Georgetown Magazine: Fall 2022

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An interfaith program encourages students, faculty, and staff to make time for sacred contemplation

A time for unity Get to know the new Black Alumni Council
FALL 2022



In July 2022, the Georgetown University Alumni Association proudly announced the formation of the Black Alumni Council, the first-ever affinity group to be established by the organization.



As a global university with a focus on serving the common good, Georgetown offers a rich environment for nurturing Fulbright recipients.



In addition to promoting interfaith dialogue and exploration, a program called Press Pause provides a respite from the hectic pace of everyday life.


Explore the Hilltop and environs with biology professor and photographer Martha Weiss.

Cover photo: Phil Humnicky
FALL 2022


As we prepared to send this issue of Georgetown Magazine to the printer, a wonder ful piece of news came across my desk: plans are now underway for a student hub on the ground floor of Healy Hall. The redesign, scheduled to be completed in Fall 2023, will not only triple the space dedicated to the Georgetown Scholars Program (GSP), but will introduce a Catholic Student Life Center as well as a multipurpose area focused on student well-being activities like grief support groups and nutrition counseling. There will even be a mindfulness and reflection room.

The ground level of Healy Hall has a rich history, housing everything from an indoor track to a bowling alley, from an air raid shelter to a student-run pub. Now it will be dedicated to one of Georgetown’s central missions: ensuring our student community thrives.

In these pages you will read more about this concept of thriving, and why it is important to strengthen our social fabric as we slowly recover from the worldwide health crisis. One feature is dedicated to the new Black Alumni Council, the first affinity group of the Georgetown University Alumni Association. This umbrella organization merges the missions of the African American Advisory Board, Soul Hoyas, and Black Alumni Summit. Their efforts will support Black students cur rently enrolled at the university and amplify the ideas of those who have graduated in order to build an even stronger community.

We also showcase the university’s success with the Fulbright Program. Did you know that nearly 500 Hoyas have participated since the program began 76 years ago? Thanks to these prestigious grants, Georgetown students are able to act as “people for others” in communities around the world. Be sure to read the sidebar on page 20 to learn how the Center for Research and Fellowships is available to help alumni apply for a Fulbright and follow their dreams.

In the last feature, learn about “Press Pause,” a weekly program to help students, faculty, and staff thrive at Georgetown. Designed and implemented by Campus Ministry, the program invites participants to experience different sacred spaces and faith traditions, with a focus on mindful contemplation. One student describes it as so fun and relaxing that it actually helps her concentrate. What could be more perfect during finals week, or anytime?

We hope you enjoy all these stories, including our Last Word (page 40) on stillness, silence, and simplicity. For many, autumn can feel like a rush, with a flurry of activities and to-dos before the cold, winter days set in. Perhaps you can “press pause” on your schedule and enjoy reading Georgetown Magazine.

Office of Advancement

R. Bartley Moore (SFS’87)

Vice President for Advancement

Amy Levin

Associate Vice President for Communications

Erin Greene

Assistant Vice President of Creative

Georgetown Magazine Staff

Camille Scarborough, Editorial Team Lead Jane Varner Malhotra (G’21), Features Editor

Elisa Morsch (G’20), Senior Director, Creative

Editorial Team

Gabrielle Barone, Karen Doss Bowman, Kate Colwell (G’20), Rosemary Lane, Patti North, Sara Piccini, Bhriana Smith

Design Team

Wanda Felsenhardt, Shikha Savdas

Project Manager

Hilary Koss

University Photographer

Phil Humnicky

Georgetown Magazine

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Address changes: 202-687-1994 or email

Fall 2022, Volume 53, Number 2 Georgetown Magazine (ISSN 1074-8784)

Georgetown Magazine is distributed free of charge to alumni, parents, faculty, and staff. The diverse views in the magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or official policies of the university.

Georgetown University provides equal opportunity in employment for all persons and prohibits discrimination and harassment in all aspects of employment because of age, color, disability, family responsibilities, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, matriculation, national origin, personal appearance, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other factor prohibited by law. Additionally, the university will use goodfaith efforts to achieve ethnic and gender diversity throughout the workforce. The university emphasizes recruitment of women, minority members, disabled individuals and veterans. Inquiries regarding Georgetown University’s nondiscrimination policy may be addressed to the Director of Affirmative Action Programs, Institutional Diversity, Equity & Affirmative Action, 37th and O Sts. NW, Suite M36, Darnall Hall, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, or call 202-687-4798.

Georgetown celebrates the life of Madeleine Albright

It is always an honor to know someone who changes the trajectory of history. Georgetown was lucky to know Madeleine Jana Korbel Albright, the first woman U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and cherished professor, who died earlier this year at the age of 84.

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, Albright was a distin guished diplomat, author, business leader, and human rights champion. A Georgetown Law parent, she joined the uni versity as a faculty member in 1982, serving as the Michael and Virginia Mortara Endowed Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy in the Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is remembered as someone who never missed a day of class, despite her global commitments and life work.

Her course “America’s National Security Toolbox” was a rite of passage for generations of students. Toward the end of each semester, her students put their knowledge to the test in an all-day simulation where they developed a U.S.

response to a foreign policy crisis. Her commitment to her students was evident through the pandemic, when she moved the entire course online and even added elements of the real-world crisis—the pandemic—to the curriculum.

Albright’s commitment to excellence and change extended beyond the classroom. From 1993 to 1997, she served as a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council and White House staff, as president of the Center for National Policy, and as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In 1997, she was appointed by Presi dent Bill Clinton as the first female Secretary of State. She became the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government during that era. In 2012, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama.

Albright will always be remembered as a committed teacher, a leader in global diplomacy, and an agent of change. •

Photo: Lisa Helfert Photo: Lisa Helfert Photo: Phil Humnicky

Georgetown partners with HBCU system

Georgetown has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Southern University System, a system of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), to collaborate on interdisciplinary programming, research, and training over the next five years.

“Southern University has been a terrific partner,” says Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. “We are very excited to identify areas of mutual interest and to work as partners as Southern continues its 142-year tradition of excellence.”

Southern University is the only historically Black university system in the U.S., offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees to more than 12,000 students across five campuses in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport, Louisiana. Southern University’s co-founder, John Sebastian Jones, is a Descendant whose ancestors were enslaved and sold by the Maryland Province of Jesuits in 1838, some proceeds of which supported Georgetown University.

This is not the first collaboration between Georgetown and Southern University. Most recently, Georgetown and Southern University System Foundation (SUSF) partnered to provide resources to communities in Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Ida. And beginning in 2018, Southern University served as the host location for the series of dialogue sessions with Jesuits, Georgetown leaders, and members of the Descendent commu nity. The dialogue sessions, which sought to explore sustainable actions and partnerships, led to the creation of the Descendents Truth & Reconciliation Foundation, a charitable organization

that focuses on racial healing and educational advancement for Descendants. Georgetown and Southern University both serve on the foundation’s board of trustees.

In the future, Georgetown and Southern University will work together on joint research and curriculum projects, the exchange of faculty and research scholars, faculty training and development, and grants and student pipeline programs.

“The programming that is currently underway between Georgetown University and Southern University has made a sizable impact throughout our university communities,” says Al Harrell III, CEO of SUSF. “We look forward to exploring new lines of research and connecting our students, faculty, and constituents to meaningful programs.”

The two partners signed the memorandum during the SUSF board of trustees retreat on April 22, which was hosted at Georgetown. The retreat, attended by Georgetown and SUSF leaders, included remarks and presentations from U.S. Rep. Troy Carter—who represents Louisiana’s second congressional district—and U.S. government leaders in education, policy, transportation, and agriculture.

“This partnership with Georgetown offers yet another avenue of success for our students and faculty,” says Southern University President Ray L. Belton. “With the brain trust composed of these top institutions of academics and research, the possibili ties are limitless.” •

Ray L. Belton (left), president of the Southern University System, and John J. DeGioia (right), president of Georgetown University, sign a memorandum of understanding in Riggs Library. Photo: Phil Humnicky

Global partnership focuses on well-being

Guided by its core values, Georgetown has joined with The Wellbeing Project, a global partnership focused on the well-being of those who advocate for social change: activists, nonprofit leaders, teachers, social workers, and health care providers.

“Well-being bridges the development of the inner self with the healing of the world,” says Randy Bass, vice president for strategic education initiatives and leader of the Red House, an incubator that furthers educational innovation at Georgetown. “That is not only fundamental to Jesuit education but also essential to a sustainable future. Nothing could be more appropriate for Georgetown’s involvement and leadership.”

Georgetown is the only higher education institution serving as a co-creating partner of the organization. The collaboration, which goes back several years, initially focused on Georgetown’s leadership of a Global Think Tank on intergenerational trauma and its community and systemic transmissions. The next area of research will address ecological belonging, in partnership with Earth Commons, Georgetown’s institute for environment and sustainability.

In 2022, Georgetown joined the Wellbeing, Inno vation and Social Change in Education Network (WISE), an extension of the Wellbeing Project that connects higher education institutions and orga nizations that are working to advance a culture of well-being. The move, led by Psychology Professor Jennifer Woolard, complements Cura Georgetown , a working group focused on strengthening George town’s community of care for its students, faculty, and staff.

In June 2022, 20 Georgetown students, faculty, and staff participated in the Wellbeing Project’s Summit for Social Change in Bilbao, Spain. Attendees from 80 countries enjoyed the interna tional debut of Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski , a one-man play created by Georgetown’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics. •

—Rosemary Lane

Supporting students affected by war in Ukraine

Alumni leaders Antonio Gracias (SFS’92, MSFS’93) and Sabrina Kuhl Gracias (B’93) have made a $5 million gift through the Gracias Family Foundation to immediately support the academic and personal financial needs of Georgetown students affected by the war in Ukraine.

“Aligning with Georgetown’s core value of service to others, we wanted Georgetown to be at the forefront of helping educate and offering tremendous support to both current and future students from Ukraine who are directly impacted by this crisis,” Sabrina Gracias says.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Gracias family reached out to Joel Hellman, dean of the Walsh School of Foreign Service, to determine how they could help provide stability and hope to students directly affected by the war.

“What I find most inspiring about these alumni is that they saw a crisis in the world, wanted to make a difference, and looked to Georgetown to make that difference,” Hellman says.

The Gracias Family Sunflower Current Use Scholarship Fund focuses on current or recently displaced residents of Ukraine. It provides scholarships to undergraduate students in all schools who demonstrate financial need, as well as merit-based scholarships to SFS graduate students. The gift also provides emergency funds to cover course materials, travel, health insur ance, room and board, living expenses, and visa expenses.

