection in 1815.
They bought Thomas Jefferson's entire personal collection of 6,487 books. After a period of slow growth, another fire struck the Library in its Capitol chambers in 1851, again destroying a large amount of the collection, including many of Jefferson's books. After the American Civil War, the Library of Congress grew in both size and importance, which sparked a campaign to purchase replacement copies for volumes, burned; the Library received the right of transference of all copyrighted works to deposit two copies of books, maps and diagrams printed in the United States. It began to build its collections, its development culminated between 1888 and 1894 with the construction of a separate, extensive library building across the street from the Capitol; the Library's primary mission is to research inquiries made by members of Congress, carried out through the Congressional Research Service. The Library is open to the public, although only high-ranking government officials and Library employees may check out books and materials.
James Madison is credited with the idea of creating a congressional library, first making such a proposition in 1783. The Library of Congress was subsequently established April 24, 1800 when President John Adams signed an act of Congress providing for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington. Part of the legislation appropriated $5,000 "for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress... and for fitting up a suitable apartment for containing them." Books were ordered from London, the collection consisted of 740 books and three maps which were housed in the new United States Capitol. President Thomas Jefferson played an important role in establishing the structure of the Library of Congress. On January 26, 1802, he signed a bill that allowed the president to appoint the Librarian of Congress and establishing a Joint Committee on the Library to regulate and oversee it; the new law extended borrowing privileges to the President and Vice President.
The invading British army burned Washington in August 1814 during the War of 1812 and destroyed the Library of Congress and its collection of 3,000 volumes. These volumes had been left in the Senate wing of the Capitol. One of the few congressional volumes to survive was a government account book of receipts and expenditures for 1810, it was taken as a souvenir by British Admiral George Cockburn, whose family returned it to the United States government in 1940. Within a month, Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his personal library as a replacement. Congress accepted his offer in January 1815; some members of the House of Representatives opposed the outright purchase, including New Hampshire Representative Daniel Webster who wanted to return "all books of an atheistical and immoral tendency." Jefferson had spent 50 years accumulating a wide variety of books in several languages and on subjects such as philosophy, law, architecture, natural sciences, studies of classical Greece and Rome, modern inventions, hot air balloons, submarines, fossils and meteorology.
He had collected books on topics not viewed as part of a legislative library, such as cookbooks. However, he believed, he remarked: I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection. Jefferson's collection was unique in that it was the working collection of a scholar, not a gentleman's collection for display. With the addition of his collection, the Library of Congress was transformed from a specialist's library to a more general one, his original collection was organized into a scheme based on Francis Bacon's organization of knowledge. He grouped his books into Memory and Imagination, which broke down into 44 more subdivisions; the Library followed Jefferson's organization scheme until the late 19th century, when librarian Herbert Putnam began work on a more flexible Library of Congress Classification structure that now applies to more than 138 million items. In 1851, a fire destroyed two thirds of the Jefferson collection, with only 2,000 books remaining.
By 2008, the Librarians of Congress had found replacements for all but 300 of the works that were in Jefferson's original collection. On December 22, 1851 the largest fire in the Library's history destroyed 35,000 books, about two–thi
Librarian of Congress
The Librarian of Congress is the head of the Library of Congress, appointed by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the United States Senate, for a term of ten years. The Librarian of Congress appoints the U. S. Poet Laureate and awards the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song; the Librarian of Congress has broad responsibilities around copyright, extending to electronic resources and fair use provisions outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The Librarian determines whether particular works are subject to DMCA prohibitions regarding technological access protection. On July 13, 2016, the US Senate confirmed Carla Hayden as the librarian by a vote of 74–18 and she was sworn in on September 14, 2016. On April 24, 1800, the 6th United States Congress passed an appropriations bill signed by President John Adams which created the Library of Congress; this law was to serve a "further provision for the removal and accommodation of the Government of the United States."
The fifth section of the act created the Library of Congress and designated some of its early capabilities. The act provided for "the acquisition of books for congressional use, a suitable place in the Capitol in which to house them, a joint committee to make rules for their selection and circulation," as well as an appropriation of $5,000 for the new library. In 1802, two years after the creation of the Library, President Thomas Jefferson approved a Congressional Act that created the Office of the Librarian and granted the President power of appointment over the new office. Shortly thereafter, Jefferson appointed his former campaign manager John J. Beckley to serve as the first Librarian of Congress, it was not until 1897. This same law gave the Librarian the sole power for making the institution's rules and appointing the Library's staff. From its creation until 2015, the post of the Librarian was not subject to term limits and allowed incumbents to maintain a lifetime appointment once confirmed.
Most Librarians of Congress have served until retirement. There were only 13 Librarians of Congress in the more than two centuries from 1802 to 2015, the Library "enjoyed a continuity of atmosphere and of policy, rare in national institutions." In 2015, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law the "Librarian of Congress Succession Modernization Act of 2015" which put a 10-year term limit on the position with an option for reappointment. The legislation was seen as a critique of Librarian James H. Billington's unwillingness to hire a permanent Chief Information Officer to manage and update the Library's Information Technology. There are no regulations delineating qualifications for the office holder; the position of Librarian of Congress has been held by candidates of different backgrounds and talents, throughout its history. Politicians, authors, poets and one professional librarian have served as the Librarian of Congress. However, at various times there have been proposals for requirements for the position.
