With all the pomp and grandeur of a festive ceremony, yesterday’s University Convocation in Gaston Hall marked the beginning of Georgetown’s Third Century Campaign. President Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J. officially announced the start of the public phase of this [six-year, $750-million fundraising effort that will help Georgetown meet its financial requirements as well as increase endowments to the University](http://www.thehoya.com/news/campaign-has-750-million-goal/). In just three years, “thanks to the generosity of some mighty benefactors,” O’Donovan told the audience, Georgetown has already raised $355 million. That figure includes a $10 million donation given by an anonymous donor for new, state-of-the-art academic space for the School of Business and a $10 million donation from the German automaking company VMWAG to endow the new Center for German and European Studies in the School of Foreign Service. Also, MBNA America has given $10 million towards the MBNA Career Education Center as well as new spaces for performing arts and for financial aid. O’Donovan said that such donations to the university gave him hope that the campaign would raise $750 million for the university – money which will go to improve many of Georgetown’s institutions. Indeed, he told the audience, as the oldest Catholic university in the nation, Georgetown is one of the only universities that can even have a Third Century Campaign. Still, for O’Donovan, the Campaign was not simply about looking back but moving forward. “We will see even greater days all across our university,” O’Donovan said. “We will endow over 40 chairs and professorships . We will occupy more academic facilities worthy of our good name. We will fortify a financial aid policy that Georgetown students need and deserve. We will house new programs in International Politics and diplomacy to respond to the new realities of global affairs. We will experience the joys of Internet too as a first-rate, information technology program.” He continued, “We will bring more distinguished scholars of Catholicism into our programs. We will expand our community service initiatives and do even for good for even more people in this, the capital of democracy. And that is just the beginning – and I mean that literally.” Highlighting the convention was the awarding of the Founder’s Medal to Robert E. McDonough (SFS ’49), whose most recent [$30 million donation to the School of Business – which will now bear his name](http://www.thehoya.com/news/gsb-takes-new-name/) – represents the largest single contribution to any Georgetown graduate or undergraduate program, according to O’Donovan. The Founder’s Medal Citation, read by Christopher Puto, Dean of the School of Business, spoke of McDonough as a “compelling exemplar of the Jesuit higher education of applying one’s knowledge and talents to the betterment of humanity.” The Convocation – which served to reaffirm Georgetown’s commitment to excellence and pride in its institutions – also featured a special thanks to John Ruggini (SFS ’99), who was cited for his community service record in his work on D.C. schools and his involvement in Campaign Georgetown, a group dedicated to registering students to vote and run in local elections. Rounding out the ceremony was the faculty address given by John McNeil, professor of history – the recipient of two Fulbright awards and a Guggenheim fellowship – who touted the excellence of the Georgetown faculty in preparing each and every student for success in later life. The University Convocation signified the beginning of Campaign Kickoff Weekend, which will consist of a myriad of activities starting today and extending through Sunday. They include 25 different academic seminars organized by faculty and staff October 9 from 2:00 to 5:00 P.M. Also included in the festivities is the Georgetown Forever Showcase, a day-long fair Saturday, Oct. 10 featuring over 100 performances, mini-courses, demonstrations and giveaways. The purpose of the Kickoff Weekend is to draw public attention to Georgetown and its achievements – both in academics and in the public sector – thank donors and campaign volunteers and recognize the contributions of students, faculty, staff and alumni. The Kickoff Weekend also signifies the start of a fund-raising drive through which Georgetown hopes to elicit much-needed donations for the University, according to the university. Schedules and a map for the festivities can be picked up at Healy gates and the Leavey Center main entrance steps. Any questions about Georgetown’s Third Century Campaign or the Campaign Kickoff can be addressed at 202-687-5383.

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