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Congress Members Salute Georgetown’s 225th Anniversary

Jan. 23, 2014 – Six members of Congress, five of whom are alumni, recently paid tribute to Georgetown in the Congressional Record to mark the 225th anniversary of the university's founding.

On this day in 1789 the university’s founder, Bishop John Carroll, obtained the first deed for the land on which Georgetown, the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher education in the country, was built. Carroll secured the deed to about 60 acres of land overlooking the Potomac River.

“Those of us whose lives have been shaped, at least in part, by this great institution are proud that it was founded in the same year that the United States was formed,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a 1980 Georgetown College graduate. “Indeed, the two events were intertwined, and Georgetown's mission statement today continues to reflect that bond by emphasizing that the university ‘educates women and men to be reflective lifelong learners, to be responsible and active participants in civil life and to live generously in service to others.’ ”

Remaining True

In his proposal for the new university, Carroll wrote that in keeping with “the liberal Principle of our Constitution,” the school would be open to students of every religion.

“…this institution, which I am proud to call my alma mater, is a university that has remained true to its founding principles while evolving to reflect the changes that have taken place in this nation and, indeed, internationally,” said Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), who graduated from Georgetown College in 1949 and the Law Center in 1952. “Having begun my own studies at Georgetown nearly six decades ago and maintaining ongoing contact with the university since that time, I can attest to the university's commitment to addressing the challenges faced by our society and its consistent focus on developing students who are ready to contribute to future prosperity and positive civic leadership.”

Dingell was lauded this past June for being the longest-serving member of U.S. Congress – serving in his role for 57 years and 177 days.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), who graduated from the School of Foreign Service in 1989 said he was “…heartened that Georgetown has remained true to the Roman Catholic and Jesuit values on which it was founded.”

Vigorous Dialogue

“The university prides itself as a place of vigorous dialogue, pushes students to pursue lives enriched by research and scholarship,” Mulvaney added. “I am happy to say that, since my election to Congress, I have had several opportunities to explore some of the issues we are working on in the House of Representatives with faculty who have deep and valuable knowledge on these topics.”

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), a 1966 SFS graduate who earned a law degree from Georgetown in 1969, said had he not attended Georgetown he never would have had an internship with then-Sen. Paul Douglas (D-Ill.) and wouldn’t be where he is today.

“Had I not gone to Georgetown, I never would have met some of my greatest teachers,” he said. “…I want to commend President Jack DeGioia and all of the Georgetown administrators, faculty, alumni, supporters and students for continuing to uphold Georgetown's mission of academic excellence and service to God and humankind.”

Common Humanity

While not an alumna of Georgetown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is the mother of several Georgetown graduates and her husband, Paul, is a 1962 graduate of the School of Foreign Service and chair of the SFS Board of Visitors.

“For 225 years, Georgetown University has been a national treasure that stands as an international beacon of a simple truth, and deep American faith: that out of many backgrounds and beliefs, through times of discord and peace, our common humanity binds us together; and our common hopes and dreams unite us as one,” said the former Speaker of the House.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is a 1974 graduate of Georgetown College and a 1978 School of Medicine graduate.

“The quality education and valuable training I received there has had a lasting impact on my life and helped shape my career,” Barrasso said. “I am grateful for my time at this exceptional institution and the incredible influence Georgetown has had on so many people across the United States and around the world.”

On campus, the 225th anniversary of the deed of property is being celebrated in several ways, including a birthday cake, a special dinner and other events. The Happy Birthday Georgetown Tumblr site invites those interested to post memories, photos, video greetings.

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