Beneath two large portraits of George Washington dressed in his Masonic attire, the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry celebrated the recipients of the 2015-16 Scottish Rite scholarships and fellowships Feb. 9 at a luncheon at the House of the Temple in Washington, D.C.
One of the oldest endowed funds at the George Washington University, the Scottish Rite Endowment has helped hundreds of students with a Scottish Rite family relation pursue their academic passions while easing their financial burden. The Scottish Rite is one of several appendant groups of the worldwide fraternity known as Freemasonry.
The event was held in the temple’s George Washington Memorial Banquet hall, which features two large portraits of the founding father, including one depicting President Washington laying the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol in full Masonic regalia.
The relationship between GW and the Scottish Rite began in 1927, when the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry made a gift of $1 million over 10 years to the university. In addition to providing student support, the Scottish Rite endowment, now valued at $11.65 million, financed the acquisition of new hospital equipment and enabled the establishment of the GW School of Business (then named the School of Government).
During the 2015-16 academic year, 44 GW students received Scottish Rite scholarships and fellowships.
Receiving a Scottish Rite scholarship was particularly meaningful for graduate student Andrea Marshall, BA ’15, as she has three generations of Masons in her family, including her grandfather.
“[The scholarship] was the difference between having to take out a ton of loans and to be able to pay for graduate school myself,” she said. “It was really special because I felt like even though my grandfather wasn’t here, it was a way to bring him into my college experience a little bit.”
The luncheon featured remarks by Ronald Seale, sovereign grand commander of the Scottish Rite; Ret. Adm. William G. Sizemore, director of education and Americanism of the Scottish Rite; Morgan Corr, BA ’07; and interim Provost Forrest Maltzman .
Museum Curator and Internship Director Josh Poole, a graduate student in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and a 2015-16 Scottish Rite scholarship recipient, and Scottish Rite intern Stuart Pool also spoke briefly about the group’s internship program, which employs many GW students.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Seale said the Scottish Rite was “most pleased” to have the scholarship students present after the lunch.
“We are very proud of what you do and your accomplishments, and we want you to feel at home,” he said, adding that the Scottish Rite was honored to have a longstanding relationship with the university.
Dr. Maltzman thanked the Scottish Rite for its continuous support of GW and its students.
“If you think about what makes a great university great, it is really opening doors, giving people opportunities and having them explore different things,” he said. “Almost all the students in the room would not be at GW were it not for the generosity of the Scottish Rite.”
Mr. Corr, who also serves as secretary of the GW Alumni Association, highlighted the special relationship between the university and the Colonial Lodge No. 1821, a Masonic lodge founded by George Washington University alumni, including Mr. Corr.
More than 50 alumni, faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students and other members of the university community are members of the lodge. In 2014, the group pledged a portion of membership dues to the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library.
“In addition to all the ritual and moral lessons and philosophy that we teach, I believe we are good members of the university community,” said Mr. Corr, noting that the lodge encourages a culture of philanthropy and routinely hosts activities on campus.
When scholarship recipient John McAleer, a student at GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs, was a child, he enrolled in a learning center at the local Masonic Lodge in Maine to help him overcome a learning disability. His time at the lodge helped position him for academic success in high school and at GW and inspired him to become a member of the Masons during his freshman year.
“I received a lot of support from the institution as a child,” he said. “Without this scholarship, I wouldn’t be at GW and in the Navy ROTC program about to commission. This scholarship made everything possible.”
Following the luncheon, guests toured the 100-year-old temple, which was designed by award-winning architect John Russell Pope and serves as the headquarters of the southern jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite. Mr. Pope also designed the Jefferson Memorial and the West Building of the National Gallery of Art.
For more information on endowed gifts, visit campaign.gwu.edu/endowed-gifts