“As graduates of the university, Sabrina and I both know that Georgetown is an institution that cares deeply about the overall development and well-being of its students,” Antonio Gracias says. “We are very confident that Georgetown will provide an excellent education and a safe environment to heal the profound emotional trauma these students have suffered.” •


Founded in 1919, the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) is the largest school of international relations in the world and the oldest in the United States.


In July 2022, Georgetown began announcing plans for the launch of the Global Health Institute. We spoke with two of its founding leaders, John Monahan (C’83, L’87), senior advisor to President John J. DeGioia, and Sheila McMullan (G’99, L’08), managing director of the Global Health Initiative, which began in 2017.

How did the idea for a Global Health Institute come about?

John: We have many individual people working in global health at Georgetown, but we wanted to create a university-wide con nected community. The last five years with the Global Health Initiative—with the vital leadership of President DeGioia, Edward Healton, and Thomas Banchoff—has been proof of concept for how we can use our collective resources to make a difference in the world.

What are some of the activities and opportunities around global health?

John: We’ve sponsored many student-facing events and created opportunities for students to work on global health projects. The signature piece has been a university-wide Global Health Initiative Fellows program, a mentored research opportunity for students. There’s a lot of interest and it’s competitive—this year we had 90 applicants for 15 spots.

On the faculty-facing side we’ve created a grant program to support research, with innovative projects in global health and collaboration across disciplines.

We’ve had the Director General of the World Health Orga nization speak at Gaston Hall, and a Zoom interview early in the pandemic with Anthony Fauci. We convened a conference in 2017 on pandemic preparedness with Professor Rebecca Katz, director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security. A lot of the issues raised turned out to be true, such as a lack of readiness at the senior level of the presidential administration. In 2018 we held a 100-year retrospective on the 1918 flu pandemic, including a presentation from the library archivist who brought out campus infirmary records from 1918. And we continue to lead the global health law community through the exceptional work of University Professor Larry Gostin and his colleagues at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, the world’s premier health law center.

We nurtured this community of faculty, students, and staff that will soon have a permanent home—the Global Health Insti tute, a structure that creates a place for our regular convening.

Sheila: Most importantly, students have really been impacted by this work. Faculty have been paired with 80 student fellows for these projects, and have made a substantial difference to them. Students have had unique opportunities through the initiative. That’s where we’re going to see the impact for years to come—the experience that students have here is going to translate to how they live and work and continue their studies.

A number of global health experts have joined Georgetown in recent years, right?

John: Yes, we’ve had a number of strategic recruitments: Rebecca Katz and her team, opening the Center for Global Health Science and Security; Mark Dybul, when he returned from leading the Global Fund to create his new center; Deus Bazira, who joined us from the University of Maryland with


Georgetown Emergency Medical Response Service (GERMS) is one of the largest all-volunteer, student-run EMS organizations in the country.

Q&A with Global Health Institute founders Photo: Phil Humnicky

a group of people who have now built a substantial presence in sub Saharan Africa through the Center for Global Health Practice and Impact; and Charles Holmes, former chief medi cal officer at the State’s Department’s HIV program who is leading an important center working in Zambia and address ing other health policy issues.

Why is Georgetown the place for this?

John: We’ve known that health outcomes are affected by many things beyond health care, but the pandemic drove this home. Diplomacy, economics, government, the private sector—all of society affects health outcomes.

Georgetown is a place where people have strengths across disciplines. We’re a place where policymakers come to debate and discuss how to address these kinds of complicated cross-cutting issues. This is a moment to look at the global, national, and local ways in which our societies respond to and address health needs, and we are in a place where people can come together across disciplines to answer the hard questions.

The Global Health Institute will be a convening ground to find mechanisms that create real solutions.

Sheila: Looking at global health from the lens of ethics and responsibility gives Georgetown this unique perspective on

how we help the world. That’s very different from some of the other universities that are trying to take this on. Georgetown has a strong social justice mission that sets us apart.

How might alumni engage with the Global Health Institute?

Sheila: We are constantly searching for volunteers from the global health community to connect students to internships, full-time employment, and post-graduation mentorship. As we help to prepare the next generation of global health lead ers, it’s essential to connect students with alumni to further their exploration of global health.

John: This institute will be a place where we can tap into the expertise and experience of our alumni who are interested in working with Georgetown on future projects, whether they’re looking at particular disease issues, how to communicate in a post-pandemic world, how to think about policy—for all in global health looking for a place to convene with experts, the institute will be that hub.

I am excited about the Global Health Institute. It’s what we have been aiming to do over the last several years, to take these creative ideas and form them into something permanent that’s of service to the world. •

Exploring the link between climate change and pandemics

As the Earth’s climate continues to warm, researchers predict wild animals will be forced to relocate their habitats—likely to regions with large human populations—dramatically increas ing the risk of a viral jump to humans that could lead to the next pandemic.

In the April 2022 issue of Nature magazine, this link between climate change and viral transmission is described by an international research team led by scientists at Georgetown University.

In their study, the scientists conducted the first comprehensive assessment of how climate change will restructure the global mam malian virome. The work focuses on geographic range shifts, the journeys that species will undertake as they follow their habitats into new areas. As mammals encounter other mammals for the first time, the study projects they will share thousands of viruses.

The scientists say these shifts bring greater opportuni ties for viruses like Ebola or coronaviruses to emerge in new areas, making them harder to track, and into new types of animals, making it easier for viruses to jump across a “stepping stone” species into humans.

“It’s unclear exactly how these new viruses might affect the species involved, but it’s likely that many of them will translate to new conservation risks and fuel the emergence of novel outbreaks in humans,” says the study’s co-lead author, Gregory Albery, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at Georgetown College.

The study suggests that climate change will become the biggest upstream risk factor for disease emergence, exceeding higher-profile issues like deforestation, wildlife trade, and industrial agriculture. The authors say the solution is to pair wildlife disease surveillance with real-time studies of environmental change.

“When a Brazilian free-tailed bat makes it all the way to Appalachia, we should be invested in knowing what viruses are tagging along,” says the study’s lead author Colin Carlson, PhD, an assistant research professor at the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center. “Trying to spot these host jumps in real-time is the only way we’ll be able to prevent this process from leading to more spillovers and more pandemics.” • —Camille Scarborough


Hybrid institute supports higher education champions of diversity, equity, and inclusion

In 2019, Georgetown began hosting the Summer Institute on Equity in the Academic Experience, a free conference that supports problem-solving around issues affecting educational equity in higher education and network-building among staff, faculty, and administrators. Since its in-person inception, to fully remote, to the current hybrid model, the institute has tripled its size and national reach. This year, the institute— co-hosted in June by Xavier University and the American Talent Initiative, along with a cohort of leadership sites across the U.S.—drew 59 teams from 44 colleges and universities, totaling 425 attendees, 55 speakers, and 20 coaches.

The institute’s leaders at Georgetown—Susannah McGowan, director of curriculum initiatives at the Red House, Heidi Elmendorf, director of the Hub for Equity and Innovation in Higher Education, Randy Bass, vice president for Strategic Education Initiatives, Adanna Johnson, associate vice president for student equity and inclusion, and Maya Williams, program manager for the Office of Student Equity & Inclusion—credit this growth to accessibility, affordability, and impact.

“We have a lot of returning institutions bringing new projects and new people,” Elmendorf says. “We think from a sustain ability and equity perspective, the hybrid model supported by a network of leadership sites is one way to go.”

Participants champion effective outcomes for low-income and first-generation underrepresented students. Teams come to the institute with a goal for student success; they refine their plan by exchanging ideas with other schools and engaging in a series of workshops and customized coaching sessions. Each team leaves with an actionable plan.

At one of the institute’s featured roundtables, Rosemary Kilkenny, Georgetown’s vice president for diversity, equity, inclusion and chief diversity officer, and Rosario Ceballo, dean of Georgetown College of Arts & Sciences, spoke on protecting changemakers from burnout and emphasized the importance of collaborating with key stakeholders and beneficiaries of change.

“We’re not going to achieve change overnight,” Kilkenny says. “We have to take care of ourselves so we can take care of oth ers and our institutions.”

Ceballo affirmed the importance of recruiting, supporting, and retaining faculty who reflect the diversity of the United States.

“I want our community to understand that excellence in research and teaching is tied to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” she says. “Young faculty need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in order to thrive in academia.”

The institute’s impact has grown with time. Justin Keen, director of assessment and student-centered analytics at the University of Dayton, first attended in 2019 as a partici pant. By year three, members of the Dayton team planned seven projects to increase graduation rates for students who are eligible for Pell Grants. This year, Keen presented with Drew Allen, associate vice president for institutional data analytics at Georgetown, on data-driven strategies for improving equitable student outcomes.

“This work can be tiring and taxing,” Keen says. “Having a connection to people at other institutions doing this work has really been emotionally affirming.”

—Kate Colwell

The Healey Family Student Center held 10% of participants, while 90% tuned in from across the country; two participating school systems with multiple campuses, Pennsylvania State University and The Ohio State University, served as large, regional hubs. All sessions were coordinated through Zoom. Photo: Courtesy of Penn State Harrisburg

College Dean Rosario Ceballo on “healing, rebuilding, and reimagining”

Earlier this year, Rosario Ceballo joined the Georgetown community as dean of Georgetown College of Arts and Sciences. She previously worked at the University of Mich igan-Ann Arbor as associate dean for social sciences and professor of psychology and women’s and gender studies.

Ceballo’s interdisciplinary academic research has given her ample opportunities to think about how we approach chal lenges from a resilience mindset. She has studied infertility and reproductive difficulties among women of color, as well as how adolescents cope with community violence in lowincome and underserved neighborhoods. Both areas of study consider the strengths that enable people to endure through difficult life circumstances.

Recently, she outlined four goals for her deanship as she looks forward to the fall semester.

“My first goal is to be a fierce advocate for a liberal arts educa tion, because I believe it teaches students to dialogue across our differences respectfully, to remain open to new perspectives, to embrace intellectual exploration, to tolerate uncertainty, and to foster concern for the greater good, for service to others, and for social justice,” she explains. “People who can embrace these skills and insights are desperately needed in our world today.”

To that end, she’s excited to work on the creation of the university’s new Humanities Center.

She identifies a second, longer-term priority to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into every aspect of the College. “Diversity—in terms of race and ethnicity as well as gender, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, nationality, physical ability, and political ideology —is essential to our continued excellence as a liberal arts college and to our ability to maintain the highest standards in research and teaching.”

