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Campaign Launches with Dynamic Issue-Driven Conversations

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October 28, 2011 – "Think About It: An Afternoon of Ideas,” part of a weekend celebration of the university’s new capital campaign, brought a host of high-profile panelists to campus today to talk about Arab Spring, health disparities, innovation and other topics.

For Generations to Come: The Campaign for Georgetown seeks to raise $1.5 billion for scholarships, faculty recruitment, research and innovation and other priorities to ensure that the university continues its long tradition of excellence and impact in the world.

Such luminaries as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Hoya basketball legend Alonzo Mourning (C’92) and former lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend joined Georgetown experts on six panels throughout the afternoon.

Service and Action

Opening the session was seven-time NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning (C’92), now chair of the Alonzo Mourning Charities, Inc.

The retired NBA great said service, preparation and relationship have kept him balanced in life.

“We cannot grow by ourselves at all,” he said to an audience of Georgetown alumni and others. “This university has been stimulating growth since 1789 … and it all starts with giving, it all starts with you.”

Profit and Play

After Mourning’s talk, President John J. DeGioia moderated a conversation with Men’s Basketball Head Coach John Thompson III and former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue (C’62), chair of Georgetown’s board of directors.

Tagliabue and Thompson discussed whether student-athletes should be paid.

“I don’t like the idea of paying athletes,” Thompson said. “From a logistical standpoint, should the football player at Alabama get paid the same as the diver at Yale?”

Cures for All

A third panel included Howard Federoff, executive vice president of health sciences, and Lucile Adams-Campbell, associate director of minority health and disparities.

The two talked about the evolution and innovation of health care delivery.

“We have to really emphasize the importance of early detection and screening,” said Adams-Campbell. “We cannot afford to screen everyone, but it’s important to recognize what can be done.”

A New World Order

Albright, a Georgetown professor, and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki al-Faisal gave their personal reflections on the Arab Spring.

“Arab awakening – I would rather call it the Arab troubles,” al-Faisal said at the panel moderated by government professor Anthony Arend. “I think it is a misnomer. These troubles actually came from within us.”

Albright said, “I might call it opportunity rather than troubles. That might be the difference in how we see it.”

The State of Capitalism

E.J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist and Georgetown Public Policy Institute professor, moderated a fifth panel with Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (C’93, L’97), Michael Ferguson (G’95) and Kennedy Townsend.

The topic turned to politics quickly – Ferguson is a former Republican congressman from New Jersey and Kennedy Townsend is a former lieutenant governor of Maryland.

“If ever there were a time for a candidate in the middle, it might be the 2012 election,” said Herseth Sandlin, a former Democratic congresswoman.


Ted Leonsis (C’77), a member of the Georgetown board of directors, gave the final speech of the afternoon on innovation.

“At our heart, we are innovators,” said the founder and chair of Monumental Sports and Entertainment. “… I think we will now start to apply the same kind of innovation to education. We all want Georgetown to be the exemplar of this kind of innovation.”

“Why can’t we as a society be more like Georgetown?” he asked. “I do think that the Jesuit ideal of development of the whole person really holds true.”

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