By Arianne AryanpurHoya Staff Writer

In his first official address to the university community, University President John J. DeGioia encouraged freshman students to take advantage of the resources and facilities offered by an elite university like Georgetown.

“How is it that one takes ownership actively of one’s journey?” DeGioia asked. “It depends on who you will invite to influence you, choices about the focus you will give your mind,” he said.

DeGioia was one of the several faculty and student speakers to welcome the class of 2005 at New Student Convocation. An alumnus of Georgetown, DeGioia formally became the first lay president at any of the country’s Jesuit universities and colleges July 1.

“[At Georgetown] we know a little secret about life in a university community,” DeGioia told the audience of 3,500 students, parents and faculty. “That secret of life here is that every fall we start fresh, almost like for the first time.”

DeGioia also said the transition to university life signals a shift from dependence to independence, one that leads the individual through a journey of personal discovery.

DeGioia encouraged students to find and follow the social and academic practices that allow them to be true to themselves.

“We look to you with hope . that you will look at the conditions of life and make a difference,” DeGioia said to the students in attendance. “You are among the most gifted and talented women and men of your generation. Your journeys, the stories you weave, can make a difference in our world.”

DeGioia concluded by reminding students how privileged they are to attend a school of Georgetown’s caliber. He cited a statistic that indicates only .003 percent of the world’s population has the opportunity to attend a major American research university.

“My hope for you here is that you can develop the capacity, in the words of one of the first Jesuits, `To care for those that no one else cares about but that everyone knows they should.'”

University Provost Dorothy Brown, Assistant English Professor Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., and Aaron Polkey (COL ’02) were among the speakers at convocation as well.

Polkey, winner of the 2001 Thomas P. McTighe Prize, spoke about divinity and the pursuit of individual happiness at Georgetown.

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