San Francisco, CA
April 30, 2011
Thank you Julie [Farr Connolly] for that kind introduction…and for your outstanding leadership of our alumni community as president of the Alumni Association. The extraordinary success of this John Carroll Weekend is testimony to your guidance and engagement, which has allowed us to come together over the last several days to celebrate the tradition and promise of Georgetown University. For all that you’ve done, and for all of the ways that you support our entire community, we are deeply grateful – thank you.
I also would like to express my thanks to Paul Pelosi, our Weekend Chair, who, along with the Planning Committee, worked tirelessly to design and implement a weekend reflective of both our identity and vision as a University community and to the extraordinary city that is his home - San Francisco.
Paul, your leadership has been felt deeply by our entire alumni community, as well as all of the faculty and friends joining us for John Carroll Weekend. It’s been a pleasure to share this weekend with you, Nancy, and so many members of your family. Thank you for your leadership.
It’s my very great pleasure to welcome everyone to our annual John Carroll Awards Banquet. As always, this is a night of celebration. Every year at this time we gather in a different city—at home or abroad—to celebrate the spirit of Georgetown. It is fitting that we gather here at the Fairmont Hotel for our celebration, as we reflect on the theme of this year’s John Carroll Weekend: “Innovation for a Growth Economy.” The Fairmont is no stranger to innovative thinking: This same building hosted the drafting of the United Nations Charter.
It is especially appropriate that we reflect on the events of the past days in this space, and pay tribute to the depth of contribution of each of our six honorees, who you will learn about at much greater lengths shortly.
By gathering in San Francisco this year, we have had the opportunity to consider the values and characteristic spirit of Georgetown within the broader context of innovation. For me, this vantage has brought into sharper focus the aspects of our tradition uniquely capable of strengthening our position at the forefront of knowledge. It is this tradition that animates us as a global university prepared to educate the next generation of leaders for the 21st century. Allow me to comment briefly on three aspects of our tradition, all present in the theme that has shaped this time we have had together here in San Francisco.
First, our theme “Innovation for a Growth Economy,” recognizes the constant pursuit of the new, the greater, the better. We must look beyond what currently exists to seek out what could exist – and what we can create for the future.
This sense of possibility – of promise – is deeply rooted in the Ignatian ideal of Magis - the “more” we constantly strive to pursue. As members of the Georgetown community, it is this hunger for being more, doing more, and serving more that impels our action and inspires our vision—that always urges us forward to engage our mission, our identity, our tradition, to seek the deepest understanding of truth, the promise of the future we are striving to create.
Magis – it is right there in those words – the motto of the Jesuits – Ad Majorem dei Gloriam – for the greater glory of God. The second work – in Latin – majorem – magis – the more.
Innovation lies at the center of this pursuit: It is a spirit that asks us – demands of us – to make a disproportionate contribution to our immediate communities, to our relationships, and to our broader world. It’s a spirit that’s been exemplified by all who made this Weekend possible—the volunteers and sponsors…and individuals like Julie Farr Connolly, Paul Pelosi, Bud Colligan, and Drew McGowan, who collaborated to develop and stage the extraordinary range of programs we enjoyed.
Second, innovation is fueled by the idea that rests at the center of Georgetown’s motto: again, the Latin, “Utraque Unum.” We are committed as a Catholic and Jesuit university to advance the pursuit of truth through the joining of faith and reason, the arts and sciences, the national and global - “Utraque Unum” - “both into one.” This deep sense of seeking a synthesis – of placing into dialogue seemingly disparate ideas and finding an interpretation that brings out the very best in ourselves and in one another.
Third, a commitment to innovation is embodied in a challenge given to us in recent years by Pope Benedict during the last General Congregation of the Jesuits, and by Fr. Adolfo Nicholas, the Superior General of the Jesuits. For all those living their lives in the context of Jesuit institutions. We are asked to “embrace new frontiers” – to live our lives out at those frontiers.
We are urged to embrace the tensions and ambiguities created by our rapidly changing global society, and to find ways – through our teaching and learning, through our commitment to community – to place ourselves at the forefront of today’s most pressing issues: interreligious understanding, the pursuit of political and economic justice, the cause of peace and environmental sustainability.
We are asked to live our lives at the frontier.
We are home to extraordinary faculty, staff, and students. We are blessed by alumni who realize the promise of our tradition in the way they lead. We honor six ofthem tonight.
Each of our honorees embodies the service, the support, and the innovative journey for “the more” pursued over the years by so many members of our Georgetown family—members like all of you.
It’s always a pleasure to gather with all of you for John Carroll Weekend. It is a special honor tonight, in San Francisco, as we seek to join the best of what Georgetown is - with the best of what Georgetown can and will be in the future.
Thank you for your presence here this evening and congratulations to our honorees.