Recognizing Georgetown Universityby Senator John Barrasso
Posted on 2014-01-14
BARRASSO. Mr. President, today I wish to recognize the 225th
anniversary of the founding of Georgetown University. As a proud member
of the Georgetown community, it is an honor to help commemorate the
school's 225 years of excellence. This milestone marks a time of
celebration for all of Georgetown's students, faculty, board of
governors, and alumni.
As the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher education in the United States, Georgetown has a long and distinguished history. On January 23, 1789, Bishop John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States, secured the deed to around 60 acres of land overlooking the Potomac River. This hilltop grew to become the campus of Georgetown University. Three years later, in 1791, the first students arrived on campus. At the age of 13, William Gaston was the first student at the university. He went on to serve North Carolina as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and authored a bill granting a Federal charter to ``the College of Georgetown in the District of Columbia'' in 1815. President James Madison signed that legislation into law on March 1, 1815.
While buildings on Georgetown's campus were temporarily used as a hospital after the Second Battle of Bull Run, it wasn't until 1851 that Georgetown University Medical School, which I attended in the 1970s, was established. It was the first Catholic medical school in our Nation. The medical school first [[Page S324]] opened its doors in a vacant warehouse and an adjacent building at 12th and F Streets, NW, before later moving to the university's main campus in 1930.
I received both a bachelor of science degree in biology and a doctor of medicine degree from this great university. The quality education and valuable training I received there has had a lasting impact on my life and helped shape my career. I am grateful for my time at this exceptional institution and the incredible influence Georgetown has had on so many people across the United States and around the world.
Over the years, there have been numerous Members of Congress who were students at Georgetown University. Today, the U.S. Senate is fortunate to have five other Members who hold degrees from Georgetown University. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska received her bachelor's degree from Georgetown. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, and Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii all received their law degrees from Georgetown Law. The Senate majority whip, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, holds both his undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown.
As shown by the geographic range of States represented by these Senators, students come from all over the Nation to attend this wonderful institution of higher education. Georgetown's student body today includes students from all 50 States as well as from 141 countries around the globe. Georgetown is indeed a national as well as a global university.
The university's mission statement makes the point that ``the university was founded on the principle that serious and sustained discourse among people of different faiths, cultures, and beliefs promotes intellectual, ethical and spiritual understanding.'' It is clear that this founding principle continues to energize Georgetown University 225 years later.
I look forward to all of the great contributions Georgetown will continue to provide in the years ahead through its many areas of academic and research excellence: medicine, law, international affairs, business, public service, and the diverse fields within the arts and sciences.
I ask my colleagues to join me in celebrating this significant milestone and wishing Georgetown University continued success in achieving its mission and goals in the future.