McCourt Madness, day one: Academic ceremony held on Old North steps

mccourt dahlgrenOn the steps of Old North, a formal academic ceremony was held on Tuesday to celebrate the opening of the newest addition to Georgetown University, the McCourt School of Public Policy.

At 4 p.m., the ceremony began with a stately processional, including the faculty of the McCourt School of Public Policy, and was followed by an invocation from Reverend Kevin O’Brien. In his speech, O’Brien reminded the audience that it has been nearly a century since Edmund A. Walsh addressed the campus in 1919 about the establishment of Georgetown’s then-latest school, the School of Foreign Service. Concluding his inspirational message with a prayer, he declared that, “the bells of Healy ring not to say ‘stay here’ [at Georgetown], but to ‘go forth'”.

Next to speak was the new dean of the McCourt School, Edward B. Montgomery. “Today we are the highest ranked public policy program in the nation’s capitol, [and] tomorrow, the world,” he said.

Provost Robert M. Groves, when outlining the aims of the school, described the purpose of policy schools to be “exciting melting pots of different ways of thinking.” Because of the intricate interconnectedness of various disciplines and perspectives, the ultimate objectives of the McCourt school are a “natural fit with the Jesuit and Catholic traditions of women and men for others.” By building its foundational success upon the interpretation of large data systems for new policy analysis as well as the training of the next generation in utilizing these new knowledge sets, the school “will give the world a new model of a public policy school. In this, Georgetown’s vision is broad and bold.”

The establishment of the public policy school was made possible by the $100 million donation by Frank H. McCourt Jr. (COL ’75) whose family encompasses three generations of devoted Hoyas. In his impassioned and emotional address, he reflected on his childhood discussions about “real problems, real solutions, real policy, and most especially, real people”, encouraging the audience, just as his parents had years ago, “not to leave our ideas at the dinner table, but rather to expose them to the world without the fear of failure.”

Photo: Georgetown Voice/Rui Hao Puah

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