While the 111th Congress includes 18 Georgetown alumni, this turnout represents a decrease from the previous Congress’ 21 university graduates.

While four alumni left Congress – two lost their re-election bids, one did not seek re-election and another was elected as the governor of Puerto Rico – another Georgetown alumnus, Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va., SFS ’96), won a seat in the House of Representatives.

Nye represents the 150th Georgetown alumnus or faculty member to serve in Congress, continuing a tradition that began when William Gaston entered the House of Representatives to stand for North Carolina in 1813.

“Georgetown University places an incredible emphasis on service and giving back to your community and country. It was that foundation that led me to join the foreign service after I graduated from [the School of Foreign Service],” Nye said. “While I was working in Iraq in 2007, I felt that the best way I could serve our country was to try to shape policy decisions back in Washington, and so I decided to come home and run for Congress.”

Scott Fleming, associate vice president for federal relations at Georgetown, attributes the high numbers of alumni on Capitol Hill to Georgetown’s mission of civil engagement and service to others, as well as to the university’s location in Washington, D.C. The university’s Mission Statement sets out the goal of educating men and women to be “responsible and active participants in civic life.”

“Georgetown is immensely proud that so many of our alumni serve in the United States Congress,” Fleming said. “Likewise, we are proud of the numerous alumni who will be part of the incoming Obama administration.”

These numbers include graduates of Georgetown’s undergraduate, graduate, law and medical schools, while some hold multiple Georgetown degrees.

Georgetown’s contribution to the legislative branch also provides a boost to the number of graduates from Jesuit colleges and universities in Congress, which this year reached 52, almost 10 percent of the 535 members of the 111th Congress. Georgetown leads the way among Jesuit institutions with its 18 alumni, followed by Boston College with seven, and the College of the Holy Cross and Fordham University each with four. In total, 15 Jesuit institutions are represented in the 111th Congress.

“The Jesuits have always believed that their graduates can affect the social order by being leaders of good for wider society. Serving in Congress is one way to accomplish that goal,” Jack Dunn, a spokesman for Boston College, said in the National Catholic Reporter.

Like Georgetown, though, the combined Jesuit institutions have also experienced a slight decrease in their numbers of alumni in Congress. Last year the 110th Congress boasted 54 Jesuit alumni, the current record for the most Jesuit graduates in Congress at one time.

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