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Notable Happenings from The Office of the President

Best Year Ever for Georgetown Angel Tree Book Drive!

Volunteers Help Prepare Books for Delivery

Georgetown Angel Tree volunteers help prepare book donations for delivery

December 22, 2010– The Annual Georgetown Angel Tree Book Drive collected 6,366 books this year, benefiting thirteen organizations and bringing the gift of reading to hundreds of children and young adults in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

The numbers this year reflect the tremendous contribution of numerous members of the Georgetown University community.  In addition to book donations, fifty-eight volunteers donated their time to assist with the various aspects of preparing the books for delivery, such as attaching Angel Tree book plates to each book, sorting all the books by age group, and sorting and packing the books by beneficiary. 

Of particular note is one group of Georgetown students that surprised Georgetown Angel Tree organizers with their generosity: Members of the Women's Ultimate Frisbee Team planned and hosted a charity ultimate frisbee tournament on December 6 to raise money and collect books for the Drive.  Despite the cold weather, sixteen local teams participated in their tournament on the National Mall fields.  In lieu of a tournament fee, the teams donated books and money to support Georgetown Angel Tree. 

As Ultimate Team Captain, Georgetown senior Abby Hildreth, summarized, "We were grateful for these teams' generous support and were happy to be able to pass on their generosity to the Georgetown Angel Tree Book Drive."

Thank you to all who participated in making the Georgetown Angel Tree such a great success!

Marking Advent: A Holiday Tradition

Advent Mass 2010

Fr. Kevin O'Brian, S.J. begins the Advent Celebration in Dahlgren Quad

December 15, 2010–Members of the Georgetown community gathered this Sunday for the annual Advent Mass, a Georgetown tradition marked by a candle light vigil, carols, and the celebration of Gaudete Sunday.

The event takes place each year in Gaston Hall and is attended by hundreds of Hoyas.  It serves as a chance to take a deep breath before the beginning of final exams and to reflect on the joy and togetherness of the holiday season.  It also is an excellent reminder, as Dr. DeGioia noted in his remarks, of the responsibilities we have to ourselves and our community, whether this means "loving one another, even our enemies"; "presupposing the best in one another" or seeking the 'magis': those ways in which we can serve more, love more and care more."

The Mass was followed by a reception in Riggs Library, where students, faculty members, staff and friends of the University gathered to share good food and good cheer.

To read Dr. DeGioia's full Advent Mass remarks, visit this link.

Celebrating the Holiday Spirit with the Washington, D.C. Community

The Washington, DC Community Gathers in Riggs Library

Dr. DeGioia addresses members of the D.C. community as the Holy Trinity School Choir prepares to sing

December 13, 2010– Georgetown University welcomed members of the Washington, D.C. community to Riggs Library on Thursday to celebrate the holiday season and listen to carols sung by the Holy Trinity School Choir.

The event included hundreds of community leaders, greeted warmly by Linda Greenan and Charles DeSantis of Georgetown University’s Office of External Relations, as well as Dr. and Mrs. DeGioia. D.C. Council Chair Pro Tempore and Ward 2 representative, Jack Evans, also offered holiday remarks.

As the Holy Trinity choir began to serenade the room with “Up on the Rooftop” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Dr. DeGioia reflected on the strong bonds between the city and this University that have allowed both to thrive:

‘This historic neighborhood and our university have been inextricably linked since the time our nation was founded. Since then, the strength of our community partnerships and the support of our neighbors have allowed our university to flourish in so many ways. We know that our success—our ability to fulfill our mission—owes much to this community that we all call ‘home.’” 

To read more about the gathering in The Georgetown Dish, visit this link.

A Memorable End to the Semester

Dr. DeGioia, Mayor-Elect Gray and Fr. Kemp

Mayor-elect Vincent Gray, Fr. Ray Kemp and Dr. DeGioia exchange greetings before class

December 10, 2010– Chairman of the Washington, D.C. City Council and Mayor-elect, Vincent Gray, visited Georgetown on the last day of classes yesterday to teach Fr. Ray Kemp, S.J.'s class, "The Church and the Poor."

The class explores the rich and varied tradition of Christian responses, over the centuries, to the challenge of poverty as both an evangelical virtue and a sinful social structure.  The course has placed a special focus on current Church involvement in the struggle for social justice and development at local, national, and international levels.

During the class, Mayor-elect Gray, a Roman Catholic, shared his own experiences in addressing these issues based on his work in the District.

Dr. DeGioia also had the opportunity to visit briefly with the Mayor-elect, congratulating him on his November victory and conveying Georgetown's pride in playing an important role in the Washington, D.C. community.

Celebrating Another Successful Rangila

Dr DeGioia Celebrates with the Leaders of Rangila

Leaders of the South Asian Society join with Dr. DeGioia to reflect on another great year for Rangila

December 8, 2010– Leaders of the South Asian Society joined with Dr. DeGioia to celebrate the great success of Rangila 2010 this week, reflecting on the hard work and community collaboration that made the event possible.

