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New Community Engagement Office to Serve District, University

October 11, 2012 – Georgetown has created a new Office of Community Engagement to cultivate strategic growth and partnerships beneficial to both the university and the District of Columbia.

The new office, to be led by Associate Vice President for Community Engagement and Strategic Initiatives Lauralyn Beattie Lee, is structured to support Georgetown’s commitments and engagement with the District of Columbia as the university looks to strengthen and expand its presence in the nation’s capital.

Supporting Plans for Growth

In June, the university announced “Georgetown Downtown,” a new home for more than 1,100 students in the School of Continuing Studies, located near the vibrant Chinatown neighborhood.

Georgetown has also articulated its intention to actively seek a next “100 acres,” a reference to the university’s goal to further expand its services into other developing parts of the city.

“This office will coordinate the university’s engagement with the District of Columbia in a manner consistent with the institutional priorities emerging through the university’s master planning effort,” Lee explains.

Numerous Responsibilities

Located within the Office of Public Affairs, the office also will:

  • Support, build and maintain internal and external community collaborations, including the university’s Ward 7 Initiative, and serve as a liaison for other community partnerships.
  • Ensure effective internal and external communication about Georgetown’s activities in the District of Columbia.
  • Coordinate the university’s leadership and engagement in the local higher education sector.
  • Represent the university as a primary point of contact for city agencies, neighborhood leadership and community organizations.
  • Support the university’s current and future community service and civic engagement initiatives.

“Lauralyn Lee [has been] a trusted member of our university community for over a decade,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia . “She will bring the same level of skill and commitment to this new role that she has brought to her work in the counsel’s office and her work over the last year in the Office of Public Affairs.”

Calling Washington Home

Lee, who has lived in the District since 1999, and in nearby Burleith for the past two years, said she knows firsthand the importance of having the university as a good neighbor and the services it provides to the D.C. area.

“I’m married to a D.C. native, and our children go to school here in the city, so we’re not going anywhere,” she said. “It’s a gratifying opportunity to represent Georgetown in the community that we call home.”

Smart Growth

The new Office of Community Engagement will focus on ways the university can grow while remaining consistent with smart growth strategies and sustainability principles important to the city, Lee said.

“That means developing our Main Campus as a residential campus, maintaining and growing a modern, efficient medical center and being able to grow academic programs,” she said.

With the recent retirement of Linda Greenan, Georgetown’s longtime associate vice president of external relations, the new office has also absorbed the traditional functions of the university’s external relations work and staff.

Outreach Efforts

Georgetown is continuing to engage the community in new, comprehensive ways that tie the strategic goals of the university with the long-term goals of both the growing city and the immediate neighborhoods surrounding the campus. 

After the successful resolution of the university’s Campus Plan, DeGioia and Advisory Neighborhood Commission Chair Ron Lewis announced the creation of a Georgetown Community Partnership this past summer.

The partnership will comprise a committee of community leaders, Georgetown students and faculty and staff, who will help the university with its long-term planning efforts.

The new Office of Community Engagement will serve as the primary contact for the partnership and assist in the development of future campus plans.