In 1945, Carl Vitz president of the American Library Association, wrote a letter to the President of the United States regarding the position of Librarian of Congress, which had become vacant. Vitz felt it necessary to recommend potential librarians. Vitz stated the position "requires a top-flight administrator, a statesman-like leader in the world of knowledge, an expert in bringing together the materials of scholarship and organizing them for use—in short, a distinguished librarian." In 1989, Congressman Major Owens introduced a bill to set stricter requirements for who may be appointed. He argued. List of librarians Parliamentary Librarian of Canada "Hiring: The First Librarian of Congress for the Internet Age", The Atlantic, June 2015 "Many Choices for Obama in Replacing Billington at Library of Congress", New York Times, June 2015 Alan S. Inouye, "Who Should Be the Next Librarian of Congress? Wrong Question!", Roll Call Jessamyn West, "The Next Librarian of Congress", The Message – via Medium Andrew Albanese, "Could the Nomination of the Next Librarian of Congress Spark a Political Battle?", Publishers Weekly
George Washington University
The George Washington University is a private research university in Washington, D. C, it was chartered in 1821 by an act of the United States Congress. The university is organized into 14 colleges and schools, including the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Elliott School of International Affairs, the GW School of Business, the School of Media and Public Affairs, the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, the GW Law School and the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. George Washington's main Foggy Bottom Campus is located in the heart of Washington, D. C. with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank located on campus and the White House and the U. S. Department of State within blocks of campus. GWU hosts numerous research centers and institutes, including the National Security Archive and the Institute for International Economic Policy. GWU has two satellite campuses: the Mount Vernon Campus, located in D. C.'s the Virginia Science and Technology Campus.
It is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. George Washington, the first President of the United States, advocated the establishment of a national university in the U. S. capital in his first State of the Union address in 1790 and continued to promote this idea throughout his career and until his death. In his will, Washington left shares in the Potomac Company to endow the university. However, due to the company's financial difficulties, funds were raised independently. On 9 February 1821, the university was founded by an Act of Congress, making it one of only five universities in the United States with a Congressional charter. George Washington offers degree programs in seventy-one disciplines, enrolling an average of 11,000 undergraduate and 15,500 post-graduate students from more than 130 countries; the Princeton Review ranked GWU 1st for Top Universities for Internship Opportunities. As of 2015, George Washington had over 1,100 active alumni in the U. S. Foreign Service, the nation's diplomatic corps.
GWU is ranked by The Princeton Review in the top "Most Politically Active" Schools. George Washington is home to extensive student life programs, as well as a strong Greek culture, over 450 other student organizations; the school's athletic teams, the George Washington Colonials, play in the Atlantic 10 Conference. GW is known for the numerous prominent events it holds yearly, from hosting U. S. presidential debates and academic symposiums to the being the host of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund's Annual Meetings in DC, since 2013. George Washington alumni and affiliates include numerous prominent politicians, including the current U. S. Attorney General, heads of state and government, CEOs of major corporations, Nobel laureates, MacArthur fellows, Olympic athletes, Academy Award and Golden Globe winners and Time 100 notables. Historical records have shown that the first president of the United States, President George Washington, had made indications to Congress that he aspired to have a university established in the capital of the United States.
He included the subject in his last will and testament. Baptist missionary and leading minister Luther Rice raised funds to purchase a site in Washington, D. C. for a college to educate citizens from throughout the young nation. A large building was constructed on College Hill, now known as Meridian Hill, on February 9, 1821, President James Monroe approved the congressional charter creating the non-denominational Columbian College; the first commencement in 1824 was considered an important event for the young city of Washington, D. C. In attendance were President Monroe, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, Marquis de Lafayette and other dignitaries; the George Washington University, like much of Washington, D. C. traces many of its origins back to the Freemasons. The Bible that the President of the George Washington University use to swear an oath on upon inauguration is the Bible of Freemason George Washington. Freemasonry symbols are prominently displayed throughout the campus including the foundation stones of many of the university buildings.
During the Civil War, most students left to join the Confederacy and the college's buildings were used as a hospital and barracks. Walt Whitman was among many of the volunteers to work on the campus. Following the war, in 1873, Columbian College became the Columbian University and moved to an urban downtown location centered on 15th and H streets, NW. In 1904, Columbian University changed its name to the George Washington University in an agreement with the George Washington Memorial Association to build a campus building in honor of the first U. S. President. Neither the university nor the association were able to raise enough funds for the proposed building near the National Mall; the university moved its principal operations to the D. C. neighborhood of Foggy Bottom in 1912. Many of the Colleges of the George Washington University stand out for their history; the Law School is the oldest law school in the District of Columbia. The School of Medicine and Health Sciences is the 11th oldest medical school in the nation.
The Columbian College was founded in 1821, is the oldest unit of the university. The Elliott School of International Affairs was formalized in 1898; the majority of the present infrastructure and financial stability at GW is due to the tenures of GW Presidents Cloyd Heck Marvin, Lloyd Hartman Elliott and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. In the 1930s, the university was a major center for theoretical physics; the cosmologist George Gamow produced critica