Congratulating Georgetown University on the 225Th Anniversary of Its Foundingby Former Representative John D. Dingell
Posted on 2014-01-16
in the house of representatives
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Speaker, on January 23, 1789, America's first
Bishop, the Reverend John Carroll, S.J., secured the deed to a plot of
land overlooking the Potomac River in the State of Maryland to move
forward in establishing what is today Georgetown University. That was
225 years ago this month and it occurred during the same year that
these United States were formed. That was more than coincidence, but
instead a recognition that an educated population would be critical to
the success of this new nation.
A few years earlier, Father Carroll had laid out his vision for an ``Academy at George-Town, Potowmack River, Maryland.'' As he explained it in that document, Georgetown was [[Page E85]] to be a place where ``. . . an undivided Attention may be given to the Cultivation of Virtue, and literary Improvement; and that a System of Discipline may be introduced and preserved, incompatible with Indolence and Inattention in the Professor, or with incorrigible Habits of Immorality in the Student.'' In short, his vision was for a place of serious learning which also reflected Jesuit values. Beyond that, Father Carroll made clear that he intended for the institution ``to agreeably to the liberal Principle of our Constitution, . . . be open to Students of EVERY RELIGIOUS PROFESSION.'' The emphasis was his, and, fortunately, that emphasis on diversity has been carried forward not only with regard to religious belief, but also in terms of geographic, ethnic and cultural aspects.
Indeed, when students first began studying at Georgetown in 1792, the student body included both U.S. and international students. That tradition has continued and evolved over the last two-plus centuries. Today, among the nearly 18,000 students who are enrolled at Georgetown--including undergraduate, graduate, medical and law students, students come from all fifty of the states of this country, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and from 141 countries around the globe. Clearly, Georgetown is a national and a global university today. Over recent years, it has consistently ranked among the most highly regarded post-secondary institutions in the United States.
Since its founding and the granting of the federal charter by legislation enacted by this Congress in 1815 to ``the College of Georgetown in the District of Columbia,'' the University has grown and incorporated new components. In 1850, the Georgetown Medical School was established, and, in 1870, the Georgetown University Law Center began operation. In the first decade of the twentieth century, the Georgetown University School of Dentistry was established (1901), followed shortly thereafter with the opening of the ``Georgetown Training School for Nurses.'' In 1919, the Walsh School of Foreign Service was established, followed by the Institute for Languages and Linguistics in 1949 and the McDonough School of Business in 1957. Just this year, the University's Public Policy Institute became the McCourt School of Public Policy.
Indeed, this institution, which I am proud to call my alma mater, is a University that has remained true to its founding principles while evolving to reflect the changes that have taken place in this nation and, indeed, internationally. Having begun my own studies at Georgetown nearly six decades ago and maintaining ongoing contact with the University since that time, I can attest to the University's commitment to addressing the challenges faced by our society and its consistent focus on developing students who are ready to contribute to future prosperity and positive civic leadership.
There is no doubt that Georgetown has left an indelible mark on my life and my career in public service. Indeed, the University's Mission Statement identifies Georgetown as committed to educating women and men ``to be responsible and active participants in civic life and to live generously in service to others.'' Today, fourteen members of the House of Representatives, of both political parties and wide ranging political philosophies, hold Georgetown degrees. Likewise, six current United States Senators hold Georgetown diplomas. The same can be said of governors, cabinet secretaries and a large number of members of our diplomatic corps. Though we do not all agree on many policy issues, we all have been imbued with a commitment to public service that is an intrinsic part of what a Georgetown education is all about.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study at Georgetown and to have witnessed its ongoing progress. I am proud to call the University's President, Dr. John DeGioia, a friend. He is indeed an exemplary leader for the University and in American higher education. To President DeGioia and everyone else with any tie to Georgetown, I extend hearty congratulations on this occasion and best wishes for the century ahead which will, no doubt, build on its sustaining traditions and its adaptability.