Remarks by President John J. DeGioia
Introduction of U.S. Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI)
September 15, 2008
I want to welcome all of you to Gaston Hall this morning for the annual Goldman Sachs Distinguished Lecture—which is dedicated to illuminating the critical policy issues of the day.
This lecture series is made possible by the generosity of Goldman Sachs in memory of Mr. Michael P. Mortara…and it’s sponsored by the Mortara Center for International Studies—which was established by Michael, and his wife Virginia, as a center for scholarly inquiry on foreign affairs. The series has brought international scholars and leaders such as Robert Rubin and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia, to our campus to share their insights and to engage with our community.
For over 100 years, this auditorium has been one of the most important places for public discourse and discussion in Washington, and this morning we continue that tradition. Our guest today is a vocal advocate for enhancing America’s constitutional protections and America’s standing as a partner and leader in the international community. Georgetown is proud to welcome Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin.
Senator Feingold’s Senate career began in 1992, after serving ten years in the Wisconsin State Senate. Throughout his time in the U.S. Senate, he has worked on the Judiciary, Foreign Relations, Budget and Intelligence Committees, and he was the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act.
Most recently, he has challenged certain extensions to the FISA wiretapping bill; questioned secret memos and laws; condemned unwarranted laptop and cell phone searches at border-crossings; and, from the first days of the war, has opposed the conflict in Iraq.
Yet, Senator Feingold is as concerned with the defense of America’s shores as he is with the defense of America’s rule of law. He endorses expanding U.S. intelligence capabilities by evaluating and increasing the places and people we monitor across the world. And he advocates a foreign policy that enhances our national security by promoting stability, prosperity and basic human rights around the globe.
This concern for the well being of the global community—for social justice across the globe—resonates deeply with all of us at Georgetown. Similarly, so does Senator Feingold’s ability to work across party lines—to bridge the gap between red and blue—in order to synthesize differences and to search for common ground.
Among his many collaborations across the aisle, possibly the most famous is with Senator John McCain on the 2002 McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Bill—which was designed to limit the power of special interests and the wealthy to have undue access to Congress.
Senator Feingold eloquently summed up his philosophy on collaboration and cooperation when he stated that, “There is very important work to be done, and we must not let our differences keep us from doing the people’s business.” No wonder that Senator Barack Obama, upon his entry into the Senate, described his desire to “model his Senate service on Feingold’s.”
We, at Georgetown, also embrace the ideals of cooperation and collaboration, of synthesizing ideas—of building bridges. Our University’s colors represent the reunion of the North and the South after the Civil War. And our University’s very motto, “Utraque Unum,” speaks to this. Taken from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, and meaning “Both into One,” it captures the spirit of inclusiveness—of managing differences among groups and recognizing the common ground that exists between peoples.
Senator Feingold’s style of leadership—his desire to foster partnerships and understanding—is very much in keeping with the heritage of Georgetown. But more than that, he has also been a friend of valuable programming here at Georgetown.
He has worked with our Center for Intercultural Education and Development in carrying forward partnerships between technical colleges in Wisconsin and the Center to provide highly-regarded training programs that have transformed the lives of thousands of underprivileged students from Central America and the Caribbean…And I’m happy to say that among his advisors is a Georgetown alumna, Sara Margon (MSFS ’05).
Given his accomplishments and achievements…his belief in the spirit of inclusiveness…and his engagement with Georgetown, it is an honor to have him here with us this morning. I have no doubt that his ideas will be thoughtful—and thought provoking—and it is now my pleasure to introduce Senator Russ Feingold.