A third ongoing goal will be “to foster bridges across scholarly disciplines to address pressing world problems,” she explains. “Some of the most exciting, cutting-edge scholarship is being done by young scholars working in new, emerging fields at the

crossroads of several traditional disciplines.” As an example of this interdisciplinary work, she cites the upcoming B.S. degree in International Business, Language, and Culture (IBLC) to be offered jointly by Georgetown College and the McDonough School of Business.

Finally, Ceballo is looking forward to “inspiring and building a culture of purpose and well-being for all members of our intel lectual community. The people in the College are our most valuable resource, and as we learn to live with the experience of a pandemic, we will need to heal, rebuild, and reimagine ways of being together. For many young people, the pandemic has taken a large toll on their sense of stability and security.”

She believes that “the pandemic has also exacerbated many existing inequalities in our society and that we must search for ways to prioritize greater balance and well-being for all members of our community—students, faculty, and staff— as we move forward.”


“Stubby” or “Sgt. Stubby,” a dog of mixed pedigree, became the first Georgetown mascot in 1923. He served overseas during World War I with the 102nd Infantry and was decorated by both the American and French governments for his valorous service.

Photo: Levi Stroud

In spring 2019, hundreds of Hoyas came together in Boston for the annual John Carroll Weekend, honoring alumni impact and engagement. Longtime alumni leader and member of the university’s Board of Directors Tyree P. Jones Jr. (L’86, Parent’21) was one of the John Carroll Award recipients, and several friends gathered after the ceremony to celebrate.

Many knew each other from their shared interest in sup porting Black alumni over the years. They were affiliated with the African American Advisory Board (GUAAAB), Soul Hoyas, and the Black Alumni Summit. Before long,

the friends began discussing the possibility of unify ing their efforts. This conversation led to more formal meetings, and after several months, in partnership with the university and the Georgetown University Alumni Association (GUAA), the groundwork was laid for a new organization that would function as a cohesive, coordi nated vehicle to amplify the voices of the Black alumni community at Georgetown.

In July 2022, the GUAA proudly announced the forma tion of the Black Alumni Council, the first-ever affinity group to be established by the organization.

Clockwise from top left: Conan Louis (SLL’73, G’78, L’86), center, shares a laugh with LaToya Nelson Kamdang (B’97) and Donald Horton (C’72) at Reunion Weekend. • Winoka Wendy Wilkes (SFS’91) (front center, pink sneakers) organizes the Soul Hoyas reunion event each year. • Mannone Butler (B’94, L’99) and Eric Woods (B’91) co-chair the biennial Black Alumni Summit. Tyree P. Jones Jr. (L’86, Parent’21), member of the university’s Board of Directors, accepts the John Carroll Award in 2019. Mary Broadwater (C’87, L’91) reconnects with an old friend at Reunion Weekend 2022. Monika Dawson (B’17) and Nona Johnson (C’17) Photos: Lisa Helfert, Leslie Kossof, Rafael Suanes


Black organizing at Georgetown began with the forma tion of the Black Student Alliance (BSA) in 1968.

When Conan Louis (SLL’73, G’78, L’86) arrived on the Hilltop as a first-year in fall 1969, he was one of a very small number of Black students.

“During my first year there were 30 Black students out of 6,000 undergraduate students,” says Louis. “Of those 30, 23 were in my class, and that was the first ‘big class’ of Black students in Georgetown history.”

In the spring 1970, the BSA organized a protest at the president’s office to request changes that would help create a more supportive campus environment for Black students.

“All 30 of us marched into Father Henle’s office and, in typical 1970s fashion, we handed him a list of demands,” Louis recalls, smiling. “Among those were better recruit ment of minority students, integration of support systems for minority students, and some places to congregate. That is how the university gave us the Black House.”

In 1971, Louis was elected president of the Black Student Alliance, but he recalls a team of student leaders. “Some of the shoulders that I stood on include Jerry Yancey (SFS’71), Wendell Robinson (SFS’70, L’78), and Michael Barton (SFS’70).”

A self-described rabble-rouser, Louis faced off with the administration in his junior year over a new housing policy. His efforts were encouraged by the university’s Vice President of Administrative Services Dan Altobello.

“He said to me, ‘All that noise you’re making, that’s exactly what we want you to do because here, we teach you to speak truth to power.’ That conversation had a great impact on me.”

Louis has been involved in alumni affairs since he was a student, when he worked at the records department in Alumni House. An active alumni leader, he attended his first John Carroll Weekend in 1976 in Hershey, Pennsyl vania, when he proposed a Black Alumni Association. The Board of Governors approved it, but the broader base of support wasn’t there yet.

“We had it, sort of, for a few years, but I couldn’t gener ate enough interest to sustain it,” recalls Louis. He adds that he was the only Black person at that John Carroll Weekend, and that at most alumni events, attendance by Black alumni was extremely low.

“Many Black alumni held onto negative experiences from undergrad. For years, I was the lone voice saying, ‘This

place belongs to us just as much as it does to anybody else. Half of what you pay for is this network, and if you don’t avail yourself of it, you are missing out.’ I made that argument for years, and it fell on deaf ears.”


Together with his wife Gail Gillis-Louis (C’75), George town’s first Black cheerleader and now a prominent figure in the banking industry, Louis decided to start a Black alumni reception during Homecoming to help draw the community back to the Hilltop.

“Nobody ever came to Homecoming because it just wasn’t culturally their thing,” said Louis. “So we decided to make our own thing.”

In 1987 they created an event in honor of Patrick F. Healy, S.J., the first Black president of a predominantly white university, who led Georgetown from 1873 to 1882.

The couple organized the Patrick Healy Dinner for sev eral years without sponsorship from the university. That changed after three years when they invited university president Father Leo O’Donovan, S.J., who became the event’s first keynote speaker.

“That year we had about 100 people in the faculty dining room at Leavey. Father O’Donovan came every year after that, and when he was succeeded by President Jack DeGioia, he came every year. The Patrick Healy Dinner was the first formal way that we were able to get Black alumni back to the campus in any kind of numbers,” says Louis.

Over the years, Louis has found the event to have a unique, transformative energy.

“The Patrick Healy Dinner is special because you get a lot of folks who don’t come to anything else. Every single time, you meet somebody who has some story to tell about an issue they had while they were a student that soured them on the institution, but then being at the event makes them feel completely differently,” Louis says. “Invariably, there are people who come and it’s the first time they’ve been to anything at the university and all of a sudden, they’re engaged. It’s a celebration of excellence in the African American alumni community. And it’s just a feel-good event.”

The annual Patrick Healy Endowed Scholarship honors an alumnus, a university leader, and a student recipient of the Patrick Healy scholarship, and proceeds from the dinner support the scholarship.

Out of the successful launch of the Patrick Healy Dinner came the formation of another trailblazing organization.


“The year before Father O’Donovan left office, he con tacted Dennis Williams, head of the Center for Multicultural Equity & Access (CMEA) at the time, to create a vehicle for Black alumni involvement,” says Louis. Launched in 1999, the mission of the African American Advisory Board (GUAAAB) has been to foster inclusion, networking, and communication among Black students, alumni, faculty, and staff, and to advise university leadership on important issues and policies that will make a positive impact on the Black experience at Georgetown.


The trajectory of celebrating the Black experience and increasing engagement continued to grow with the 2009 founding of the Soul Hoyas reunion by Winoka Wendy Wilkes (SFS’91).

Nearly two decades after graduating, Wilkes and two fellow Black Hoyas—Lisa Young (C’92) and Keith Dent (B‘89)—connected over social media and decided to come back to the Hilltop for Reunion Weekend. Wilkes and Young joined Dent at his 20th Reunion festivities, and together they organized an unofficial party for Black alumni.

“We literally crashed their reunion,” she laughs. “Our makeshift party was essentially the genesis of the Soul Hoyas. Every year it got bigger and more organized.”

Over time, Soul Hoyas became more than just a great party. Under Wilkes leadership, the group prioritized five tenets for alumni engagement. She notes that it’s not just about contributing financially, but also about giving time and talent.

“The first tenet is support the Soul Hoyas, the second is attend the Healy Dinner, the third is go to John Carroll Weekend—it’s the most expensive event so do what you can—the fourth is to be a part of Black Alumni Summit, and the fifth is to be a Loyalty Soci ety member,” she explains. “Giving matters. It’s not about the amount, it’s about consistency. That money and activity is how we were all able to get to a table to create the Black Alumni Council.”

Black and white students encounter different aspects of Georgetown, notes Wilkes, and that’s important to consider for alumni engagement. “Our experiences on campus are vastly different. The university has begun to recognize that you have to engage with us differently.”

Wilkes believes that diverse alumni showing up helps the university be a better place for other alumni and for students.

“It’s imperative to come back, because there are people behind us who need us to come back. We need to lead by example.”

During the most recent reunion weekend, Soul Hoyas gathered on the Healy steps for an official photo to commemorate 13 years of organizing that helped lay the foundation for the new Black Alumni Council. The lively crowd that afternoon reflected the spirit of the community that has been celebrating Black Georgetown for more than a decade. Joyful and wel coming, the group cheered on latecomers who jogged up from the Healy Gates.

Wilkes can’t help smiling at the memory of that moment. “On the steps, those cheers were heard from Lauinger past ICC. That scene is who we are. We cheer our family on. We cheer when they succeed. We hold them up when they are weak. And we love on them unconditionally. We cheer them home.”


Overall, Eric Woods (B’91) had a positive time as an undergrad at Georgetown, but he notes that the same can’t be said for everybody.

“Not all of my Black or Brown classmates had the same experience I had,” says Woods. “Not all of them felt welcomed by the institution. I think that carries over into their alumni engagement. We all need to be engaged as alums to ensure that those who come behind us have better experiences and opportunities.”

A classmate of his attended Stanford University for graduate school, and they had a Black alumni event in New York City in 2015, Woods recalls. “We discussed how great something like that would be for George town.” Soon he and classmate Tammee Thompson (C’91) pitched the Black Alumni Summit concept to the university, and the event had nearly 300 attendees.

“We all need to be engaged as alums to ensure that those who come behind us have better experiences and opportunities.”

Held every other year since 2015, the Black Alumni Summit draws hundreds of Hoyas together to cel ebrate Black excellence.

“Our panels highlight the personal and professional experiences of Black alums,” explains Woods. “Who are the Black alums? What are they doing in their spaces? How can they impart knowledge and experi ence on the rest of us and the university more broadly?”


As Black alumni participation continued to increase, the course to a unified channel for engagement became clear.

