SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 – FROM ITS PLANT-ADORNED wall and skylights to its modern meeting spaces, the new Healey Family Student Center now open at Georgetown is the latest reflection of the university’s commitment to a vibrant student living and learning experience on campus.
The new facility in New South residence adds more than 44,000 square feet of student-centered space to the campus.
“We’re just beginning to understand the opportunities that this will open up for student groups to put on the creative programming that defines extracurricular life at Georgetown,” says Trevor Tezel (SFS’15), president of the Georgetown University Student Association of the opening. “This is an exciting day for every undergraduate at Georgetown. We now have state-of-the-art, multipurpose space that will fulfill the needs of a wide range of student groups.”
To facilitate academic and personal life, there are numerous individual and group meeting and study spaces. And later this fall, The Hilltoss, a student-operated salad and smoothie service, and a pub selling food to all and alcohol to those over 21 will officially open. There will be limited menu options in the meantime.
A home-like atmosphere in the center has been created through a “great room” with a fireplace. Couches, tables and chairs in the new facility overlook the Potomac, and there are also four music rooms and two dance studios.
“There are so many beautiful elements in the space – the interplay of natural light from the skylights, the stone finishes and the living green wall, the natural palette and the sweeping views of the Potomac River,” says Erika Cohen-Derr, assistant dean for student engagement. “But the best part is yet to come, when the space is filled with students at all hours of the day and night.”
The Healeys, a multigenerational Georgetown family, made a significant lead gift toward the center. Tom Healey (C’64) was aware of the space demands on campus from his service on the board of directors and board of regents and wanted to be part of the solution.
“We’re thrilled to see a powerful new use of this valuable real estate once again,” says Healey, who notes that New South, built in 1959, was new when he attended Georgetown.
“Walking around campus, you see a need for a space for students to be together that’s not a dorm, not a dining hall, not a pass-through to somewhere else,” said Healey’s son, Jeremy (C’95), who also knew the former space during his time at Georgetown. Jeremy Healey met his wife, Megan (C’95), during his time at the university.
“We’re deeply grateful to the Healey family for their generosity and for their continued support of our Georgetown community,” says President John J. DeGioia.
Students also played a significant role in the creation of the center, beginning in 2012.
GUSA used an endowment of student activities fees to contribute $2.2 million, which was used to expand the footprint of the center by adding the outdoor terrace.
“It was very impressive,” Cohen-Derr says. “Many students from within GUSA and other student organizations had the vision, created the proposals, advocated for their ideas, convinced their peers that this was the right thing to do with that money,” she adds, “and the student body voted overwhelmingly to support it in a campus-wide referendum.”
She also said students were involved in the creation of the new center, such as serving on the conceptual design committee, helping select the architectural firm and participating in weekly and monthly design and construction meetings.
“The new center will provide much-needed capacity for student life needs on campus,” Tezel says. “This is a good moment to take stock and feel proud about the student advocacy that led to the creation of this center.”