In 2008 several brothers, alumni of The George Washington University, were granted a dispensation by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia to form a new lodge for the express purpose of honoring and perpetuating the historic ties between the Craft and their alma mater. During this period of dispensation the lodge was formulated primarily by brothers of Benjamin B. French, No. 15, Federal Lodge, No. 1 and Fraternity Lodge, No. 54. On November 11, 2009 the lodge received its formal Charter and the Grand Master installed the charter officers himself.
Designed to be the first “University Lodge” in the District, the Colonial was modeled after the proud history of the “Universities Scheme Lodges” in the United Kingdom such as Apollo University Lodge, No. 357 at Oxford and Isaac Newton University Lodge, No. 859 at Cambridge. Thus, membership in The Colonial is restricted to men who have an affiliation or affinity for The George Washington University; whether as students, alumni, faculty or staff.
There is a long and rich history of Freemasonry at The George Washington University, of which The Colonial is only the latest example. The University’s namesake was himself a Mason, as have been nearly all presidents of the University – most notably, recent presidents Lloyd Elliot and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. There are many scholarships provided by Masonic charities & organizations specifically designated for GW students. The original School of Government was established by funds donated from the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite – another Masonic organization.
The lodge number, 1821, was chosen to reflect the year the University was founded. The intention of its founders was to draw from the wide range of academics and scholars both within and without the University in order to take advantage of the myriad opportunities within our Nation’s capitol. While upholding the highest ritual standards, the lodge also aims to foster the intellectual growth through lectures, debates, and panels in which the intersection of Freemasonry and the academic disciplines can best be utilized.
Despite its relative youth, The Colonial Lodge has renewed an interest in the Craft among The George Washington University community and looks forward to this relationship continuing to grow for the benefit of both institutions.