“We brought together these three points of engage ment—the Black Alumni Summit, the Georgetown University African American Advisory Board, and Soul Hoyas—as an inaugural group, a governing body of the Black Alumni Council,” says Woods. “What we hope to do moving forward is create entry points for other people to be engaged, show leadership, bring in new ideas, and build upon what we’ve started.

Mannone Butler (B’94, L’99), chair of the GUAAAB and current co-chair of the Black Alumni Summit with Woods, echoes the importance of the new coun cil’s work going forward.

“Our community is integral to the university. Our experiences at Georgetown shaped, molded, refined, and pressure-tested us. Our alums have gone forth and prospered,” she notes. “I say prosper because we have teachers who are exquisite. We have artists who are impeccable in their craft. We have lawyers who are leading the charge, and so on. The Black Alumni Council is an opportunity to strengthen the alumni engagement work we’ve been doing, and formally con nect the dots. There is power in the collective.”

As an undergrad, Butler was a finance major who “fell in love” with her business school courses. “Georgetown helped me hone, develop, and exercise my voice.”

“My senior year, I made the decision to pursue a law education so that I could be able to help others develop their voices. The ethos of the university helped to cement that for me.” Today Butler is head of programs and partnerships for the NBA Social Justice Coalition.

The work to establish the Council has been underway for a little over two years now, and the leaders empha size that the success of its implementation would not have been possible without the participation of George town leadership, specifically President John J. DeGioia.

“His generosity of spirit, his commitment to service, to leading from a space of values, has always been a north star in my relationship to the university,” says Woods.

Council leaders also note that this historic next step in Black organizing on the Hilltop was also made possible by the active participation of Julia Farr (C’88, Parent’19, ’21, ’24), executive director of the Alumni Association.

“I invited Julie to be in on the formation discussions very early on in the process. She never missed a meet ing,” says Louis. “She’s been a great partner every step of the way.”

“Over a two-year period, we worked hand-in-glove with the Alumni Association to craft the first-ever affinity group,” says Butler. “It’s not lost on me that we are blaz ing a trail, finding even more ways to bring community members in. There’s this spiritual saying, ‘plenty good room at this table.’ We’re creating a table with plenty good room for the breadth of our community.”


This idea of working together, of truly being “people for others,” is one of the most important components of the Black Alumni Council, leaders say. The Coun cil will encompass voices of the Black community across main, medical, and law campuses.

“Having had experiences on both the main campus and Law Center, I know how different the vantage point

“What we hope to do moving forward is create entry points for other people to be engaged, show leadership, bring in new ideas, and build upon what we’ve started.”

is,” says Louis. “Those different voices make for a fuller engagement and ultimately a much more vibrant decision-making process.”

Butler notes that since the announcement, there has been an outpouring of support and interest. One of the ways the council is gauging the feedback of the Black community is by hosting focus groups.

“We want to hear from those who are figuring out ways to plug in and be engaged as alumni, but also those who have not yet raised their hand,” says Butler. “Let’s talk about your experience. Let’s talk about the ways that the council can support you.”

“I’ve been pleased to see Black alumni engagement grow,” notes Woods. “The Black Alumni Council will continue to catalyze that growth, because we aim to meet people where they are.”

“It’s about bringing the entire Black alumni community together in service of each other and also the university,” says Louis.

The Black Alumni Council aims to engage not just alumni, but students, faculty, and staff as well. It will also centralize events and programs hosted by the Black alumni organizations, including We Are Georgetown: Celebrating Our Black History. The oral history project launched by the GUAAAB in 2021 documents the rich

The Black Alumni Council is led by seven alumni: Mannone Butler (B’94, L’99), chair of Georgetown University African American Advisory Board, co-chair of the Black Alumni Summit, and member of the Georgetown University Alumni Association Board of Governors; Tyree P. Jones Jr. (L’86, Parent’21), member of the Board of Directors and past chair of the Georgetown University African American Advisory Board; Gail Gillis-Louis (C’75), member of the Georgetown University Alumni Association Board of Governors; Conan N. Louis (SLL’73, G’78, L’86), member of the Georgetown University Alumni Association Board of Governors; Tammee Thompson (C’91) , co-founder of the Black Alumni Summit and former vice chair of the Board of Regents; Winoka Wendy Wilkes (SFS’91), co-founder and chair of the Soul Hoya Alumni Group; and Eric Woods (B’91), co-founder and co-chair of the Black Alumni Summit and member of the Board of Regents.

experiences and contributions of Georgetown Univer sity’s Black community.

The African American Advisory Board, the Black Alumni Summit, and Soul Hoyas celebrate George town’s Black community but also highlight the chal lenges within it. The establishment of the council is not to deconstruct these organizations and events, but to add to them—to better organize the vehicle that carries these voices to other branches of the university.

Louis sees common threads among all alumni in the pursuit of justice. “When we say we are ‘people for oth ers,’ we’re serious about that. Everyone who graduates from here understands that that’s in your DNA now.” •


Georgetown became a national leader in U.S. Fulbright student awardees by coaching students to follow their passions and present a strong plan


As a student in the School of Foreign Service, Daniel Breslow (SFS’22) always planned to study abroad to build intercultural skills. But when the coronavirus pandemic shuttered travel programs at Georgetown University and around the globe, the international politics major began looking for alternatives.

Breslow’s dream of an enriching, cross-cultural experience will soon come true.

In September, Breslow will travel to Białystok, Poland, to begin service as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA). He is one of 47 Georgetown students and alumni receiving a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award for 2022–2023—a record number of Hoyas selected in one year. Georgetown, consistently named a “top producer” of Fulbright student awardees, ranks once again as a leading institution for Fulbright recipients for the current award cycle.

“Recognition for this achievement goes directly to our outstanding students and alumni who applied for a Fulbright on the belief that cultural exchange is fundamental to expanding mutual understanding and striving toward a more peaceful and tolerant world,” says Lauren Tuckley, director of George town’s Center for Research and Fellowships.



Breslow first heard about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program as a freshman, in his Russian language course taught by Iwona Sadowska, assistant teaching professor and director of Polish studies in the Depart ment of Slavic Languages.

During one of the class meet ings, Sadowska connected her students via Skype with Samantha Blond (SFS’18), who was then serving as a Fulbright

English Teaching Assistant in Kazakhstan. Blond shared her experiences of living and working in a Central Asian nation.

Sadowska was enthusiastic about the Fulbright program, long considered a form of “soft diploma cy” by the State Department. As Breslow recalls, she promised students that she would happily write a letter of recommendation if they decided to apply to the program.

“Four years later, I held her to that,” says Breslow, who minored in Russian language and earned a certificate in Eurasian, Russian, and East Euro pean studies. “I really credit Professor Sadowska for putting the Fulbright program on our radar and making students enthusiastic about it.”

Moments before presenting his senior capstone project in April, Breslow received word that he was selected for the ETA. Though he had applied for the program in Ukraine, Fulbright assignments in that nation are on hold due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The Fulbright selection committee instead offered him a placement at the University of Bialystok in Poland. Coincidentally, Bialystok was home to Breslow’s great-grandpar ents until they emigrated to the United States in the early 20th century.

Pictured in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2019, Daniel Breslow (SFS’22) is heading to Bialystok, Poland this fall to teach. Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Breslow

“This will be a once in a lifetime experience,” says Breslow, who leaves for Poland in September. “It’s a great opportunity to gain practical teaching experience. It’s kind of like a crucible—teaching in a foreign country with students and colleagues whose first language is not English. But I don’t think there could be a better experience to really clarify whether teaching is something I want to do in the long term.”


As a global university with a focus on serving the common good, Georgetown offers a rich environ ment for nurturing Fulbright recipients. Over the past decade, Hoyas have proven competitive for the Fulbright U.S. student program, with Georgetown consistently ranking among the top five research in stitution producers of Fulbright winners, including two straight years in the number one spot (2019–2020 and 2020–2021). During the same period, at least 140 students and alumni have applied each year to the program.

Since the Fulbright program launched 76 years ago, nearly 500 Hoyas have participated.

“Georgetown lives its commitment, as President DeGioia has described, to formation, inquiry, and the common good through classroom, campus, and community-based experiences,” Tuckley says. “We are proud of how many graduates have ampli fied these aims and continue to do so globally as Fulbrighters. The Center always enjoys working with students and alumni on this transformative journey, and we are committed to maintaining our strong institutional partnership with the Fulbright U.S. Student program.”

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program—adminis tered by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) in part nership with the Institute for International Educa tion (IIE)—strives to increase mutual understand ing between U.S. citizens and people from other countries through the exchange of knowledge and skills. The program offers year-long research, study, or English teaching assignments to about 8,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and profession als each year from the U.S. and over 150 countries.

Participants gain opportunities for professional development, intercultural awareness, and personal enrichment.

For Lavinia Taumoepeau-Latu, earning a Fulbright award to Tonga for the 2022–2023 academic year will allow her to hone her career skills while connecting with her heritage. A student in Georgetown’s Master of Professional Studies in Emergency and Disaster Management program, Taumoepeau-Latu has witnessed firsthand the chaos and destruction the Pacific Islands experi ence during extreme weather. She was working remotely in Tonga, her parents’ homeland, in 2018 when Tropical Cyclone Gita hit the island nation, causing widespread damage.

Taumoepeau-Latu’s Fulbright fellowship will in volve conducting research with the National Emer gency Management Office (NEMO) as part of an emergency and disaster preparedness project to develop a cultural curriculum and training focused on tsunami and volcanic eruptions in Tonga. She will document the project through film and foster meaningful connections across communities in the United States and Tonga.

Lavinia Taumoepeau-Latu (G’22) is researching emergency and disaster preparedness in Tonga, the homeland of her parents. Photos: Courtesy of Lavinia Taumoepeau-Latu

“When I went to Tonga for the first time in 2011, I had this overwhelming feeling come over me, as I realized that I was walking in places where my ancestors were from,” says Taumoepeau-Latu. “Throughout all the years that I was born and raised here in America, I had always longed to see this island where my family migrated from and to ex perience what it was like. Being able to connect to my Ton gan heritage and give back through the Fulbright project is an endeavor that is quite special and means a lot to me.”


Georgetown’s status as a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Student awardees hasn’t happened by accident. The Cen ter for Research and Fellowships (CRF), which guides students and alumni in pursuing a wide range of com petitive national and international fellowships, introduces the Fulbright program to students through blast emails, social media, in-person and virtual information sessions, and more. Once a student expresses interest, the CRF maintains contact through channels such as listservs.

