Recognizing Georgetown Universityby Senator Lisa Murkowski
Posted on 2014-01-14
MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I rise today, as an alumna of
Georgetown University, to recognize the university's 225th anniversary.
On January 23, 1789, the first deed was granted to then Bishop John
Carroll for land on which Georgetown was built. Those of us whose lives
have been shaped, at least in part, by this great institution are proud
that it was founded in the same year that the United States was formed.
Indeed, the two events were intertwined, and Georgetown's mission
statement today continues to reflect that bond by emphasizing that the
university ``educates women and men to be reflective lifelong learners,
to be responsible and active participants in civil life and to live
generously in service to others.''
Over the course of more than two centuries, Georgetown, its students,
and alumni have contributed to our country's rich history. The
Astronomical Observatory on campus was used to calculate the longitude
and latitude of the District of Columbia in 1846. This building stands
today and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Buildings on the Georgetown campus were used as hospitals for wounded
troops during the Civil War, which nearly closed the university because
so many students left to fight, for both the Union and Confederate
States. All told, more than 1,000 Georgetown students and alumni
served. In 1876, the students selected the colors blue--Union--and
gray--Confederate--as the university's official colors to celebrate the
end of the war. These colors remain a source of school pride today.
Father Patrick Healy, born a slave, became the first African American to head a major U.S. university, serving as Georgetown's president from 1873 to 1882. With the outbreak of World War I, Georgetown formed a 500-member Cadet Corps in the spring of 1917. In 1918, the U.S. War Department replaced it with the Student Army Training Corps, which became the Reserve Officers Training Corps as we know it today following the end of the war. More than 2,000 Georgetown men served. During World War II, Georgetown was selected by the War Department to house the Army Specialized Training Program. Over 75-percent of students enrolled during the 1943-1944 academic year were military servicemen.
Since Georgetown awarded its first two bachelor's degrees in 1817, the university has educated numerous leaders in business, government, and the nonprofit sector. A President, Cabinet Secretaries, Ambassadors, Governors, and Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have studied on ``the Hilltop'' and left to make important contributions to our country and beyond. Likewise, Georgetown alumni have gone on to lead school systems, universities, and businesses, as well as international and charitable organizations that strive to address challenges facing the United States and the world.
A school with an enrollment of 40 students in its first year has now swelled to over 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students, more than 5,000 faculty and staff, and countless alumni. In addition to undergraduate degrees, Georgetown University now includes the McDonough School of Business, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Law Center, School of Medicine, School of Continuing Studies, School of Nursing and Health Studies, and McCourt School of Public Policy.
I was privileged to have the opportunity to earn a Georgetown degree, and my experience there has played a significant role in the career of public service I have been blessed to live. It is a place that gave me opportunities to be exposed to public service here in the Nation's Capital as a student and impressed on me a set of values reflecting Jesuit tradition that continue to shape my life and work.
Georgetown's history has in many ways tracked the Nation's history. It is a pleasure to recognize the tremendous impact it has had over the last 225 years and to look forward to future centuries of contributions not only to this country but to the world.