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McCourt School of Public Policy: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the McCourt School of Public Policy?

Georgetown received a gift of $100 million from Frank H. McCourt Jr. (C’75) to establish the McCourt School of Public Policy, the ninth school at Georgetown University and the first new school since the 1957 establishment of the School of Business.

This historic gift – the largest single gift in the university’s history – will be used to elevate the university’s existing, top-ranked Georgetown Public Policy Institute (GPPI) into a school of public policy.

The university’s board of directors approved GPPI’s elevation to school status. A ceremony establishing the school will take place on Oct. 8.

How will Georgetown use the $100 million gift?

Most of the gift will be used for the school’s endowment, with investments in four key areas:

  • Broaden and further expand Georgetown's world-class public policy faculty.
  • Create a McCourt Fellows Program that will recruit and offer full scholarships to the country's most promising future public policymakers and scholars.
  • Establish a Massive Data Institute to help shape public policy by analyzing existing data generated by government programs as part of their efforts to better understand society, human behavior and the impact of public policy solutions. 
  • Launch the Center for Politics and Policy to expand the university’s commitment to civil and civic discourse through high-level speakers and programming that reflects Georgetown as a convener of great dialogue rooted in civil engagement.
How does the McCourt School of Public Policy fit into Georgetown’s history?

The McCourt School of Public Policy represents a defining moment for Georgetown, the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university. Georgetown’s newest school is designed to respond to the changing landscape of public policy, with an emphasis on multidisciplinary and data-driven solutions to the most pressing global challenges of the 21st century.

Other defining moments in Georgetown's history include:

  • The Walsh School of Foreign Service’s founding in 1919 as a direct response to the United States’ involvement in World War I, to contribute to global peace by preparing young diplomatic leaders. 
  • The founding of what is now the McDonough School of Business in 1957 to recognize America’s place in a growing world economy.
  • The establishment of Georgetown's need-blind, full-need admissions policy in 1978 that provides a financial aid package that meets 100 percent of each admitted student’s demonstrated need.
How does “Big Data” play a role in the new school?

Georgetown will take an innovative approach to shaping public policy by harnessing and navigating the data that new advances in technology and communications have generated in the past decade. Through the Massive Data Institute, the McCourt school will train the next generation of leaders to critically analyze, extract and use these large sets of data to better inform public policy.

Technological changes such as the data revolution and the speed of communication have rapidly influenced the landscape of public policy.

Researchers now have access to large data sets created by the federal government, in health, employment, the environment and numerous other fields. Georgetown is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of this evolving field.

How does the McCourt School build on the university’s existing strengths?

The university’s academic excellence, relationships with global leaders and its location in the nation’s capital put Georgetown in a position to disproportionately influence the public policy landscape in a positive way.

The gift will deepen the university’s extensive engagement with Washington, D.C., and maximize its current relationships.

Georgetown will be better able to meet its mission of educating leaders for a global society in keeping with its Jesuit values of social justice and of educating women and men for others.

Who is Frank McCourt?

Frank H. McCourt Jr. (C’75) is the founder, chair and CEO of McCourt Global, a diversified investment firm focused on real estate, private equity, sports and media.  From 2004 through 2012, he was the fourth owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. McCourt received his undergraduate degree in economics from Georgetown University in 1975 and is a former member of Georgetown’s board of directors. 

The McCourt family has deep Georgetown roots. Frank H. McCourt Jr. is the second generation in three generations of Georgetown alumni. Two of Frank McCourt's brothers attended Georgetown – Terence P. McCourt (C’77) and David C. McCourt (C’79) – and their father, Frank H. McCourt Sr., graduated from the university in 1939. One of Frank McCourt Jr.’s four sons, Travis (C’05), is also an alumnus.

Frank H. McCourt Jr. also served as a volunteer leader in the Third Century Campaign, Georgetown’s last capital campaign. 

What is the role of the gift in For Generations to Come: The Campaign for Georgetown?

With the $100 million gift, Georgetown joins about 30 colleges and universities that have received a gift of this amount.

The gift gives the campaign important momentum as it enters into the last third of its 10-year effort to raise $1.5 billion by July 2016. To date, it has raised more than $1.1 billion.

What is the history of public policy at Georgetown?

A public policy program began in 1980 in the government department and steadily grew. In the 1990s, the program began offering graduate degrees, and the Georgetown Public Policy Institute (GPPI) was formally created in 1996.

What is the Georgetown Public Policy Institute? 

The institute offers master’s degree programs in public policy, international development policy and policy management. It features 13 research and teaching centers.

A total of 21 core faculty members and nine full-time, non-tenure track faculty members teach at the institute, along with more than 90 affiliated faculty members, many of them drawn from high levels of the federal government.

There are approximately 450 GPPI students, many of whom are already working in the policy sector.

Where will the McCourt School of Public Policy be located?

The first home of the McCourt School is Georgetown’s historic Old North on the main campus.

As the school’s academic programs grow, Georgetown envisions a home in closer proximity to policymakers and practitioners, as part of its current master planning process.