“A huge factor in Georgetown’s success in the Fulbright program is that we offer a tremendous amount of support to ensure that students and alumni end up with a power ful application,” says CRF Fulbright coordinator Meg Gardinier. “They also get mentoring and faculty support, and they end up being very competitive candidates. They get all this support to really cultivate a very powerful and compelling application.”

The university’s campus culture of academic rigor, under graduate research, and intellectual curiosity also play a role in this achievement.

“We start with a highly educated and globally engaged applicant pool, so our students and alumni are especially competitive for those awards,” Gardinier says.

For Gavin Myers (C’17), receiving a Fulbright fellow ship provided the opportunity to explore his interest in the connections between food and culture. His award allowed him to pursue a master’s degree in gastronomy, with a concentration in world food cultures and mobility,

at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. He completed the program in March.

Myers, who is active in the Slow Food Movement, is in terested in social justice issues surrounding food. A South Dakota native with roots in the Sicangu Lakota tribe, Myers wants to use his knowledge to promote local and community-based food systems.

Myers is grateful for the support he received from CRF.

“The team at Georgetown was super helpful in guiding me and offering advice on my essays and other applica tion materials,” says Myers, who now serves as a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador. “They had a group of faculty mem bers review my application materials, and then we had a Zoom meeting where they lobbed questions at me to help me flesh out some weak points in my essay.”

Gavin Myers (C’17) studied gastronomy in Italy to learn more about how food and culture are connected, and how to support community-based food systems. Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Myers

Fulbright applications are due to Georgetown’s Center for Research and Fellowships (CRF) more than a year before the actual grant commences. Undergraduates hoping to go abroad in the academic year following their graduation, for example, should begin their application in the spring of their junior year. The national deadline for the program is October 12, but the CRF deadline is September 1 to allow time for the internal review process. Any Georgetown graduate with a bachelor’s or master’s degree (but not a doctorate) is eligible to apply through the CRF.

The process begins when students or alumni reach out to the CRF and set up a one-toone advising session. During that initial meeting, the CRF team member will explain the Fulbright program and help them find an opportunity that matches their interests and language skills (some programs require language proficiency). While some students come to the CRF with a clear direction in mind, others want guidance.

Once the applicant has determined which program to apply to, the CRF team will help them develop their proposal. The CRF offers workshops and webinars on topics such as proposal writing and provides mentoring throughout the process. Additionally, they offer valuable feedback on applicants’ es says and can set up mock interviews, giving applicants a chance to practice for the real Fulbright interview, which is done by a panel of judges.


An accomplished surfer, Emily “Emi” Koch (C’12) found her life’s purpose in the sea. As a student at Georgetown, the San Diego native founded Beyond the Surface International, a nonprofit that works with young learners from remote or marginalized small-scale fishing villages around the world. The organization promotes socio-ecological well-being, quality rural education, resilience, and ocean conservation through surfing, storytelling, and mindfulness workshops.

While pursuing a master’s degree in Marine Biodiversity & Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Koch explored ways to deepen her understanding of the challenges facing the fish-dependent communities her nonprofit engages. She also wanted to facilitate participatory community-based research on the impact of declining fish stocks on fish-dependent communities. She remembered hearing about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program during her time on the Hilltop and decided she should go for it.

“I thought the Fulbright sounded like just this extraordinary op portunity to immerse oneself in another culture and devote time to diving into this issue,” says Koch.

Koch reached out to Georgetown’s CRF to tap into the many resources and support services it offers students and alumni seeking research and fellowship opportunities. CRF Director Tuckley worked with Koch for months, offering feedback on her application materials and setting up a mock interview to prepare her for the Fulbright interview. Koch also took advantage of the webinars, listserv, and resources on the CRF website.

“Going into this, I expected that I would have to figure out ev erything on my own, but Georgetown was so supportive,” Koch says. “The office was so fantastic.”

Koch was awarded the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship for 2019–2020, a component of the Ful bright U.S. Student Program administered in partnership with the National Geographic Society.

“I had the perception that applying for and getting a Fulbright was very difficult, and I never imagined I would get one,” Koch says. “But the CRF at Georgetown was really helpful and work ing with them, I was able to craft a more competitive application.”

In October 2019, Koch arrived in Vietnam for her project, which set out to investigate fisheries scarcity and anthropogenic stress ors such as climate change on small-scale fisheries’ well-being through photography workshops with fish-dependent stakehold ers. She was intrigued that many of them took pictures of “whale temples,” containing coffins filled with whale bones. The people in the fishing communities revere whales, as they are thought to bring protection and prosperity.

The wordless images, revealing the perspectives of local fishers, leaves a powerful impression of some of the hardships they are facing, Koch says. “It was really interesting to learn that with


less fish in the sea, local communities were not only sinking deeper into poverty and food insecurity, but also their spiritual well-being was eroding.”

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic forced Koch to evacuate and pause the project early in March 2020. The good news: Last month, Koch was awarded the Scientific Exploration Society’s Elodie Sanford Explorer Award for Amateur Photography for her work in Vietnam which will enable her to return and complete her research in late 2023. Koch also received a second Fulbright Fellowship for 2022-2023. This time, she will go to

Greece, where she will facilitate a similar project. The data she gathers will be used to revamp the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Small-Scale Fisheries Guide lines to promote sustainabil ity of their livelihood against threats such as climate change and industrialization.

While Georgetown CRF was invaluable to Koch’s success ful Fulbright application, she says her overall undergraduate experience also played a role in preparing her for these opportunities.

“Georgetown is such a multicul tural place, with many inter national students and so many diverse perspectives in the class room,” Koch says. “I feel like I’ve been a bit of a chameleon, essentially being able to get dropped into a new place and being able to be receptive to these different perspectives I’ve encountered around the world.

“Georgetown also gave me the independence to figure things out. In Vietnam, I was in charge of my research and everything related to the project. Georgetown really prepared me to be able to resolve things on my own and meaningfully engage with communities throughout the world.”

For other students and alumni considering applying for a Fulbright, Koch offers this advice: “First of all, believe that it’s possible that you could get one of these awards,” Koch says. “Just focus on your pas sion and design your project around that. There’s so much support available at Georgetown, and if you put in the time and the effort, there’s a good chance that your application could be successful.” •

Ocean conservationist Emi Koch (C’12) led photography workshops with small-scale fisheries in Vietnam to help highlight challenges in the communities, including climate change. Photos: Courtesy of Emi Koch
Photo: Jordan Silverman Featuring contemplative practices from diverse faith traditions, Campus Ministry’s weekly Press Pause series provides an oasis of peace in a hectic world. BY SARA PICCINI | DESIGN BY SHIKHA SAVDAS

Students sing bhajans (hymns) while encircling the Icons with a ghee-lamp in the Hindu ritual of aarti, which asks God to bless the devotee’s heart and mind with love and compassion.

In the spring of her junior year, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Katie Ho (C’22) found herself missing a sense of commu nity outside of her virtual classes. “I had started to take an interest in learning about different religions and spiritual practices, so I began paying attention to the opportunities that Campus Ministry offered,” Ho says.

“I remember seeing an email announcing ‘Father Schenden leads an imaginative prayer experience for Lent,’” she continues. “I had no idea what an imaginative prayer was, or what Christians did during Lent. I appreciated how the email said students from any or no faith tradition were invited to attend.

“And right then and there, I felt welcome to show up,” Ho says.

The Lenten prayer session was Ho’s first introduction to the Campus Ministry program Press Pause, a weekly series for students, faculty, and staff featuring contemplative practices from diverse spiritual and religious traditions. “I liked it so much that I attended every session after that one,” she says.


Ho went on to become a Press Pause student leader when the series returned to an in-person format in Spring 2022. Student leaders play a pivotal role, helping to plan overall programming and working with individual faith leaders to design the weekly sessions and facilitate the group discussion that follows the contemplative practice.

Ho’s sessions included one featuring Sikh music, another focusing on the Jewish holiday Purim, and a third titled “Listening in the Sermonic Moment” led by Georgetown’s newest Protestant chaplain, Rev. Tau Vaughn Toney, in which participants listened to a recording of Prot estant theologian Howard Thurman delivering his sermon “What Do You Want, Really?”

“The beauty of Press Pause is that it gives students an opportunity to explore and find places of belonging, often in unexpected spaces,” Toney says. “They’re able to bring their gifts, their insights, and also take something away.


“In this day and age, we’re always listening to respond. We often don’t take time to really hear what people are saying,” he adds. “It was a breath of fresh air for all of us.”

In addition to promoting interfaith dialogue and exploration, Press Pause—as its name suggests—provides the opportunity for respite from the hectic pace of everyday life. Sessions are scheduled at the close of the day, from 5:15 to 6 p.m., when participants can quiet their phones, laptops, and racing minds for a few brief moments.

Student leaders as well as participants find the sessions to be an oasis. “Press Pause is work in a sense—I can be very stressed about it,” says student leader Paige Plucker (C’23). “Then I get there, and say, ‘Oh that’s right, this is all about centering myself,’ and then I feel at peace.

“You need to give yourself those opportunities to just stop.”


Press Pause, officially launched in 2019, grew out of an earlier Campus Ministry program called “Many Faces of Meditation,” held at the John Main Center for Meditation and Interreligious Dialogue on the Georgetown main campus.

“We wanted to be really careful about appro priation, so we moved away from using the term meditation unless it is specifically the practice that we’re doing in an individual ses sion,” says Diana Brown, Campus Ministry’s assistant director for interreligious engage ment, who oversees Press Pause.

“The emphasis on contemplative experiences has allowed us to think more broadly, to in clude meditation, music, prayer, chants, and sometimes contemplative forms of text studies, like the Ignatian Examen, for example,” Brown says. “We try really hard to let Press Pause be a space where we feel like we’re sitting at the feet of actual, living historical communities.”

Brown and her team are careful to strike a balance, making sessions accessible to all par ticipants regardless of their faith backgrounds, while at the same time respecting the depth of each practice.

Photo: Jordan Silverman

“Press Pause honors difference as a way to reveal the complex ity and the texture of how spiritual exercises are part of every tradition,” says Fr. Mark Bosco, S.J., vice president for Mis sion & Ministry. “In that regard, it’s very Ignatian—trying to find the analogies, the similarities, but also appreciating the differences.”

Another hallmark of Press Pause, Brown explains, is the experiential aspect of the program. “We wanted participants to be able to walk into a room and hopefully have a somewhat transformative experience, so that they feel differently when they walk out. That is really the baseline goal of Press Pause.”

During the pandemic, when sessions were virtual, the Press Pause team maintained the experiential element, rebranding the program as “Press Play” and including creative activities such as photography, poetry, journaling, and creative writing.

