CHRIS BIEN/THE HOYA University President John J. DeGioia talked about major campus issues Wednesday.
University President John J. DeGioia talked about major campus issues Wednesday.

Each semester, University President John J. DeGioia sets an hour aside to talk to representatives of the campus media. The highlights from today’s meeting include planned expansions to the university’s campus, how Georgetown is pursuing international engagement, howDeGioia hopes to the see the campus plan debate resolved and the future of the capital campaign. Read on to get a peek inside the several initiative’s on the president’s plate.

Downtown DC: The New Frontier

DeGioia announced that the university is working with a real estate agent to find more space for the School of Continuing Studies in D.C.

“Our code name is Georgetown Downtown,” he said.

The decision to expand was prompted by increasing demand for continuing studies and executive education programs.

“We’re looking for [space] in Downtown Washington, particularly for adult learners,” DeGioia said.

The university hopes to find an additional location near a Metro stop, according to DeGioia. This new area would complement the SCS’s satellite campus, home to the Center for Continuing and Professional Education and the Master’s Degree Programs in Technology Management and Journalism, Public Relations and Corporate Communications in Clarendon, Va. Moving more graduate student off of Georgetown’s main campus was one of the concessions made by the university in the debate with neighbors over the 2010 Campus Plan.

The university also plans to build the Intercollegiate Athletic Center adjacent to McDonough Gymnasium. The gymnasium was built when Georgetown was home to 3,000 men and eight sports, according to DeGioia. Today, the university has a population of 7,000 undergraduate students and has 29 athletic teams.

“McDonough just can’t hold intercollegiate athletics anymore, and we need some expansion,” DeGioiasaid.

A revised version of the original plans for the renovations is being submitted to the Old Georgetown Board for review. Earlier plans for the 125,000-square-foot athletic complex were given to the board, part of the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts, in October. The board, however, disliked aspects of the building, including its height, the proposed entrance and the planned glass wall and asked the university to make revisions.

The project will cost between $50 and 60 million, an amount which the university hopes to raise in full as a new focus for the ongoing capital campaign. DeGioia is hopeful about the initiative because the full costs of the Davis Performing Arts Center and the Hariri Building were fundraised.

“We’ve set a good precedent,” he said.

Around the Globe

The university is currently investigating become more involved in higher education in India. DeGioiaand his administration are exploring ways that Georgetown can engage and foster more higher education in partnerships with India’s 18 Jesuit colleges and 150 high schools. According to DeGioia, these schools are among the best in the nation.

“Part of the challenge for India is that they simply don’t have enough higher education infrastructure,” he said.

DeGioia hopes that both of the university’s global campuses can collaborate with institutions in India and create more opportunities for Indian teachers and students to better meet the overwhelming existing demand for college education and double the number of college attendants.

“We’re seeing a strong potential collaboration between our campus in Doha and opportunities in India,” he said.

DeGioia also remarked that the university is planning on undertaking initiatives in Brazil this year. Georgetown has been fostering a relationship with the country since the Council on Competitiveness: U.S.-Brazil Innovation Learning Laboratory was held on campus in 2008.

Capital Campaign Hits The Road

The public launch of the current capital campaign, “For Generations to Come: The Campaign for Georgetown,” and philanthropy throughout last semester propelled the university past the half-way mark of the initiative’s fundraising goal of $1.5 billion, according to DeGioia.

“We had an exceptional first six months of the year,” he said, further stating that he believed it was one of the university’s best fiscal periods to date.

The priority for the money continues to be funding scholarships, particularly through the 1789 Scholarship Imperative, an initiative to make Georgetown’s financial aid packages more competitive by offering 1,789 scholarships of $25,000 each year that are raised primarily by philanthropy.

The next step for the campaign is to hold smaller regional launches in eight to 10 cities internationally. Visiting the cities – which include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and London – will take about four and a half years, according to DeGioia, who plans to visit each of them himself.

DeGioia visited these same cities earlier in his time as university president to announce and fundraise for the 1789 Scholarship Imperative.

“That’s … a way of bringing everyone together in a really imperative way,” he said. “I know these cities and they know me.”

Controversy Despite Concessions

The university will be submitting its final filing regarding the 2010 Campus Plan to the D.C. Zoning Commission this Friday. A ruling on the revised plan from the commission will be given on Feb. 9 and accompanied by a written report in mid-April.

DeGioia hopes to avoid a lawsuit, which was required to resolve the controversy over the 2000 Campus Plan, and expects to the commission to be responsive to the concessions that the university has made.

“We have worked [as] collaboratively and responsibly as we possibly could,” he said. “We believe that the proposals we have made are … very responsible, very responsive.”

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