John J. DeGioia

In his third year, University President, John J. DeGioia outlined three main responsibilities for the university’s continued academic excellence in his welcome address Wednesday afternoon: attending to financial health, maintaining an identity and ensuring excellence of enduring commitments.

“This semester has gotten off to an exciting start, even before Isabel came to town,” DeGioia said jokingly, as he addressed faculty and staff in Gaston Hall.

DeGioia began his address by stressing that Georgetown’s vibrancy has never been more apparent, but that responsibilities always remain in order for a great university to sustain itself.

DeGioia stressed the university’s finances, saying that this year the university has raised more money than in any other year in history, and that these revenues have “allowed us to deliver academic excellence more effectively.”

“The financial situation has not changed significantly, but we must confront three financial challenges,” DeGioia said. These include “keeping pace to expand physical infrastructure,” he stated, noting that next week ground will be broken for the building of the new Royden B. Davis, S.J., Performing Arts Center.

“We have just finished with construction of the new Southwest Quadrangle, our biggest construction project in the history of the university, and we are also raising funds for an eventual new home of the McDonough School of Business,” DeGioia said, adding that the decision to take the next steps will be contingent on being able to raise the necessary funds.

One of DeGioia’s most important financial challenges for the university is to stay on par with peer institutions in terms of affordability for undergraduate students and compensation levels for employees and faculty. “We need to continue to think of Georgetown in future years, and continue to attract the very finest students. [The faculty members] are an invaluable resource, and we need to be sure to compete with other institutions in order to obtain the best faculty possible,” DeGioia said. “In addition to finances, we need to look to our identity as a community to respond to our most significant global needs,” he said, adding that Georgetown is unique because of its identity as the oldest Jesuit university, its location in the nation’s capital, its status as an international university and its reputation as an elite academic institution.

DeGioia also stressed that faculty need to take a strategic view about creating new projects and programs that resonate with the university’s identity.

“Most of the world looks to religion to make sense of its existence, and we need to keep in mind that Georgetown insures that resources of the church strengthen and enhance one another,” he noted.

Along with the university’s religious responsibilities, DeGioia added that it is also Georgetown’s responsibility to ensure the District’s vibrancy.

“As an international and cosmopolitan institution, we should ensure that all students can function and lead in a global world,” DeGioia said.

DeGioia also touched on one final responsibility of the university: the responsibility to ensure that Georgetown remain committed to its mission by taking a moment to stop and see what the results are.

“We must sustain the capacity to step back and engage in a critique of what is happening,” he said, noting that it is always a good idea to always consider alternatives.

“One thing we always have [with projects] is a luxury of time. Sometimes we engage in projects where we don’t see the lasting result until many years ahead. This is one of our great strengths, as we are always challenged by changing dynamics in the world and engaged in new activities,” DeGioia said.

As DeGioia concluded his address to the faculty, he asserted that as a community, Georgetown must always sustain the capacity for reflexive assessment of what is happening today.

“We must ensure that we can live the questions as deeply and for as long as necessary, and never lose sight of the fundamental characteristics of the academy or the living mission of this university,” he said.

DeGioia finished his address by thanking the faculty and staff who “made our mission come alive in the classroom or through research to sustain this great and unique academic community.”

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