Welcome Back Message, Fall 2011

Dear Colleagues:

As the summer comes to a close, and we once again prepare to begin another academic year, I look forward to continuing our work to inspire and educate our talented student body. I write with sincere gratitude for your service and dedication to the Georgetown community, and I would like to offer an update on a range of University developments that have taken place over the summer. 

Following last week’s 5.8 earthquake, which was felt along much of the east coast, a combination of internal personnel and outside experts conducted on-site examinations of University buildings to assess a variety of safety-related conditions. After a brief closure on the afternoon of the earthquake, most University buildings had reopened for business the following morning. 

Although the weather effects of Hurricane Irene were felt in the Washington, D.C. area, we were able to carry on with many of the events of move-in weekend and New Student Orientation. As you know, New Student Convocation has been rescheduled for Tuesday, August 30 at 7:00 p.m. I look forward to this wonderful opportunity to be together and celebrate our newest students. Our entire community is sincerely grateful for the hard work and efforts of the many individuals who kept the University running smoothly during these recent events. In particular, I’d like to express my appreciation to our Facilities Staff, the Department of Public Safety, and our many New Student Orientation staff members and volunteers.

This week we welcome one of the most rigorously selected student bodies in our history. Our application process for the undergraduate class of 2015 was extremely selective, resulting in an 18% acceptance rate. We also look forward to welcoming another talented class to our Medical School. We received 11,598 applications for 196 places—a slight increase in the number of applications over last year for the same number of spaces. At Georgetown Law, the number of applications is down slightly compared to last year’s historic number of applicants. Of the strongest applicants nationwide, more than two out of three apply to Georgetown, which routinely receives more applications than any other law school in the country.

With the start of the fall semester we are pleased to welcome a number of talented new faculty members to our Law Center, Medical Center and Main Campus. In recent months, we have also named four new deans at Georgetown, which would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the many members of our search committees. 

We welcomed David A. Thomas as Dean of the McDonough School of Business. Dean Thomas, a recognized thought leader in the area of strategic human resource management, joins our community from Harvard Business School. At this important moment for our Business school, I know that the valuable experience he brings to Georgetown will be an asset to our entire community.

Martin Y. Iguchi has joined our community as Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies. Dean Iguchi is a well-respected leader in public and community health. His work as an educator and a community health leader has given him an important perspective on the future of nursing and related fields, and the role that Georgetown can play. Dean Iguchi joins us from the University of California, Los Angeles.

We also welcomed Gerd Nonneman as Dean of the School of Foreign Service in Qatar. Dean Nonneman has had a rich and varied career working in both academia and foreign affairs, and I look forward to the leadership he will bring to the SFS-Q. A noted expert on the Gulf region, Dean Nonneman comes to Georgetown from the University of Exeter. 

Gerald M. Mara will serve a two-year term as Dean of the Graduate School, during which time we plan a formal search for a longer-term successor to Dean Barbari, who decided to return to the faculty here at Georgetown. Gerry is a respected and long-time member of the Georgetown community and faculty, and we are very grateful for his service. 

I am very pleased that restoration will begin this semester on Dahlgren Chapel, made possible by a generous donation from an alumni family. This restorative work will stabilize the foundation and make other necessary improvements to this spiritual heart of our campus. 

As you may have noticed, we continue to make great progress on the 154,000-square-foot science center. This new center will provide enhanced arch facilities for our science faculty and students, which will benefit our entire community. Much of the exterior of the building can now be envisioned, and the building remains on schedule to open for occupancy for the fall semester 2012. This will be a terrific, state-of-the-art facility to enhance our academic and research pursuits. I am very grateful to the many faculty and staff members who have demonstrated a longstanding commitment to this defining project. 

This October we will publicly launch For Generations to Come—The Campaign for Georgetown. This $1.5 billion campaign—of which Georgetown has already raised more than $745 million as of June 30—will seek to sustain and accelerate our pursuit of academic excellence across our Main, Medical and Law Campuses and around the world. The entire Georgetown community is deeply grateful for the contributions of so many of our faculty and staff in this process, and I look forward to keeping you apprised of our progress. 

As we begin another academic year, I hope many of you are able to join us at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Tuesday, August 30 at 12:00 noon on Healy Lawn. I look forward to this opportunity for prayerful reflection with our newly-named Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J. and the new Rector of the Jesuit community at Georgetown, Rev. Joseph Lingan, S.J.

You have my very best wishes.


John J. DeGioia