The festive air running through campus this weekend was not entirely due to anticipation of a long-awaited holiday weekend. Much of the excitement stemmed from the Kickoff Weekend events, which marked the beginning of the [public phase of the Third Century Campaign, a six-year, $750-million fundraising effort]( to increase Georgetown’s endowment, facilities and other resources. On Saturday, the university held the Georgetown Forever Showcase, a day-long fair which focused on varied aspects of Georgetown, including student performances and activities, academics, athletics and technology. Besides the Showcase, there was a series of academic workshops led by faculty, meetings for donors and a series of dinners for donors, alumni, faculty, administrators and other guests. However, the capstone of the weekend was the Gala on Saturday night. This event, which was held at the National Building Museum, was given to honor leading donors and celebrate Georgetown, according to Executive Director of Development Communications Janis Johnson. The event was attended by 920 people – most of whom were alumni and donors – but some staff, faculty and students were invited as well, Johnson said. “It was a big celebration to look back over the past three years, to honor donors, and to look forward to what we want to do over the next three years,” she added. At the Georgetown Forever Showcase, university officials presented workshops to teach alumni and donors, as well as the students and teachers in attendance, about everything from creating a web page to the drawing techniques of famous artists. Many student performing arts groups performed on the White Gravenor Esplanade. Children were kept entertained with music, storytelling, face painting, clowns, McGruff the Crime Dog and the “Moonbounce,” a large jumping mattress. At the Gala, the night’s festivities began with a ten-minute film entitled “Georgetown Forever” that chronicled why Georgetown is “so special,” Johnson said. Other entertainment included toasts given by speakers such as John Thompson, the head coach of the Men’s Basketball team, University President Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J. and [Robert McDonough (SFS ’49), whose name was just recently given to the business school in honor of his $30 million donation]( While the speakers varied widely in the styles with which they addressed the audience, they all spoke about the importance and significance Georgetown holds for them, Johnson said. The Georgetown Concert Choir and Orchestra, as well as the Chamber Singers and student a cappella groups the Phantoms, the Chimes and the Grace Notes, were on hand to provide music for the night. Lou Cappola and the Stereo Strings, a string ensemble, and Gene Donati’s Orchestra performed, according to Johnson, and the night ended with the singing of the alma mater, a performance of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and a huge shower of multi-colored confetti. John Ruggini (SFS ’99), a member of the Concert Choir, said, “It seemed really well done, really professional. It seemed like everyone had a really good time.” Nick Haddad (MSB ’02), another member of the Concert Choir, was similarly impressed with the night. “It was kind of uplifting because it gave a feeling of general optimism. It just showed that while Georgetown has a great past, it also has a very promising future.” Alumni reactions to the Kickoff Weekend specifically, and the Third Century Campaign in general, were very positive. Eugene Principato (COL ’42, MED ’45) said he thought Georgetown was approaching the campaign in the right way by not actually publicizing it securing much of the money. The university has already raised $355 million. Principato also said the campaign was vital because Georgetown needs funds to keep its status as a top university. “I think it’s a necessary, very necessary campaign,” he said. Royden Davis, S.J., dean of Georgetown College of from 1966-1989, echoed these sentiments. “[The campaign is] much needed. The generosity and response is overwhelming,” he said. Both men were hopeful that the campaign would be successful in meeting the $750-million goal. “I’d be very disappointed if it didn’t succeed,” Davis said. Kathleen Jones, vice president for Alumni and University Relations, was likewise positive about the weekend. “It was a wonderful weekend, and one of the best aspects was the involvement of the students. We are all enormously grateful to all of the students who made a special weekend even better.

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

Comments are closed.