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Messages to the Georgetown Community

Welcome Back Message to Faculty and Staff, August 2009

August 31, 2009

Dear Colleagues:

As the summer closes and we come together once again to begin another academic year, I look forward to continuing our work to inspire and foster intellectual curiosity in our talented student body.  This week we welcome one of the most rigorously selected student bodies in our University’s history.  I write with sincere gratitude for your service and dedication to the Georgetown community, and I would like to offer an update on a range of University developments that have taken place over the summer.

This spring we were delighted and honored to name Chester L. Gillis Dean of Georgetown College.  Dean Gillis has demonstrated an innovative vision for the future of the College and a deep commitment to our undergraduates.  I am grateful for his service and for all he brings to our community.   

It is also a pleasure to welcome Carol Lancaster, Professor of Politics and Director of the Mortara Center for International Studies, to her new role as Interim Dean of the School of Foreign Service.  I know that Professor Lancaster will provide invaluable direction during this period of transition.  Provost O’Donnell and I have appointed the search committee that will lead our efforts to recruit the next Dean of the SFS.  I am deeply grateful to Angela Stent, Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies and Professor of Government for agreeing to chair the search committee for the new Dean. 

I also want to thank Jim Reardon-Anderson, who returns to the Main Campus after serving for four years as Founding Dean of the School of Foreign Service in Qatar.  Professor Reardon-Anderson will return to his position as Sun Yat Sen Professor of Chinese History in the SFS.  Mehran Kamrava, Director of the Center of International and Regional Studies, will serve as Interim Dean of the SFS-Q.

Dan Porterfield, Senior Vice President for Strategic Development, has generously accepted my request to serve in the role of Interim Athletic Director.  Dan will work with many dedicated colleagues in the Department of Athletics as we carry out the search for a permanent Athletic Director.

We lost a dear friend and colleague with the passing of Fr. Thomas King, S.J. in June.  Father King was part of our community for more than 40 years, and he was a legend on campus for the impact of his “Problem of God” class and for his remarkable 11:15 p.m. liturgies.  Campus Ministry will host a campus-wide memorial service for Father King on September 24th at 10:00 p.m.  I hope many of you can attend as we celebrate Fr. King’s life.

Last month, Georgetown announced that we have received a $20 million gift to name the new business school building in honor of the late Rafik B. Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon, a dedicated supporter of education, and a Georgetown volunteer.  The gift was made by Mr. Hariri’s son, Saad Hariri (B’92), the newly designated prime minister of Lebanon.  For the first time, our MSB community will be together under one roof – staff, faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students.  This 179,000-square-foot facility will enable the McDonough School of Business to solidify its position as one of the world’s leading business schools.

I would also like to update you on the steps we’ve taken to prepare for possible cases of the H1N1 virus and seasonal flu at Georgetown.  In August, all students received a letter reminding them of appropriate precautions to stay healthy.  The University’s emergency response team has been in touch with federal and local public health officials throughout the summer, and we have been meeting regularly to develop a series of measures aimed at reducing the risk of infection on campus and providing support for those who may become ill.  You can find more information on the measures we are taking at

I can’t tell you how excited I am at the prospect of another vibrant and productive academic year here at Georgetown.  I hope many of you are able to join me at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Tuesday, September 1st at 12:00 noon on Healy Lawn.

You have my very best wishes.


John J. DeGioia

Georgetown University37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington D.C. 20057(202) 687.0100

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