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Remarks by President John J. DeGioia

Dedication of the Rafik B. Hariri Building at the McDonough School of Business

Lohrfink Auditorium, Hariri Building
September 16, 2009


Thank you Jim for your kind introduction, and thank you all for joining us for this special afternoon. I especially want to acknowledge:

• Mr. Fahd Hariri, youngest son of Rafik Hariri;

• His Excellency Mr. Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador to the UAE;

• Fr. Leo O’Donovan, President Emeritus of Georgetown University;

• Fr. James M. Shea, the Provincial of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus;

• Dean George Daly;

• And Dr. Simone McDonough

Welcome to the Rafik B. Hariri Building—and to Lohrfink Auditorium. So many of you—Board Members, alumni, parents, friends—made this exceptional new facility possible.

As most of you are aware, this is the first major building on campus to be funded fully through the philanthropic support of our community. It’s the generosity, leadership, and vision of our community throughout the world that helps ensure that we sustain our heritage, our mission and our academic excellence.

This wonderful new building is the tangible representation of the very spirit of Georgetown…a spirit that all of you have certainly exhibited.

While our entire community is indebted to everyone who played a role in this project, there are a few individuals who deserve our special thanks:

The philanthropy of the late Bob McDonough and his family helped lay the foundation for our business school. Earlier today, with Simone McDonough, we unveiled the portrait of Bob that will hang here to ensure we honor the memory of this extraordinary son of Georgetown.

The leadership, support and dedication of two members of our Board of Directors, John J. “Hap” Fauth, and Bob Steers, who are also faithful alumni and proud Georgetown parents.

Hap, who is unable to join us, is a longtime member of the Board, and the McDonough School Board of Advisors. Class of 1967, he was one of a small group who has championed this building for more than 25 years . . . helping in countless ways to bring us to this moment.

Bob is a member of our Board of Directors and the current Chairman of the McDonough Board of Advisors. He helped guide our efforts to build this school and this building. He is a member of the Business School class of 75’ and, and he and his wife Lauren, are proud parents of three Hoyas. They are an extraordinary Georgetown family.

The generosity of the Hariri family – which has provided the financial capstone for this building.

I also wish to express my appreciation to the entire McBride family. And I’d like to thank Charles Dewey Lohrfink, and his daughter Alison Blood. Unfortunately, Dewey could not be with us today, but we are joined by Allison, who is both an alumna herself and now a Hoya mom. I think it would be difficult to find a more dedicated Hoya dad than your father, “Dewey Lohrfink”—three of his children…two grandchildren…and his late wife, Marion, all graduated from Georgetown.

His service and sustained engagement have made us a stronger community...and I thank him dearly for his dedication as we celebrate tonight in this auditorium that bears his name.


Over the course of a year, Georgetown has the opportunity to host many extraordinary leaders from throughout the world here on campus. We are also very fortunate that these events receive considerable coverage in the media.

For more than a century, the designation has always been, “Gaston Hall, Georgetown University.” Given the dynamism that characterizes the McDonough School of Business as we move into the future, we can expect that just as often the coverage in the media will read “Lohrfink Auditorium, Georgetown University.”

This facility will provide a world class home for our school of business…

…It will help us continue our transition into a truly global university…

…And it will help ensure that our students are fully prepared to become capable and compassionate citizens and leaders.

As we know, this building we dedicate today is named for Rafik Al-Hariri, philanthropist, and Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1992 to 1998, and again from 2000 until 2004. He headed five cabinets during his tenure, and is widely credited with reconstructing Beirut after its fifteen year civil war. It was a great loss to his country when he was assassinated in 2005.

This past July, his son, Saad Hariri, the Prime-Minister designate of Lebanon, offered a generous gift to the McDonough School of Business—his alma mater—in memory of his father and his work.

It’s fitting that the very symbol of the nation that Rafik Hariri represented—and loved—is the Cedar of Lebanon. It’s a tree that never grows in isolation. It embraces its environment. It provides. In other words, it gives—and it serves.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that when Bob McDonough started his business, Remedy Intelligent Staffing, he said that he wanted to “to plant a tree,” to build a company that would grow strong—and give to future generations.

I hope that this—the giving and the serving—will be true of all the students and faculty who call, and will call, the Hariri Building their home.

As businesswomen and businessmen, they have a unique opportunity – and a clear responsibility:

To enhance their local and their global communities; to build bridges of understanding between individuals and nations; and to work not only for their own development, but for the collective development of the human family.

These are women and men who will always exhibit the true spirit of Georgetown.

As I noted a few moments ago, it’s the spirit of Georgetown that all of you have exhibited that has made this building possible.

And I’ve no doubt that within its walls, it will foster and promote extraordinary scholarship and research…it will advance Georgetown’s heritage of academic excellence…and, in the spirit of a Cedar of Lebanon…and Georgetown… it will serve our community.

Anticipating all that it will contribute to the Hilltop, it’s now my great privilege to officially dedicate the Rafik B. Hariri Building of the McDonough School of Business.

To continue our ceremony, it’s our pleasure to have with us today Mr. Fahd Hariri.

Mr. Hariri is the youngest son of the late Prime Minister. He inherited his father’s love of the construction industry. He is a board member of his family’s construction company (Saudi Oger), leads its efforts in Dubai, and also oversees his family’s real estate portfolio.

I am pleased to introduce, Mr. Fahd Hariri…

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