John “Jack” DeGioia
President, Georgetown University
Alumni visiting Georgetown for the first time after a long gap might find that two buildings looked familiar, but their names were not. Each had been re- named in 2017, the first for a slave sold by the Georgetown Jesuits in the 19th century, and the second for a woman of color.
This was part of the university’s response to the revelation that slaves had been sold to raise funds for the college in 1838. In apologizing for the action, Georgetown President John DeGioia said slavery was the “original evil of our republic – an evil that our university was complicit with.
” Under his direction since 2001, the university – the oldest Catholic college in the United States (1789) – has occasionally earned rebukes from the local hierarchy and from conservative Catholics, but remains consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the nation.