A Message from the Dean

Dean Paul Wahlbeck
Dean Paul Wahlbeck

Greetings to each of you, especially the newest members of our community: our Class of 2020 graduates! As the newly-appointed dean of GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, I’m proud to bring you this magazine—the first we are delivering digitally rather than in print. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about members of the Columbian College family who are stepping up and making an impact in the classroom, in the lab and in their communities.

As I reflect on the past year and plan for the future, I am struck by how different our lives are since this magazine was last published. We are experiencing a time of unprecedented anxiety, apprehension and uncertainty. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our daily lives and shaken the foundations of our economy, and the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and so many others have exposed the painful and ugly reality of systemic racism within our society.

At Columbian College, we are committed to tackling the dual challenges of delivering a safe, high-quality education while fostering honest conversations that bridge our divides and address deeply embedded biases. We pledge to listen and learn, to be willing to adjust and adapt and to be mindful of the well-being of our entire community. These are extraordinary times that call upon each of us to act in extraordinary ways. It has never been more crucial to be patient and kind to one another, to help those who are in need and to create positive change.

In this magazine, you’ll read about alumni who are changing the world with gestures big and small—from transforming global education for girls and supporting LGBTQ+ opportunities to changing lives through scholarships and serving on the front lines of the pandemic as medical personnel. You’ll journey with faculty as they observe star bursts at the edge of the universe, look deep into the mysteries of the brain and travel back in time to unlock the secrets of evolution. And you’ll watch as students join the next generation of scientists and scholars—leading ground-breaking research to resolve world conflicts, solve “unsolvable” math puzzles and impact lives through their advocacy, their creativity and their hunger for knowledge.

This magazine also looks back at the milestones we commemorated this past academic year. We marked the 10th anniversary of the Regulatory Studies Center, welcomed students into prestigious honor societies and research fellowships and celebrated the legacy of Chemistry Professor Michael King, the beloved mentor, college marshal and long-time department chair who retired from teaching in June after nearly 50 years at Columbian College.

I’m humbled by the passion, talent, achievements and generosity of our alumni, faculty, staff and students, and I look forward to a year ahead that will be one of continued strength despite the challenges before us. As always, I enjoy hearing from you and invite you to drop me a line or join one of our many virtual events. You are a valued member of our community and I hope you will remain engaged and informed in the life of the college and the university.


Paul Wahlbeck
Dean, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
ccasdean@gwu.edu | columbian.gwu.edu


Columbian College alumni, faculty and students are stepping up in significant ways. Read more about how they are changing the world one day at a time.


From understanding autism to battling climate change, read about Columbian College researchers who are making discoveries that impact our daily lives.


Learn more about members of the Columbian College community who are celebrating milestones and making a difference through their talent and philanthropy.

About the Magazine

GW ARTS & SCIENCES is published annually by the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Office of Communications and Marketing.

Denise St. Ours

John DiConsiglio

Emily Barber

Long Nguyen
April D. Rongero

Long Nguyen
William Atkins
Harrison Jones

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Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, The George Washington University