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Notable Happenings from The Office of the President


 President Thanksgiving 3 2011                      

Dr. DeGioia greeted students during the Thanksgiving Dinner

November 28, 2011–Dr. DeGioia and his family, wife Theresa and son JT, shared Thanksgiving Dinner with students who stayed on campus during the holiday Nov. 23. Around 750 students attended the annual Thanksgiving Dinner at Leo O’Donovan Dinning Hall.

The President’s Thanksgiving Dinner welcomes undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff for the opportunity to come together in celebration of the holiday. Dr. DeGioia has hosted the dinner for nearly ten years.



President, reflective engagement panel

Dr. DeGioia joined faculty panelists to discuss the importance of Georgetown's commitment to public scholarship

November 17, 2011– Members of the Georgetown community celebrated the achievements of scholarship pursued through the Reflective Engagement in the Public Interest Initiative Nov. 16, an initiative founded in 2004 to strengthen Georgetown’s commitment to public scholarship.  

The celebration began with a panel discussion featuring four members of the Georgetown faculty who have led public scholarship efforts, including Susan Martin of the School of Foreign Service; Rachel Barr of the Department of Psychology; Stacey Kaltman of the Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry; and David Steinberg of the School of Foreign Service.  A dinner in Riggs Library followed the panel and provided the opportunity to look forward to discuss the future of scholarship in the public interest at Georgetown.

Over the last seven years, the Reflective Engagement Initiative has funded 32 projects that reflect Georgetown’s tradition of working for the betterment of humankind.  These projects, collaborative in nature, span across disciplines and the University’s campuses, and are focused on effecting public policy changes through specific research findings.  The projects have ranged from the crisis of pediatric obesity to formulating responsible guidelines for researchers in developing countries, to strengthening the relationship between incarcerated teen parents and their children.

Furthering Public Scholarship at Georgetown

At a panel discussion, four faculty projects leaders described their projects, discussed ways of furthering the University’s commitment to public scholarship, and began a dialogue on the current role of scholarship in the public interest within the Academy.

These faculty leaders shared their perspectives on what resources universities can bring to bear on helping to address the world’s most pressing issues, and in particular, the ways in which Georgetown might act as a model for university communities seeking to explore public scholarship more deeply.

Dr. DeGioia said, “Our tradition at Georgetown, rooted in our Catholic and Jesuit identity, compels us to ask difficult questions – and in addressing these questions, we are able to contribute more profoundly to the challenges facing our world.  It also enables us to engage others outside of our community in developing effective and substantial responses.”


Michelle Obama

First Lady, Michelle Obama, and Vice President of Student Affairs, Todd Olson, answered questions from high school students in Riggs Library

November 9, 2011–First Lady, Michelle Obama, visited Georgetown University and spoke with high school students from the District of Columbia as part of the White House Mentorship Program. Mrs. Obama officially launched the Mentorship Program for young women in November 2009, followed by President Obama launching his Mentorship Program for young men in January 2010..

The high school students spent the morning shadowing current Georgetown students by attending classes, touring campus, and eating lunch at Leo J. O’Donovan Dinning Hall.

After attending classes with Georgetown students, the mentees gathered in Riggs Library where Dr. DeGioia addressed them with words of encouragement to continue pursuing their education. Following Dr. DeGioia’s remarks, Todd Olson, Vice President of Student Affairs, moderated a question-and-answer session between the First Lady and the students.  Mrs. Obama gave the students advice about college life and shared her own experience transitioning from the South Side of Chicago to Princeton University.  The event ended with the First Lady’s words of encouragement and challenged the students to continue working hard to achieve their dreams and goals.


President, Levine

Poet Laureate, Philip Levine, discussed the impact of his experiences as a Detroit auto worker on his poetry

November 8, 2011–Poet Laureate of the United States, Philip Levine, visited Georgetown for a public reading and a book-signing of his poetry as part of the "Labor Lab series" in Gaston Hall. The series is hosted by Georgetown’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor and includes writers, scholars, activist, and artists to engage in labor issues.

Levine worked in multiple industrial jobs in Detroit’s factories as a young adult, an experience that has led him to focus much of his poetry on life as part of America's working class. He is also the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

After his poetry reading, Levine spoke about his life’s work and engaged in conversation with Dr. Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR's program, Fresh Air, and also a Georgetown critic-in-residence and lecturer in the English department.

Dr. DeGioia described Levine’s poetry as “speaking to the authentic American experience, to the way that we understand each other, and how we pursue work together,” which deeply resonates with the University's "efforts to build the kind of community that seeks always to do our very best work and to find our very best selves."

To read more about the Poet Laureate's work and visit, click here.


President, Habermas 2

Professor Hans Kung delivered the keynote paper at a Symposium on the Global Ethic, Law and Policy

November 4, 2011Renowned philosopher and theologian, Professor Hans Kung, gave a lecture this morning as part of the two-day Symposium on Global Ethic, Law and Policy hosted at Georgetown. Professor Kung’s relationship with Georgetown University is over three decades long: he first came to Georgetown in February 1977 to deliver a series of three lectures on, “Being a Christian.”

In recent years, Professor Kung’s work has focused on morality in relationship to economics and business. He has also developed a universal ethical code, or “Global Ethic,” meant to provide a common moral foundation for individuals across all faiths and beliefs.

In his introductory remarks of Professor Kung as the symposium's opening dinner, Dr. DeGioia reflected on the resonance between our work at Georgetown and the that of the conference, saying, “Guided by our commitment to deepening interfaith understanding in our world, we remain allies in the cause of building consensus and cooperation, particularly in pursuit of peace, security, resources, and opportunity; all in service of the common good.”  

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