The shift back to in-person programming in Spring 2022 enabled Brown to introduce another innovation: holding ses sions in a variety of spaces across the Georgetown campus in addition to the John Main Center. These include the Jewish gathering space Makóm, the Islamic Masjid, Copley Crypt Chapel, the new Dharmic Meditation Center, and the newly named Servant of God Sr. Thea Bowman Chapel.

“It creates a richer, more meaningful experience,” Ho says. “There’s something about smelling the incense, or being in a space with particular lighting, listening to the music being played, feeling the coolness of the air on my skin, that is unique and special.”


As Ho notes, the diversity of programming and venues offered by Press Pause encourages participants to engage all their senses—appreciating the sights, scents, and sounds that are integral to most religious and spiritual practices.

Student leader Sargun Kaur (SFS’23) recalls a particularly memorable session held during her freshman year: a Navajo smudging ceremony, which involves the burning of herbs such as sage and sweetgrass for spiritual cleansing.

“Being an international student from India, I knew very little about Native American communities,” she says. “To be able to re ally immerse myself in a practice, in a way that I don’t think any other opportunity on

campus would have allowed me to do, was really valuable to me. Learning about how the Navajo really tie their spiritual ity into nature offered a different lens on faith.”

This spring, Kaur joined in sharing her own Sikh faith with the Georgetown community in a Press Pause session held at the Dharmic Meditation Center, “Experiencing Naam through Sikh Music and Sound,” led by student Divjot Bawa (SFS’23) and organized by Katie Ho.

“Our form of meditation is to close our eyes and remember the name of God—‘Naam’ in Punjabi means ‘name.’ Divjot incorporated music, which is integral to how we practice our faith,” Kaur says, explaining that Bawa played a Sikh instrument called the sarangi as the group engaged in the meditation practice.

“We had one of the largest turnouts of the semester,” she adds. “The knowledge that there were people out there interested in learning about the Sikh community was so rewarding.”

Music was also central to the spring session “Chanting and Reflecting on the Attributes of God,” held during Ramadan and led by Imam Yahya Hendi, director of Muslim Life, and resident minister Iman Saymeh.

“Sister Iman has an incredible voice,” says Paige Plucker. “As she sang, I felt the sense that my life is bigger than school, that I have all I need here, that God loves me and I’m okay. It was a profound moment.”

Music often plays an integral role for the Press Pause program, such as this session on Sikhism with Divjot Bawa (SFS’23) playing the sarangi.

Photo: Phil Humnicky


Plucker had the opportunity to help design two Press Pause sessions featuring Catholic contemplative practices, as well as an Orthodox Christian session with resident minister Abigail Dean. “One thing that Diana [Brown, of Campus Ministry] had us do purposely was to choose faith leaders who were not from our respective religions,” says Plucker, a member of Georgetown’s Jewish community.

For her program, Dean selected the Orthodox contemplative prayer “Grant Me to Greet the Coming Day with Peace.”

“I chose that particular prayer because it’s part of my morning prayer rule. I stumbled on it, either at the end of college or in seminary, and it just blew me away. I thought the words were just beautiful,” she says. “It was almost certainly written by female monastics, which I also love.

“I wanted to share it with students—I feel that if you can only say one prayer, it has everything you could possibly want in it.”

Dean explained to the group that an Orthodox prayer service is meant to be a very sensory experience, with iconography, incense and candles, chanting, and movement of the body. “In the Orthodox Church, the physical is a part of God’s creation. The concept of personhood is both body and soul,” she says.

Dean’s elucidation of the newly installed Orthodox iconog raphy in Copley Crypt Chapel—a gift from Michael (B’89)

and Robin Psaros (Parents’21)—was especially meaningful to the participants, few of whom had been in an Orthodox Church previously.

“People loved it,” says Plucker. “They were so engaged, they asked a ton of questions afterwards. Everyone was kind of in rapture.”

“Iconography is our sacred art,” Dean says. “It was something I really wanted to share with the group, so that if they ever go back to an Orthodox space they’ll have a sense of how to read it. When you walk in the door, for example, the icon that’s in the pedestal tells you what’s going on that day—what feast day we’re celebrating, what season we’re in. You get these helpful visual cues,” she explains.

“By the altar, you always have Christ on the right and the Theotokos, Mother Mary, on the left. Christ is always in blue, Mary is always wearing a dark burgundy red and has three stars on her robe. Then to Christ’s right you always have St. John the Baptist. And to the left of the Theotokos is typically the patron saint of the chapel you’re at,” Dean says.

“Once you know the code, it makes each space feel like home no matter where you are in the world,” she adds. “It reminds me a lot of my mother’s mantelpiece above the fireplace that’s filled with photos of our family members.”

Photo: Phil Humnicky Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart has been the university’s main chapel since 1892.


During her session, Dean invited participants to engage in prostrations—kneeling and touching the head to the floor—highlighting the importance of physical movement along with sensory experiences in Orthodox Christianity and many other faiths.

In the final Press Pause session of the spring semester, participants were invited to join in a Zen Buddhist Mahasati movement meditation, led by student Yanlin Wu (C’24) and organized by Sargun Kaur. Wu, an international student from China and current presi dent of the Georgetown Buddhist Student Association, leads a regular Friday night meditation session in the Dharmic Center.

“Because it was during finals, I thought we should switch up the vibe a little,” Wu says. “The Mahasati meditation involves following a set of movements of the hands. It’s easier than a guided meditation, especially for beginners.

“It’s fun and relaxing, and also helps with concentra tion,” she continues. “It’s something they can adopt for studying. For example, they can meditate on the movement of their hands while they’re writing to keep themselves focused.”

Wu was surprised that about a dozen people came to the session, despite it being held during exam week. “One person said, ‘I really felt like my life calmed, and all the stress of finals went away. I want to pursue this kind of peacefulness more,’” she relates. “I felt glad that the meditation led him to explore something new.”

She also was pleased that participants came from a vari ety of faith traditions—Christian, Hindu, Sikh. “It was interesting to see how Buddhist meditation was resonat ing with them, and how they found similar ideas in their own religions and cultures. You feel in that moment like there are so many connections between us.”


Diana Brown and the Campus Ministry team hope to see Press Pause continue to grow and evolve. “The secret sauce is keeping it a consistent, relatively low-key affair,” Brown says. “We don’t want to lose sight of the goal of Press Pause—being an accessible space that allows every one to just show up, walk in, and be who they are.”

Plucker adds: “My message would be, if you are an undergrad, graduate student, faculty or staff member, we’d love to have you. Like everyone else, you deserve a chance to just breathe.” •

Photo: Jordan Silverman

Biology professor and photographer Martha Weiss combines a gifted eye with a deep knowledge of plant and animal life and a loving curiosity about what is unfolding around her. The director of the Environmental Biology major and co-director of the Environ mental Studies program leaves no stone, log, or leaf unturned (the better to find fungi and salamanders!) as she explores the Hilltop and environs.

Research in her laboratory focuses on community ecology and plant-animal interactions. Currently she is investigating the indirect ecological effects of the Brood X periodical cicada emergence on the temperate forest community. She teaches a variety of courses, including Environment and Society, Urban Foraging Ecology, and Plants and Society.

This close-up of a marshmallow polypore fungus, growing on the side of a dead tree near GloverArchbold Park, has an otherworldly aura.


Above and moving clockwise:

Young castor bean leaves are expanding in the campus medicinal plant garden of Georgetown physiology and pharmacology professor Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman (M’88).

Milkweed bugs gather on the pod of a ripe milkweed fruit; the seeds are taking flight on their gossamer parachutes.

A young fawn rests in the Regents Hall garden, right outside the biology teaching laboratories, in Spring 2020 after most students returned home. The animal would never have ventured to this ordinarily bustling place during a regular semester.


‘We can be connected to Georgetown from anywhere’

GUAA Executive Director Julia Farr (C’88, Parent’19, ’21, ’24) talks with the new GUAA President Kelly Mulvoy Mangan (SFS’91, Parent’25)

What are some of your favorite moments at Georgetown?

One definitely was senior year when the Hoya basketball team made the Big East final. The final game was played on Sunday afternoon back then. However, Saturday night was senior night at the Pub, so we stayed at the Pub until closing (2 a.m. I think) and then several of us drove to my parents’ house in Rye, New York. My parents fed us bagels and then we drove to Madison Square Garden for the game. Unfortunately the Hoyas lost to Seton Hall, but cheering on our classmate Dikembe Mutombo (SLL’91, HON’10, Parent’19, ’22, ’25) was amazing.

Another special memory was being an Agape retreat leader in the spring of my senior year. Watching the sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial the morning of gradu ation is a memory I will never forget. And now I have to

add taking a picture with my husband and son in Healy Circle after his freshman convocation. I couldn’t even have dreamed of that when I graduated.

Tell me about your experience in the School of Foreign Service.

I loved SFS. I was challenged to look at history and current events from different perspectives and through different lenses. It made me realize the importance of stopping and thinking about issues before jumping to a conclusion. It also made me see nuance and gray areas. It’s hard to describe what it was like to be an SFS student when the Berlin Wall fell and the first Gulf War started. Living history and being taught by the profes sors who were explaining it to the rest of the world was just remarkable.

“We have a place in the Alumni Association for every member of our Hoya family,” says incoming GUAA President Kelly Mulvoy Mangan (SFS’91, Parent’25). Photo: Phil Humnicky

Why have you stayed engaged with Georgetown all these years?

I joined the Georgetown Club of Boston while I was in law school, and really enjoyed having a way to stay connected with Georgetown. I met great Hoyas and had the opportunity to do community service and get to know Boston. When I moved to New York, I joined the New York Club right away. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and excited to get people engaged and involved. I became active in Club leadership and was president of the New York Club when we hosted the John Carroll Weekend in 1998. Then I joined the Board of Governors of the Alumni Association. What’s been really wonderful is that my Georgetown family just keeps getting bigger. I have so many Hoya friends—and so many of them were not on campus when I was there. I’ve also been actively involved with the Class of 1991 since we graduated. So many friendships are stronger now than they were when we were students. I love feeling like I’m helping Hoyas connect with each other and remain connected to Georgetown.

What do you wish every Hoya knew about the Alumni Association?

I want every Hoya to know that the Alumni Association is their Hoya Home. We are here to engage with them where they live and to provide them with support through their professional and personal lives. We are keeping them connected to Georgetown and the entire Hoya community. We are celebrating their successes. We have a place in the Alumni Association for every member of our Hoya family.

