Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Campaign Vision

For my colleagues at Georgetown, and for colleagues elsewhere, here's the first draft of our campaign vision. The purpose of this document is to a set the tone for the campaign and to make the broad case for what makes this University unique and why it matters, especially now. It is a preamble to the a financial prospectus that will follow and is designed to inspire and motivate.

I welcome your reactions. Here goes:


What We Ask of Ourselves
A Vision for 2020

“All of us (at Georgetown) enjoy a privilege that is very rare in our world – a beautiful world – but a world marked by injustice…a world in desperate need of your dreams. What you do with this privilege matters. We are not alone. We have each other. We also have women and men who need us – who are looking to us – to respond to the challenges that define our world today. In the words of former Jesuit Superior General Pedro Arrupe, we must accept the responsibility of being women and men for others: Women and men who accept responsibility not only for their own personal development…but for the collective development of the human family.”

With these words, President John J. DeGioia welcomes the freshman class to Georgetown University each fall. In so doing, he does more than orient them to a campus; he defines what it means to be of Georgetown, now and forever. It begins with not what we ask for ourselves but what we ask of ourselves, about how we will use the gifts we have been given to achieve something far greater than ourselves.

As a global university, what do we ask of ourselves as it becomes increasingly clear that all the people of the world live in one environment, one economy and one society, and that a weakness in one part, if left unattended, is a threat to the whole? As a Catholic Jesuit University, what do we ask of ourselves when cultures clash and war in the name of faith? As a university in, and so much a part of, one of the most important cities in the world, how can we ensure that its might will be increasingly derived from right? As a university with the ability to change lives and propel those from the most modest means to lives of fulfillment and reward, how do we grant admission and share our talents in the most just way to achieve the greatest possible good?

It is within this moral framework that Georgetown’s contemplates its role in, and responsibility to, the future. It is in this context that the leaders and shapers of Georgetown ask themselves another set of more specific questions to set the University’s course for the next decade and beyond. Those questions include:

How do we, in our admission practices and scholarship support, ensure the privileges of this university are accessible to strivers from many different places and of all socio-economic strata?

How might we strengthen the student experience at Georgetown to ensure that our graduates are prepared to understand and take on the challenges that define our world, today and tomorrow?

How might we further promote the generation and application of new knowledge to improve the human condition and create a widening circle of opportunity?

What must we as a University do – through our policies, practices, aspirations and actions – to develop the human family?


“There is nothing quite like this moment.”
President John J. DeGioia


These questions take on a greater urgency as a shaken nation and a world searches for the bedrock on which to build a better future. We have seen too many seemingly tall houses wash away because they were built on the sands of expediency, falsity, foolishness, fear and intolerance. We look to the institutions that remain, particularly those that have thrived over centuries, and ask which of those can still be believed in and trusted to live up to their principles and deliver on their promise. Georgetown University is such an institution. It now stands poised and prepared to make a far greater contribution than ever before.

As a University that has reached the highest levels of achievement with the most modest of resources, Georgetown offers an efficiency of purpose and performance that is perfectly suited to these times. As supporters have come to understand how comparatively modest investments in Georgetown have been, and continue to be, so efficiently converted into significant and lasting gains, they have increased their investment in the University. In fact, in the last year, in the face of the most depressed economy in the past 75 years, Georgetown supporters gave in record numbers and record amounts.

What these donors have come to see is that Georgetown is not a just a University that you give to -- to realize specific campus objectives -- but a University you give through to create a better world. They see the far reaching impact that a gift to Georgetown has, including:

How a scholarship not only supports a worthy student but how that person will become a “difference maker” in any number of fields;

How a gift to the curriculum hones the skills and shapes the conscience of those who will, in remarkably large numbers, go on to care for the sick, create law, shape public policy, influence foreign affairs, spur economic growth, foster innovation, create, teach, or build richer, more diverse communities;

How a gift to research generates knowledge that leads to more efficient government, sophisticated and humane health care, environmental sustainability, enlightened jurisprudence, inter-religious understanding or conflict resolution;

How a gift to capital improvements creates model environments for leadership development, character formation, citizenship, multi-cultural understanding, and artistic or athletic development.

They see the spirit in which Georgetown advances an agenda for the 21st Century, the sense of commitment and service that pervades its thinking, and the determination with which it seeks to leverage its prominence and place for the betterment of the human family. They know that Georgetown does not pride itself in nice or noble sentiments but in resourcefulness, action and innovation, in taking on the most rigorous challenges, confronting the grittiest issues, and in finding opportunity in the most unlikely places and situations. They understand that “the Georgetown way,” while rooted in long held values, is ultimately practical and profoundly relevant to the needs and hopes of the 21st Century.

In the next decade the University aspires to become the institution that best leverages its purpose, place, moment and unique strengths to make the most lasting contribution to the human family. It seeks to achieve this goal by:

1. Making Georgetown the destination of choice for the world’s most accomplished and altruistic young people;

2. Designing a complete, comprehensive campus life experience that ensures the most competitively selected students in Georgetown’s history develop their talents and deepen their conscience so that they can become “difference-makers” in whatever field they choose;

3. Attracting and maintaining faculty that nurture and guide the talent of the remarkable young people entrusted to their care by the far-reaching relevance of the knowledge they produce, and the passion and proficiency with which they share that knowledge in the classroom and beyond;

4. Creating a microcosm of a meritocratic world on our campuses, a world that places equal emphasis on the capacity of one’s intellect and the content of one’s character, a world that respects the dignity of each individual and demands adherence to the highest standards of ethical and intellectual conduct, a communicative, inter-connected world that allows difference-makers and problem solvers to interact and innovate, and a world whose form allows its members to function at the height of their abilities; and

5. Launching a series of initiatives from our positions of greatest strength to address the challenges that define our age, including those in globalism, conflict resolution, systems medicine, international development, global leadership development, environmental sustainability, transnational law, and (other examples).

So that it might better serve in these ways for these purposes, Georgetown University seeks to secure $1.5 billion for the following uses:

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And that's it for now. The next part will get into the specifics of the financial case for support. I'm happy to share it with you as it develops

1 comment:

DCW said...

I like the 2020 metaphor, but have you considered whether using it conjures up too tight of a time window? Georgetown's last campaign dealt in centuries. As 2020 is only 10 years out, perhaps it could be framed as "a vision for 2020 and beyond" or something similar to avoid the perception that the horizon is limited and the next campaign is just around the corner.