With campus activities having already begun, Georgetown is abuzz with various events marking the inauguration of John J. DeGioia as the university’s 48th president. This year, the inauguration coincides with the parents’ weekends of three Georgetown’s schools: Georgetown College, the Walsh School of Foreign Service, and the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

The three schools had planned since last winter to hold their parents’ weekends in conjunction, but the decision to hold the inauguration this weekend as well was not made until last Spring. According to Hugh Cloke, associate dean of Georgetown College and a member of the inauguration steering committee, it was determined that it would be most prudent to hold the inauguration this weekend as well because various university boards were already scheduled to meet on campus at this time. Cloke was brought onto the steering committee to deal with the complexity of combining the inauguration and parents’ weekend.

In fact, combining the two has added much strength to parents’ weekend. For the College, which has typically had 700 attendees (approximately 250 families) in past years, this year’s projected attendance of 900 is very exciting.

According to Cloke, the events of Sept. 11 may also be a contributor to the higher expected turnout this weekend. “There may be a lot of anxious parents who just want to see their children in the aftermath of Sept. 11, but hadn’t previously considered coming to parents’ weekend,” Cloke said.

The inauguration steering committee has taken the events of Sept. 11 into account as well in their planning of this weekend’s activities. “In light of the tragic events of Sept. 11, we especially look forward to this occasion as an opportunity to come together and recommit ourselves to the ideals of our community: a strong Catholic and Jesuit identity, continued academic excellence, and service to others,” said John R. Kennedy, Chairman of the university’s Board of Directors, in an October 9 press release.

Thursday was themed “a celebration of Georgetown University’s commitment to service and social justice.” The day began with District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams addressing students and faculty in the Leavey Conference Center.

In the afternoon, panel discussions were held on topics ranging from “theatre for social change” to “teaching, research and the social justice mission of Georgetown University as a Catholic and Jesuit institution.” The day ended with an interfaith prayer service in red square and a student barbeque on Copley lawn, in which students were entertained by campus musical groups.

Today, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the inaugural academic symposium will be held in the ICC auditorium. Distinguished guests and Georgetown faculty will be speaking on such topics as “society and religion in the 21st century” and “the promise of Catholic and Jesuit higher education.”

Parents are welcome to attend classes with their children all day today, and are invited to receptions with their son or daughter’s college dean in the evening. On Saturday, each college will hold separate seminars and information sessions throughout the day.

The main inaugural events will also be held on Saturday, beginning with the inauguration, at 3:30 p.m. in Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall. Following the inauguration, a reception will be held in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

At 8:30 p.m., also in Constitution Hall, Dave Brubeck will perform alongside students from the Georgetown orchestra, concert choir, jazz choir and jazz band. Doors open at 2:30 for the inauguration and 8:00 for the concert; tickets are required for both events.

Free shuttle service will be provided between campus and Constitution Hall. For the inauguration, shuttles will be depart from Healy gates from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. and return from the Ronald Reagan Building after the post-inaugural reception. For the Dave Brubeck concert, the shuttles will again depart from Healy gates from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., and return directly from Constitution Hall after the concert. Georgetown identification or an event ticket will be required for the shuttle transportation.

Sunday will begin with an inaugural mass on White Gravenor Lawn celebrated by Theodore Cardinal McCarrick. Following the mass will be a brunch in Leavey Center.

With the juxtaposition of the inauguration and parents’ weekend, this weekend should prove to be a very exciting piece of Georgetown history. “We’ll all be quite a bit wiser on onday,” Cloke said.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.