Darnall. Yates. Poulton. We fling these names around without a second’s thought. They are a constant part of our scholastic lives, but how well do we know the men in our lives – the men behind the buildings?

White Gravenor Hall

As students, we all got our start in White Gravenor Hall, home to Undergraduate Admissions, among other important offices. It’s a fitting location, as Georgetown itself owes part of its beginning to the Hall’s namesakes – Fr. Andrew White, S.J. and Fr. John Altham Gravenor, S.J., two Jesuit priests who accompanied Lord Baltimore to Maryland in 1634. They settled at the site of St. Mary’s City, which became the fourth permanent English colony in America.

Upon landing, Gravenor was the first to preach to Native Americans, expressing a message of peace and brotherhood. White offered the holy sacrifice at the colony’s first mass and devoted 10 years of his life as a missionary. His deeds earned him the title “Apostle of Maryland.” Now known as colony’s first historian, White was sent back to England in shackles to be tried for treason as a Catholic and was later acquitted. White never managed to return to Maryland, but both his and Gravenor’s work in maintaining friendly relations between the colonists was instrumental in preserving the fledging colony. They were two of the first pioneers of Jesuit education in America.

Joseph Mark Lauinger Memorial Library

The Lauingers have been a part of the Georgetown community for more than 100 years; members of the family have been Hoyas since the 19th century. This legacy of legacies began with Frank T. Lauinger, who studied law at Georgetown in the 1890s. His son, Philip C. Lauinger, Sr. (C ’22, L ’58) was president of the Yard and the student body in the College.

All four of Philip’s sons were Georgetown students, including Joseph Mark Lauinger (CAS ’67), who died in the Vietnam War. Joseph was killed when the unit he was leading hit enemy fire during a reconnaissance mission. He was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart posthumously. The ain Campus library was named in honor of Joseph Lauinger to commemorate him, along with the 16 other Georgetown graduates who died in Vietnam. His brother, Philip C. Lauinger Jr. (C ’58), explained the uniqueness of Georgetown that drew so many of his family members to it:

“The international and ecumenical roles of Georgetown are strategic features which I believe in very fervently,” he told Georgetown Magazine in 1996. “In an age when so many institutions feel it is necessary to polarize and become both less tolerant and narrower in their view, I think Georgetown stands out in having to have a more global attitude. At the heart of it, it’s that spirit of trying to embrace the world without losing its code of basic beliefs.”

Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center

The heart of student activity on campus is the Leavey Center, named in part for Thomas Leavey (L ’33), whose heart never left Georgetown after he graduated. He came back in 1952 to serve as the charter member of the first President’s Council and remained an advisor to Georgetown presidents until his death in 1980. His love and enthusiasm for the school was contagious and his wife, Dorothy, also became one of the most committed benefactors to the Georgetown. The Leaveys contributed $7 million to fill the need for a student center on campus so that students would have “a place to sit down on chairs.”

But their contributions neither began nor ended there. Starting in 1945, Thomas and Dorothy gave more than $9 million to the construction of the Reiss Science Building, the Lauinger Library and Yates Field House, as well as to scholarships and to the endowment.

Dorothy, who received the President’s Medal from President Thomas S. Healy, S.J., in 1983, explained her husband’s devotion in an interview with The Georgetown Voice in 1988. “It wasn’t monetary with Tom at all,” she said. “He just loved Georgetown. He was very grateful for what it had done for him, and his friends there were his lifelong friends.”

Walsh Building

It is common to hear many a student grumble about having to trek all the way to the Walsh Building, located an entire block away from the main campus. But the building’s namesake is almost entirely responsible for making Georgetown a paragon in international studies.

Fr. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., founded the School of Foreign Service and was indisputably one of the most influential Jesuits in the history of the United States. In 1919, he created the SFS – the first school of its kind – so that students in the United States could receive adequate training to be diplomats. He led the Papal Relief Mission to Russia in 1922, feeding 158,000 famine-stricken Russians daily, and negotiated with the Bolsheviks to free clerical prisoners during the religious purges that targeted the Catholic Church. After witnessing these acts, he became a fervent anti-communist, and some reports say that it was Walsh who recommended that Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) campaign on the theme of opposition to communism. Walsh also served as an ambassador for the Vatican to negotiate with the Mexican government on the conflict between church and state and lectured numerous times on international issues in various forums around the world.

In a message to Georgetown students in 1954, Walsh said, “I urge the students to become familiar with important issues since they are in a place so rich in information. Profit by your presence in Washington. Visit the various government agencies and obtain their literature. Profit by having this great laboratory at your disposal. You will thus make use of your subjects studied in the classroom.”

It wasn’t just the Georgetown community who took notice of Walsh’s accomplishments. President Eisenhower was the one to dedicate the Walsh Building at its opening in 1958.

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