Prefrosh Preview: Welcome to Georgetown, and a brief history
Welcome to your first post on Vox Populi, the blog for on-campus newsmagazine the Georgetown Voice. We will continue to delight and inform you over the next four years and beyond.
You’ve made it through years of hellish workloads, early mornings, late nights that have turned into early mornings, sports practices and Model United Nations, years of working toward a perfect GPA, getting into your dream school, and all-around overachieving. So congratulations, and welcome to Georgetown, where it will be completely, utterly, earth-shatteringly similar.
A few things will be different from high school, however, and that’s why Vox is here with the Prefrosh Preview—a weekly post to help you maneuver your way through your first year at Georgetown. We’ll cover topics ranging from academics to the party scene, so be sure to check back on Thursdays for updates.
The first key difference between Georgetown and your high school, and here Vox is definitely underestimating the number of kids who went to Phillips Exeter, is that your high school does not have the same kind of rich history and traditions that Georgetown does, tailgates excluded.
The history, boys
After getting a job recommendation from Benjamin Franklin, John Carroll of the Society of Jesus—or, Jesuits—was appointed the first head of the Catholic Church in the United States, even though the Jesuits were still under papal suppression at the time for, well, having a little too much swag. (Vox went to Catholic school for 13 years. Vox knows her priesthoods.) Georgetown was founded by this band of raggedy all-American Vatican rejects in 1789, and instruction began in 1792 with the first student, William Gaston, after whom Gaston Hall is named.
With the beginning of the Civil War, enrollment plummeted due to intense participation of students on both sides. With 1, 141 students fighting in the war, and Union soldiers housed in campus buildings, only seven students graduated in 1869. Luckily for you, graduation rates have increased slightly since then. After the war, the rowing team used Union blue and Confederate gray as their colors, and soon after, every sports team adopted them. So when we say we bleed Hoya blue and gray, we did.
Father Patrick Healy, S.J. was named the first University president of African-American descent in 1873. He undertook several large projects, including the construction of Healy Hall, which now houses classrooms, administrative offices, and serves as the main focus of pictures on promotional materials.
Back to the future
Since then, we’ve won a basketball National Championship, elected our first lay president, John DeGioia, and started our own businesses. Georgetown continues to make the news as a school with a strong academic reputation and a solid Catholic tradition. We’ve graduated several notable alumni, including current White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (MSFS ’96), Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (COL ’57), and Sexiest Man Alive Bradley Cooper (COL ’97.) There was some guy named Bill Clinton (SFS ’68) around for a time, too. There are some prominent professors teaching here, including former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and for a time, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, at least until he decided to take it easy and try get approved by Congress.
Modern Georgetown lore will be covered by a future post, but in the meantime, stay tuned for next week, where Vox will tell you all you need to know about CHARMS and the roommate selection process!
Photo: Miles Gavin Meng/Georgetown Voice