What are your priorities as president?

Though our mission is the same, the GUAA leadership has become much more representative of the incredible diversity of our alumni population—whether you look at that by gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or geography. We’ve worked really hard to make alumni aware that while serving on the Board of Governors of the GUAA really is a pinnacle of their service to Georgetown, there are lots of different ways to get there and the door is open to anyone who is dedicated to Georgetown. As a result of that, our programming, com munication, and ways of engaging with our alumni have also become much more robust and differentiated.

Three areas of focus for the GUAA under my leadership are engagement, DEI, and communication. We are going to continue providing our alumni with access to meaning ful programming, volunteer opportunities, and resources. Through our work in the area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we will build and expand our GUAA communi ties, alumni alliances, and affinity groups. We want every Hoya to know that every part of who they are is recognized and celebrated by the association. And, like everyone else, we are going to be figuring out how to best operate in the new COVID normal. We had some alumni tell us they felt more connected to Georgetown than they had in years because of the huge array of virtual alumni programming we created during the pandemic. We don’t want to stop doing what helped us meet our mission during the past two and a half years. Of course there’s nothing like being on the Hilltop or anywhere around the world in a room full of other Hoyas, but we know that we can be connected to Georgetown from anywhere. •

How has the Alumni Association evolved since you began your service?
Kelly Mulvoy Mangan and her husband, Jim (C’92, L’95), celebrate the convocation of their son, Leo (C’25), in front of Healy Hall. Photo: Courtesy of Kelly Mulvoy
“Of course there’s nothing like being on the Hilltop or anywhere around the world in a room full of other Hoyas, but we know that we can be connected to Georgetown from anywhere.”

Day of service returns after pandemic hiatus

On April 30, alumni from around the world came together for the ninth annual Hoyas Give Baxa, a coordinated day of community service.

This uniquely Georgetown event invites alumni and their families to participate in such projects as hosting youth clinics for basketball, working to feed the unhoused, cleaning park trails, and more.

“One of our core Jesuit values is being a person for others,” says Sam Sanders (C’07, G’13), director of regional engage ment for the Georgetown University Alumni Association. “I’m thrilled that our alumni around the world choose, year after year, even with the impact of COVID-19, to help others in their hometowns.”

After a two-year hiatus necessitated by the global pandemic, the GUAA team brought the event back with a hybrid option: regional clubs could choose to participate virtually or in person.

The 2022 event saw 30 domestic projects and one international virtual one. Over 230 alumni participated.

“Hoyas Give Baxa is one of the best alumni programming events each year. It invites us to come together, to work together, and offer service rooted in justice and love,” shares Gabrielle Lambert (C’96), president of the Club of Los Angeles.

Each club chooses the local organization they will serve. For many, the event is a celebration of service as well as a project. For those who participated this year, Hoyas Give Baxa offered a chance to reconnect with fellow alumni after the forced separation of the pandemic.

“Volunteering at the LA Mission in particular allowed us to offer our time and hands to an organization that breaks the cycle of homelessness and poverty by stabilizing people in a safe and spiritual environment,” adds Lambert. “That community support is exactly what being people for others is all about!” •

—Camille Scarborough

DC Top right: The Club of Detroit worked at the facility for Cass Community Social Services. Bottom right: Partnering with the Los Angeles Mission, the Club of Los Angeles assembled food packages for homeless encampments and the Guardians of Love Foster Care program. France domestic projects international virtual project alumni participants Photo: Lissa Venosh Photo: Laura L’Esperance (MBA’01)
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Alumnus joins Biden administration’s agriculture equity commission

Earlier this year, Todd Corley (MBA’97) was appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s 15-member Equity Commission. An expert in organizational development, design thinking, and change management, he will collabo rate with leaders in public policy, economic development, civil rights, and other areas to “provide the Secretary of Agriculture with recommendations that create an infrastructure and ecosys tem supporting equitable practices throughout and on behalf of the USDA,” says Corley.

The commission was developed as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s focus on advancing equity for those who have been historically discriminated against and underserved across the agricultural ecosystem. Its membership is composed of rural and urban farmers, environmentalists, climate experts, scientists, and historians, including Mireya Loza, an associate professor in Georgetown’s Department of History and the American Studies program.

“I did not know Dr. Loza prior to joining the Equity Commis sion, however, I was immediately impressed by her command on historical influences, such as the role of immigration patterns on the food economy which has kept our agriculture thriving, vibrant, and sustainable,” adds Corley.

Corley is the senior vice president of inclusion, sustainability, and community at Carhartt, a global premium workwear brand. In that role, he is responsible for creating initiatives that strengthen the company’s commitment to environmental and social issues.

A recipient of the Nobel World Betterment Award, Corley has deep experience leading transformational change focused on promoting equity and belonging. He is credited with mitigat ing the reputational and financial losses following a landmark $50M EEOC discrimination case (Abercrombie v. Gonzalez). That experience is now the subject of the Netflix documentary White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch

While earning his MBA at Georgetown, he was influenced by the Jesuit principle of cura personalis, or care of the whole person. In particular, he recalls a conversation with one professor, Dr. Jose Guerrero-Cusumano, related to the Million Man March being held in D.C. when he was a Georgetown student. “He encouraged me to attend and lean into the experience, because as one of only seven Black male students in the MBA program it was important to be my authentic self, surrounded by other Black men, and imagine my endless possibilities.”

“ one of only seven Black male students in the MBA program it was important to be my authentic self, surrounded by other Black men, and imagine my endless possibilities.”
Photo: Brad Ziegler


Shortly after she began teaching at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2015, Yukari Iwatani Kane (SFS’95) received an email from a friend asking if she would be interested in serving as a journalism instructor at nearby San Quentin State Prison.

A veteran journalist, Kane had covered business and technology for Reuters and The Wall Street Journal , and published the bestseller Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs in 2014. Although unfamiliar with the crimi nal justice system, Kane said yes to the opportunity to work with San Quentin’s inmates, who produce the country’s only prisoner-run newspaper.

“From the first day, my perspective was upended—the talent and the drive of the men inside, the breadth and depth of their stories,” she says.

“As a journalist, there was so much I wanted to write about. But it was very quickly apparent to me that these were not my stories to tell.”

Seeking to empower and amplify the voices of incarcer ated men and women, Kane co-founded the nonprofit Prison Journalism Project (PJP) in 2019 with colleague Shaheen Pasha.

“Our goal is to create a national network of prison cor respondents, training them in the tools of journalism so

they can do this work credibly and with authority,” says Kane, who currently serves as PJP’s co-executive director.

PJP launched an online publication in Spring 2020, publishing approximately 1,500 pieces to date. Recent examples include a news article on a gang prevention summit at a Florida prison, and an essay from a Cali fornia inmate on “The Long Walk Home”—serving a life sentence without parole.

Other initiatives include a pilot journalism school and a print newspaper, PJP x Inside, that provides instruc tional tips for incarcerated writers. The organization shares its educational resources with other media outlets, recently developing a toolkit for newsrooms, the Prison Journalism Navigator.

As PJP continues to grow, one of Kane’s highest priorities is building a duty-of-care program. “It’s our obligation to look at everything we’re doing to protect the emotional, legal, and physical safety of our writers.”

Working in a far different environment than the news room of The Wall Street Journal , Kane has found herself looking anew at her profession. “What is the intent of journalism? What journalism rules are hard and fast, and what can we rethink? Those are the conversations we have every day. It’s why I love this work so much.” •

Photo: Courtesy of Yukari Iwatani Kane


As a student at Georgetown, Michael Sosulski (SLL’87) had two passions: German and jazz. While study ing abroad in Tübingen, Germany, Sosulski—a tenor saxophonist—formed a jazz band with fellow musicians. When they weren’t studying, the group traveled through out southwestern Germany playing professional gigs.

The experience inspired Sosulski to become a performer. After graduating from Georgetown, he enrolled at the renowned Berklee College of Music. After his first year, however, Sosulski felt called in a different direction.

“I learned a ton about myself in that year, including that I was not cut out to be a professional musician,” says Sosulski. “Sometimes in life you try things, and they don’t work out. That’s just as valuable [a lesson] as the things that do work out.”

Sosulski decided to follow in the footsteps of two of his favorite Georgetown professors: Heidi Byrnes (G’79, Parent), George M. Roth Distinguished Professor of German Emerita, and Rev. G. Ronald Murphy, S.J., also emeritus faculty. Their support and guidance set him on the path to a distinguished career as a German professor and higher education administrator. This fall, Sosulski will be inaugurated as the 31st President of Washington College, a small, private liberal arts insti tution located in Chestertown, Maryland. Established with a donation of 50 guineas by George Washington in

1782, Washington College was the first American college founded after the new republic was formed.

“Georgetown has been with me every step of the way,” says Sosulski, who also earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Germanic Studies from the University of Chicago. “Father Murphy was a nurturing teacher and professor. And Dr. Byrnes modeled how to be a power ful researcher and a great teacher. She has continued as a mentor throughout my career.”

Before taking the helm at Washington College, Sosulski was provost at Wofford College in South Carolina. He also held faculty and administrative roles at Kalamazoo College and Pacific Lutheran University.

Sosulski is driven by the “deep and abiding belief in the value of a liberal arts education.”

“The liberal arts approach is the best model I’ve expe rienced for developing deep, critical thinkers—people who understand how to evaluate complicated, thorny problems from multiple perspectives, not just one,” says Sosulski, who is married to Corinne P. Crane (G’08), an associate professor of German at the University of Alabama. “Institutions like Georgetown that remain liberal arts institutions at their center prepare gradu ates to face society’s rapidly changing landscape and complex challenges.”

Photo: Washington College

Alumna celebrates the swashbuckling women of history

Laura Sook Duncombe (L’11) has been obsessed with pirates since watching Peter Pan at age 5. Growing up, she felt drawn to alternative ways of being a woman, along with questions about the nature of right and wrong. These interests converge in her latest book, A Pirate’s Life for She: Swashbuckling Women Through the Ages.

The narrative collection spans time and space, from Norse princess Alfhild to Muslim ruler and pirate queen Sayyida al-Hurra, to the most successful pirate in history, Cheng I Sao. It explores the motivations of pirate women: revenge, escape, glory, adventure, and power. These historical figures took up piracy for different reasons, with a unifying desire for a better life.

“Every woman I know has been told at some point in her life, ‘this is a male-only space,’ whether implicitly or explicitly,” Duncombe says. “Pirates are relatable because we’ve all felt the desire to have something that we’ve been told we cannot have. These women said, ‘I’m gonna take it.’ I think that’s admirable—not the methods, but why they did what they did. We could all take a lesson from their courage, if not from their swashbuckling.”

