The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area traces its roots to the 1930s, when leaders of universities in Washington, DC began exploring the possibility of collaboration across academic programs. Spurred by a thorough examination of graduate programs that was completed in May, 1963, the presidents of five universities--American University, The Catholic University of America, The George Washington University, Georgetown University, and Howard University--realized that their universities would benefit from closer formal collaborative ties. In January, 1964, they signed a "charter for the establishment of procedures for the co-ordination of graduate study and research" among their universities, launching the Joint Graduate Consortium. By September, 1964, agreement had been reached on course credit acceptance through faculty-led discussions, and a cross-registration process that was managed by the Consortium. Joint library resource agreements quickly followed. The current name of the Consortium was adopted on May 16, 1966, and Dr. Elmer West became the initial Executive Director. 

This visionary plan of collaboration remains a core value of the Consortium. Increasing from the original five to the current fourteen members listed on the right, the Consortium today has greatly exceeded the original vision. The library collaboration was so successful that it became its own Consortium, the Washington Research Library Consortium. Since 1981, the Consortium has managed the Consortium Research Fellows Program that provides students the opportunity to conduct research in federal agencies. The Consortium has also had a long record of working with aspiring college students through its Reach4Success program. Today, the Consortium is the primary voice of the university community in the Washington, DC region, and is a highly respected partner in policy and economic development. Its member universities provide world-class academic programs and lead the way in research. Its over 160,000 students continue to benefit from cross-registration opportunities and the chance to enrich their education through internships, service learning, and other active experiential learning opportunities. Founded on a recognition that universities are made stronger through collaboration that was decades ahead of its time, the Consortium continues to provide innovative approaches to education and research.  

Consortium Leadership
1966-1970         Dr. Elmer West
1970-1971           Dr. Barnaby Keeney
1972-1988          Fr. John Whalen
1989-1999          Dr. Monte P. Shepler
1999-2012          Mr. John B. Childers
2013-present     Dr. John C. Cavanaugh

CUWMA Member (Initial Year)
American University (1964)
The Catholic University of America (1964)
Gallaudet University (1971)
George Mason University (1987)
The George Washington University (1964)
Georgetown University (1964)
Howard University (1964)
Marymount University (1986)
National Defense University (2001)
National Intelligence University (2001)
Northern Virginia Community College (2016)
Prince George's Community College (2016) 
Trinity Washington University (1971)
Uniformed Services University
      of the Health Sciences (2014)
University of the District of Columbia (1977)
University of Maryland, College Park (1984)