Last night in Healy Hall, administrators, neighborhood residents and community leaders gathered for the university’s twelfth annual holiday reception with Georgetown’s neighbors. Notable attendees this year were University President John J. DeGioia, D.C. Assistant Police Chief Patrick Burke, ANC commissioner Ron Lewis, City Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), and after an hour filled with anticipation and regular updates on his progress down the Whitehurst Freeway, the real star, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.
With the 2010 campus plan still up in the air, the reception was held with the hopes of a more productive future for University-neighborhood relations. DeGioia kicked off the gathering, deeming it “one of the great events of the holiday season.” He thanked the many community leaders for their presence at the reception.
“I know there are many challenges that we’ve faced together,” DeGioia said. “I am grateful for the fact that we can all come together like this…and work together to ensure a better future for our neighborhood and for this city.”
Mayor Gray’s late arrival lent more holiday cheer to the evening.
Though realistic, the Mayor’s assessment of the campus plan negotiations remained hopeful. “It’s been—I don’t know if I want to say delightful—it’s been interesting working with the University on the campus plan,” Gray said, as the audience laughed. “But I think we’re going to get there. It’s wonderful to be able to walk in this room during the holiday season and see members of the ANC and members of the community here as part of the Georgetown community. That shows me that we are really going to get to a conclusion.”
Gray pointed to the significant progress made so far (“I think we’ve already had 723 hearings,” he quipped to laughter) and said a successful conclusion was in sight.
Gray ended his speech with a call to action. “There are so many problems that are insoluble, and many times the government, despite how many employees we have, just doesn’t have the resources to be able to address those issues….I ask you to work together in the spirit of one city to continue to make this the absolute greatest city in the United States and in the world.”
Photo: Tim Markatos