Georgetown Has a Unique Mission in Crisis

By John DeGioia

The past several days at Georgetown have been extremely painful as we all seek to respond to the tragedies of this week. While we don’t know what is still to come, it is clear from our response so far that Georgetown has much to offer that provide us comfort, support and reason for hope during such difficult times.

Georgetown possesses unique resources to offer one another, our city, this nation and the international community. The tradition on which this university is built tells us that we are not helpless. We can draw on our strengths and embrace together the challenges we will face in the days ahead.

Our faculty, staff, and students continue to work together to ensure the safety and security of the entire university community. From the department of public safety and facilities staff to our caring faculty, chaplains, and residence life staff and many others, a safety net is in place to meet immediate needs and prepare for challenges that may yet arise.

It has been great to witness the outpouring of generosity from our students. The events and religious services that students have helped organize have been an enormous resource for our community. So too have the information tables across campus, the fundraising to support victims, and efforts of the Senior Class Committee, GUSA and the Club Union to be of service. Most important are the everyday acts of care, kindness and respect through which students define for one another the strength of our community.

As a Catholic and Jesuit community, Georgetown’s ability to address our spiritual and pastoral needs is so important during times like these. We share a commitment that religion is not just relevant, but utterly necessary in the search for a world of peace, of justice, of freedom and of love. It is our commitment of service to others that lends extraordinary support to the families and victims of this week’s tragic events.

As an international community, Georgetown fosters a spirit of cooperation and understanding among the diverse communities that make our campus such a vibrant place to live, study and work. We draw on the strength of our various faith and cultural traditions to find a source of consolation as we begin to weave together the torn fabric of our republic.

As a university, Georgetown has a special role to play in the world beyond our campus gates. We contribute to the body of knowledge and public discourse as the nation seeks understanding and healing. Many faculty are helping spur productive, reflective dialogue. Through this reasoned dialogue and the wisdom of knowing one another and ourselves we can take our first steps in the process of rebuilding.

Ultimately at Georgetown we share a responsibility to care for one another and preach a message of respect in a world that needs to hear voices of unity. It is my hope that we will come together in faith, with hope and love and respect in service to one another and our community. We must move forward to rebuild our own individual lives, the lives of our families, of this city, and of our nation. And it is the tradition of Georgetown that I am so proud will help us to do so.

John J. DeGioia is the president of Georgetown University.

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