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About The Columbian Women

“From the beginning, Columbian Women was concerned about the woman who would have to drop out of college because of her father’s death, and throughout the years they have been dedicated to the advancement of women through higher education – the main process by which women will achieve equality.”


-Dr. Ruth Osborn (former Columbian Women President)

The Columbian Women of The George Washington University was organized in 1894 when a group of 13 female students of Columbian College (the precursor institution to the current The George Washington University) assisted a classmate who needed financial help after the death of her father.


Today The Columbian Women continue the tradition by providing nearly $100,000 a year to women students from all disciplines enrolled at The George Washington University. While affiliated with The George Washington University, The Columbian Women is a separate 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations to The Columbian Women are tax deductible.



  • Diversity

  • Inclusion

  • Mentorship

  • Service Leadership

  • Community Service




The Columbian Women welcomes all GWU alumnae.



The future vision of The Columbian Women is to engage current and future generations of GWU alumnae to continue the legacy created by "the original 13" to ensure future GWU women students will receive financial support to earn educational degrees and achieve success in their professional careers.



In addition to providing scholarships, The Columbian Women have undertaken other projects on behalf of women.  Through the organization's efforts, an Advisor of Women was appointed in 1906 at The George Washington University.  The following year, The Columbian Women furnished and assisted in the administration of the "Women's Building."  It also made contributions to the Women's Recreation Association and awards to outstanding women in senior classes.


Shortly after its founding, The Colubmian Women undertook projects to assist the University.  In 1895, $3,000 was pledged for the University Hospital.  In 1904, and again in 1949, The Columbian Women furnished rooms at the hospital.  In 1901, the organization purchased books for the library.  In recent years, contributions were made to the Gelman Library and the Cloyd Heck Marvin Center, with rooms in both buildings names for The Columbian Women.



In the past, The Columbian Women's concern for women's issues have gone beyond GWU. The Columbian Women provided leadership in founding the "College Women's Club of Washington" in 1907, which later merged with The Washington Branch of the American Association of University Women.


In cooperation with women's organizations throughout the United States, The Columbian Women made a contribution in 1921 toward the purchase of one gram of radium of Madame Marie Currie's research.


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