November 12, 2013 – Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies (SCS) held an opening ceremony to celebrate its new campus space in downtown Washington, D.C., located in the Gallery Place/Chinatown neighborhood at 640 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Leaders from Georgetown and the local Washington, D.C., community; building contractors, architects and designers; and students, faculty and staff came together to officially commemorate the opening of the 91,000 square foot facility.
“Our relationship with Washington—our engagement with it—has grown and evolved in numerous ways over now nearly 225 years,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia in his remarks to attendees. “Today we recognize how Georgetown has truly become an anchor institution in the District."
In addition to President DeGioia, guest speakers included District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Georgetown Provost Robert Groves, SCS Interim Dean Walter Rankin and the Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J.
“This [new Georgetown location] provides an opportunity to continue to build out downtown,” said Mayor Vincent Gray. “We have made a concerted effort to help redefine, reimagine, reconfigure…the downtown area of the District of Columbia, and we really haven’t had that much of a university presence.”
SCS students, faculty and staff moved into the new space in August for the start of the fall semester.
Commitment to Community
Georgetown Provost Robert Groves spoke about the enormous growth and influence of SCS that has taken place over the past 10 years and how the school embodies the university’s commitment to the local community.
“This is a D.C. home of the school. It is embedded in the community in the way that our belief of women and men for others is perfectly consistent,” said Groves. “We want to be part of this community, we want to serve this community, we want to be a citizen of D.C. in a way that this location allows us to do.”
At the start of the fall semester, 40 new SCS students joined Dean Rankin and staff for a day of service at two local neighbors of SCS – Central Union Mission, a faith-based nonprofit social service agency, and the Asian and Pacific Islander Senior Center, which provides seniors from the Chinatown neighborhood with literacy classes, translation services and more.
The school plans to continue to engage with the local community through learning, research and service as it establishes itself in the neighborhood.
Expansion of ‘Georgetown Downtown’
The school’s move downtown adds more than 3,500 students, faculty, administrators and staff to the Gallery Place/Chinatown neighborhood and expands the university’s “Georgetown Downtown” presence. Georgetown University Law Center, which is located just a few blocks away, established its current downtown campus in 1971.
President DeGioia called Georgetown “an institution that has remained committed to the vibrancy and economic development of our region, one that is deeply invested in being an active community partner, a neighbor and a citizen dedicated to both enriching and serving our District community.”
SCS’s new downtown facility features 30 classrooms, 14 group study rooms, a 130-person auditorium, digital media lab and broadcast studio, interfaith chapel, library, academic resource center, bookstore, café and multiple work, lounge and meeting spaces and is located within walking distance of all five Metro Rail lines.
Staying Connected to Georgetown Values
In his remarks, Dean Rankin focused on the school’s efforts to stay connected to the university’s Catholic and Jesuit heritage and values.
“Our goal [here] is to embody the spirit of magis that is so integral to Georgetown, and we need that to be integral to us [at SCS],” said Rankin.
Magis is a Latin term meaning “the more” and is the charism of the Society of Jesus that embodies St. Ignatius’ question in his Spiritual Exercises: “What more can I do for Christ?” The term has come to define the Jesuit values and ethos of Georgetown.
“We want to be present in every moment, we want to bring that ‘more’ to you, to the community, to our colleagues, to our leadership, to each other. This is what we’re here for.”
Before the ceremony began, Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry at Georgetown, blessed the school’s new interfaith chapel. Members of Georgetown’s Jesuit community and chaplains from various faith traditions were in attendance.