Rangila is an annual performance that captures the combined spirit of South Asian culture and the Georgetown University community.  Rangila 2010 included more than 400 dancers, 28 choreographers and hundreds of audience members who, together, raised thousands of dollars for the Asha Kendra Hope Center in Jaipur, India.

Dr. DeGioia attends the performance each year; and this year, his son, J.T. and wife, Theresa, also joined in the fun.  At the reception, Dr. DeGioia shared anecdotes of J.T.'s developing interest in South Asian dance and his deep appreciation for the efforts of the South Asian Society's leadership.

"We are proud to have students as talented, as creative, and as compassionate as you are," he said, "Students who are willing to share their culture and their gifts... and students who truly represent what it means to be a member of the Georgetown family."

Kicking Off the Holiday Season

Dr. DeGioia Lights Christmas Tree

Dr. DeGioia's son, J.T., and his friends push the button that lights the university's Christmas tree.

December 6, 2010– Hundreds of members of the Georgetown community gathered on Friday evening for the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, concluding a week full of events to kick off the holiday season.

The week included a menorah lighting led by the Jewish Chaplaincy and the Jewish Student Association (JSA) to celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah and a Kwanzaa dinner sponsored by the Black Student Alliance (BSA).

In his remarks at the Tree Lighting Ceremony, Dr. DeGioia spoke of the Holiday spirit that unites the Georgetown community: "We gather together—many nationalities, many faiths, many traditions—to celebrate the Holiday season as a Georgetown family. We gather to experience the joy of holiday caroling and the warmth of each other’s company. We gather to give thanks for the many blessings we have been given, including the blessing of our Georgetown family."

View a slide show of the evening's events here.    

Watch Dr. DeGioia and the Holy Trinity School choir get into the Christmas spirit on Fox 5 News here.
Scroll to 3:55 for the clip.

Supporting the DREAM Act

December 3, 2010– Dr. DeGioia had the chance to sit down with WAMU radio this morning to offer support for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

Hear his commentary here.

Read more about Georgetown University's support of the DREAM Act and other national issues here.

Building "Bridges of Understanding" Between the U.S. and the Arab World

Dr. DeGioia receives the Building Bridges Award

Dr. DeGioia joins leaders of Bridges of Understanding Annual Conference to receive the Building Bridges Award

December 2, 2010– Dr. DeGioia joined leaders dedicated to building increased understanding between the American people and people of the Arab world today for the fourth annual Bridges of Understanding Annual Conference: Knowledge Through Dialogue. During the conference, Dr. DeGioia was honored with the third annual Building Bridges award, in recognition of “his emphasis on the crucial areas of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue at Georgetown, and for his tireless efforts on the international stage."

Bridges of Understanding is a non-profit, non-political organization devoted to creating spheres of influence among future opinion leaders, inspiring them to affect positive change and to support initiatives that encourage better understanding, dialogue and appreciation between people of different cultures. The organization focuses particularly on increased dialogue between the U.S. and the Arab world. 

The Annual Conference, co-hosted by the Meridian International Center, also included conversations on “New Trends in Peacebuilding and Diplomacy,” with Dr. Sarah Hillyer of Georgetown University and Nina Easton, Washington Bureau Chief of Fortune;  “Islam in the U.S. Today,” featuring Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Movement and Chris Matthews of MSNBC; and “The State of Affairs in the Middle East” with HE Dr. Marwan Muashar of the Carnegie Endowment for Middle East Peace and James Bennet, Editor-in-Chief of The Atlantic.  Remarks also were given by Meridian International Center President, Ambassador Stuart Holliday; Bridges of Understanding President and Co-founder, Ambassador Karim Kawar; and Bridges of Understanding Co-founders Luma Kawar and Kathryn Hubbard, among others.

In his keynote address, Dr. DeGioia remarked, “Regardless of where we call home, independent of our nationality or ethnicity, we share a responsibility for one another by virtue of our common humanity…. It is an understanding of [mutual] responsibility that is at the heart of the purpose of Bridges of Understanding.”

Read Dr. DeGioia's full remarks here and listen to the audio here.

Visit the Bridges of Understanding website here.

The Holiday Season Begins with the Angel Tree Book Drive

Angel Tree 2010

An Angel Tree donation point in the Georgetown University bookstore

November 30, 2010– Thousands of children and young adults throughout the Washington, D.C., area will enjoy the gift of reading this holiday season through the efforts of Georgetown's Angel Tree book drive, an initiative supported by the Office of the President and numerous members of the campus community.

The book drive began nearly a decade ago as a small program encouraging Hoyas to donate books for distribution to local schools and community centers.  It has grown tremendously since its beginnings; and in 2009, more than 3,500 books were delivered to 14 venues, including area schools and places where children and young adults receive tutoring and mentoring.

"It has been so heartwarming to see the true generosity of the Georgetown community through Angel Tree from the very start," said Theresa Miller DeGioia, honorary chair of the project, a Georgetown alumna and Dr. DeGioia's wife. "We hope that the program will make a greater impact each year, so that more and more children can be exposed to wonderful, classic books."

To read more about the Angel Tree Book Drive, read this recent Georgetown University news story and visit the Angel Tree website.

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