In writing this book, Duncombe consumed official historical accounts with a grain of salt. She pored through archives in the Library of Congress and scoured the internet for songs and stories about female pirates. Considering that history is often written by the powerful, Duncombe advises readers to consider the source and the agenda behind every story.

“These women were used as tools by ruling class men, as cautionary tales,” Duncombe says. “Historians were twisting the stories for their own ends. When you’re listening to a

story, you should see why that person is telling that story. It’s important to examine the biases of your storyteller, because none of us is without bias.”

Duncombe’s critical thinking served her well in her legal career. As a student at Georgetown Law, Duncombe sought to be a public defender, so she joined the Juvenile Justice Clinic, where she worked to preserve justice for children who admitted to wrongdoing.

“Pirates are relatable because we’ve all felt the desire to have something that we’ve been told we cannot have.”

“It was a matter of treating them fairly,” she says. “The justice system is stacked against minorities and people in poverty. That experience made me think about the relative nature of good and bad in an adversarial law system.”

In her research as a writer, Duncombe sees a link between socioeconomic inequality and piracy.

“Everyone is a product of their circumstances,” she says “Desper ate people make choices that we wouldn’t necessarily agree with. You don’t become a pirate if you have another, better option.”

Duncombe celebrates the enduring appeal of pirate narratives.

“Everybody wants to be able to choose their own path,” she says. “You cannot put a dollar value on one’s freedom.” •

The son of author Laura Sook Duncombe (L’11) steals the show at her book-signing event. Photo: Sandy Sook

Hoya author recommends vitamin D in book series

When Susan Rex Ryan (SLL’75) retired from the federal government, she never expected to write one book, let alone five. But her career as a writer began when she started feeling fatigued with muscle aches and joint pain. ”I felt terrible,” she recalled. “Just doing a load of laundry seemed like a big job.”

When conventional treatments didn’t help, she decided to investigate on her own, attending medical conferences and seminars, and reading medical journals. After a simple blood test, she learned that she was suffering from vitamin D deficiency.

After she began taking a vitamin D3 supplement, she found that her symptoms disappeared.

“Vitamin D cannot be patented, so it isn’t a corporate moneymaker,” Ryan says. “It felt like I learned a secret that really needs to be shared, so I wrote Defend Your Life.” Her first book led to the writing of two additional vitamin D books that review medical research in language that lay readers can understand.

Further investigation led her to numerous scientific studies that showed a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and a variety of illnesses and conditions, including arthritis, muscle aches, and chronic pain. Ryan’s research led her to still other studies that associate vitamin D deficiency with aging, cancer, even the common cold.

Her latest book, inspired by the pandemic, explores the role of vitamin D and immunity, with a focus on contagious respiratory illnesses. For example, a 2021 study by University of Florida researchers found that COVID-19 patients with vitamin D deficiency were 4.6 times more likely to test posi tive for the illness than patients without it. U.S. researcher Dr. William B. Grant concluded “severe vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of COVID-19 severity and fatal outcome.” Another 2021 study concluded that low vitamin D is a “predictor rather than just a side effect of the infection.”

Her other self-help books delve into topics ranging from what to expect from cataract surgery to DNA’s role in depression. •

—Patti North
“It felt like I learned a secret that really needs to be shared.”
Photo: Courtesy of Susan Rex Ryan Susan Rex Ryan (SLL’75) started writing self-help after her retirement from the U.S. government, where her service included leading non-proliferation efforts for nuclear and chemical weapons security.

Lives Well Lived honors a few alumni who have recently passed away. We share with you these portraits of alumni who have made an indelible impact living day to day as people for others. Memories collected by Patti North. You can find a more complete list at

Jerry Longarzo Jr.

Entertainment lawyer and Grammy winner Jerry A. Longarzo Jr. (B’84, L’87, Parent’22) died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, California.

A double Hoya, he received his business degree from the university and J.D. degree from Georgetown Law Center. He was proud to serve on the Board of Advisors and Parents Advisory Council for the McDonough School of Business.

Jerry started his career at the law firm Lord Day & Lord. He moved to Los Angeles for a position at The Golf Channel and then served The Walt Disney Company, managing many successful television shows.

Jerry held senior positions at Fox Television Studios and CBS/Para mount before starting his own law practice, Longarzo Vance Klevan Freid LLP. His work there earned him a Grammy for Best Music Film as executive producer on HBO’s The Defiant Ones

Jerry is survived by Diana Longarzo, his wife of 23 years, and three sons Jack (B’22), Luke, and Dante Longarzo.

“Jerry loved being a part of the Georgetown community,” recalls Diana. “He would have loved to see Jack graduate this past May. A part of him will always remain at Georgetown.”

Donations may be made to Cedars-Sinai Cancer Center, with a designation to pancreatic cancer.

Marsha Anne Fausti

Alumna and former Georgetown faculty member Marsha Fausti (C’92, G’94) passed away on Feb. 16, 2022. She graduated at 17 from Mt. Hope High School in West Virginia as the class salutatorian and later moved to Washington, D.C., where she was a secretary with several federal agencies.

She, her children, and second husband John Fausti lived in Maryland. As her children left the nest, she completed her education, obtaining her Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degrees from Georgetown.

She taught four years for the Georgetown Community Scholars Program before accepting a teaching position at the University of Pennsylvania in 2000, specializing in African American literature. She received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 2001. Marsha later left the University of Pennsylvania and returned to Maryland to teach at Montgomery College in Rockville.

She leaves her children, Odyssey Egans Gray III and Monica Charisse Parchment, and two grandchildren: Jade Allyse Parchment and Riley Gabrielle Parchment.

Odyssey and Monica said, “Our mom loved learning and took a personal interest in her students at Georgetown. She enabled their ability to reach their fullest potential and recognized how valuable it was for them to succeed with a degree from Georgetown. She loved her time there.”


Peter Earnest

Peter Earnest (C’55), 36-year veteran of the CIA’s clandestine service and founding executive director of the International Spy Museum, passed away of congestive heart failure at 88 in Arlington, Virginia.

He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on New Year’s Day, 1934, to a U.S. Foreign Service Officer and an English mother. He grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, and attended Georgetown Preparatory School. Peter studied government and history at Georgetown University, graduated in 1955, and then served his country as a marine with a tour of duty in Japan.

Peter was recruited by the CIA in 1957 and served overseas primarily in Europe and the Middle East. In interviews he fondly recounted what he refers to as his “Bond moment,” when he was invited to a black tie reception at the home of an asset suspected of being a double agent. While the host was engaged with his other guests, Peter slipped into the man’s office. Carefully placing a handkerchief on his tuxedo to catch the sawdust, he installed a recording device before returning to the party. The recording confirmed that the man was indeed a double agent.

After retiring from the agency, he co-authored two books including Business Confidential: Lessons for Corporate Success from Inside the CIA (2010), a management guide, and Harry Potter and the Art of Spying (2014), which analyzed espionage in J.K. Rowling’s novels.

In 2001, he was recruited to head the then-new International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. During his tenure, the museum hosted more than 9 million visitors. His affable and gregarious nature belied his clandestine experience. People thought of him as an unlikely spy. He often joked, “The best spies don’t seem like spies.”

Peter was sought after for media appearances and enjoyed pulling the curtain back judiciously on clandestine life. He claimed people most wanted to know how many people he killed. Pressed on that point by Stephen Colbert in a 2008 interview, he said “none.” Colbert said “Would you tell me if you had?” Peter replied, “I would probably hedge on that.” “I’ll put you down for seven,” Colbert said.

Tamara Christian, current president and COO of the International Spy Museum, said “Peter made a giant impact on the Spy Museum and on the Intelligence Community. He believed in transparency and openness. He wanted to help the public understand intelligence and be good consumers of information and the news.”

His wife Karen Rice recalled, “Peter greatly valued the Jesuit education he got at Georgetown. He often said it taught him not only to learn, but to think. And not only to think, but also to apply that knowledge and thinking.”

In addition to his wife Karen, survivors include four daughters from his first marriage to Janet Chesney: Nancy Cintorino, Sheila Gorman, Patricia Earnest, and Carol Earnest; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.


Near Dahlgren Quad at the corner of Old North Way and Library Walk stands the oldest and smallest building on campus, erected in 1792. A silver plaque welcomes visitors to Anne Marie Becraft Hall and the John Main Center (JMC), where “all are welcome.”

This unassuming refuge, which might easily be missed amid our hectic lives, embodies what it hopes to offer to all: stillness, silence, and simplicity. It invites all to come uniquely as individuals from all spiritual, religious, or philosophical persuasions—or from no particular tradition—to gather with others in solidarity.

As the program director for the JMC since October 2019, I’ve crossed the center’s threshold many times both in-person and virtually. An intentional practice of stillness and silence in solitude or with others helps us transition from the inordinate demands of unrelenting “doing” to the simple essence of “being.” During these harrowing and precarious times, there is nothing more urgent than to create, hold, and cultivate such a space.

During the pandemic, on both global and intimate scales, we have become witnesses to each other’s own unique losses as well as everyday acts of compassion and courage. What anchors us as we pivot from moment to moment between feeling oceans of grief and finding reservoirs of resilience? How can we attend to our suffering world with healing and justice, wholeness and hope, love and peace?

The writings of Jesuit theologian Walter Burghardt and Carmelite pioneer William McNamara describe

An intentional practice of stillness and silence in solitude or with others helps us transition from the inordinate demands of unrelenting “doing” to the simple essence of “being.”

“contemplation” as engaging in “long, loving looks at the real.” In practicing meditation, we begin to redress our pervasive inattentiveness towards ourselves, each other, and all of creation which is at the root of so much suffering in our world. Fundamentally, the contemplative and meditative discipline of paying full attention to “the real”—whether in silence, stillness, or Ignatian imaginative prayer—is an intentional and responsive act of love.

As we prepare to re-enter the thresholds of our lives, the hope then, for all who practice these ancient, universal practices, is to fortify both our own basic healthiness of spirit and to attend more lovingly to our complex, contemporary realities “reformed, reunited, re-created,” as John Main once said. •

Lisa Directo Davis, Program Director for the John Main Center for Meditation & Interreligious Dialogue, on stillness, silence, and simplicity Photo: Phil Humnicky


2115 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 400 Washington, DC 20007

This red chanterelle, which grows in association with beech and other hardwood trees, is an occasional autumnal surprise in the woods on the western edge of campus. See page 28 for more photos by Professor Martha Weiss.

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