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View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

Georgetown University Timeline

A timeline of significant events in the history of Georgetown University



Fr. Edmund Walsh standing next to a globe teaching ASTP in military uniform  Edmund Walsh with ASTP cadets, 1944




Glenn Miller plays at the Senior Ball, May 17

Nursing School begins a five-year program in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences which leads to a bachelor of science in nursing




Georgetown plays in the Orange Bowl, January 1. Depleted by injuries, the Hoya lose to the Mississippi State Maroons, 14 to 7

WGTB, a student-run radio station, is established

Historian Carroll Quigley joins the faculty




Lawrence C. Gorman, S.J., is  appointed President. He serves until 1949

Accelerated course of study is introduced in July, due to World War II

J. Hunter Guthrie, S.J. becomes Dean of the Graduate School




Graduate School admits a small number of women students

"Butch",  a Great Dane, becomes the Georgetown Mascot

War Department designates Georgetown as one of a select number of colleges around the country to house Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) in April. The program’s object is to train soldiers for specific Army needs (in fields such as medicine, engineering, science, and languages)




Women are able to enroll in the Foreign Service School to shore up enrollment numbers which are declining because of the war

Nursing School introduces a five-year program with two academic and three clinical years

 Robert A. Duffey, C’1944, is killed in combat in Germany. The University's scholar-athlete award, presented annually to the senior who best embodies the Jesuit educational philosophy of combining athletic achievement with academic excellence, is named in his honor

Aggregate enrollment falls to 1600




Marie Stoll is the first women to be appointed Registrar at the Law Center

Veterans Administration establishes an office in Old North to assist former service men enrolling under the G.I Bill in May. By spring 1946, veterans make up more than 4/5ths of students in the Foreign Service School

Kenneth C. Engles, C’1946, becomes the only player-coach in Georgetown's basketball history 

Doris Day, then the vocalist with the Les Brown Orchestra, sings at a formal dance, December 8




Anne S. Lawrence and Mary Alice Sheridan are the first women to graduate with a BSFS degree from the Foreign Service School, due in part to credits transferred from other schools

Georgetown Chimes are founded by Frank Jones (LL.B., 1948, LL.M., 1952)




Fire breaks out in Isaac Hawkins Hall, destroying its top floor. The building was subsequently repaired and the fourth floor and roof were rebuilt to a different configuration.

Georgetown University Hospital moves onto campus off Reservoir Road, from its original buildings on Prospect, N, and 35th streets, on July 31

Boxing becomes a varsity sport under the direction of Coach Marty Gallagher, a former professional Washington heavyweight

Students drive to Philadelphia and “catnap” Villanova mascot (a bobcat named Count Villain III) a week before the GU-Villanova football games in November. The cat is kept in the basement of Healy Hall and then returned.




Concepcion A. Aguila is the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from Georgetown as a regular degree seeking student 

Five African-American students enroll in the Law School; four will graduate

Campaign to raise $800,000 from alumni for a new gymnasium to be named for Fr. Vincent McDonough, longtime moderator of athletics begins




British novelist Evelyn Waugh lectures in Gaston Hall on February 10

Sarah Stewart is the first woman to graduate from the Medical School. Dr. Stewart becomes an instructor in the Medical School in 1944.  At that time, the school is not accepting women as regular students.  When that policy changes in 1947, she enrolls

Two African-American men, Samuel Halsey and Oscar Morrison, enroll in the Foreign Service School. Samuel Halsey graduates in 1953; Oscar Morrison transfers to GW because its tuition is cheaper

Institute of Languages and Linguistics opens as an off-shoot of the School of Foreign Service. It is located at 1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, and is the first school in the U.S. to offer courses leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Languages. Women are able to enroll in Institute 

J. Hunter Guthrie, S.J. becomes President

Alumni Association incorporates as a independent organization

Jan Karski begins teaching in the Foreign Service school. He remains at Georgetown for four decades. He played an active role in the anti-Nazi underground after his home country of Poland was invaded in 1939. In 1942-1943, he provided some of the first accounts of the Holocaust to the West when he reported to the Polish government-in-exile and the British and American governments about what he had seen in Poland




Groundbreaking ceremony for McDonough Memorial Gym is held on  May 20

Class of 1950 presents the University with a statue of Our Lady of Fatima as their class gift. Made of Carrara marble in Italy, the original statue is broken as it is loaded on a ship for its journey to the U.S. A second statue is made which arrives just in time to be dedicated at commencement. It is placed on Copley lawn

Medical School celebrates it centennial on June 9

Institute of Languages and Linguistics offers classes in thirty different languages




University President J. Hunter Guthrie, S.J. eliminates intercollegiate football in March

Mary Stanley is the first woman to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree from Business Division which is then still part of the School of Foreign Service

Patricia Anna Collier is the first woman to enroll in the Law School in the summer.  Six additional women join her in the fall

University purchases of bricks damaged in the War of 1812 from the White House which is under renovation. They are incorporated into a fireplace in McDonough Gymnasium

McDonough Memorial Gym opens in December, allowing home games to be played on campus for the first time since the 1930-1931 season. The first game is played on December 7 against Fordham and ends with a score of 57-50 in Fordham’s favor

Nursing School introduces an integrated four-year degree

Brian McGrath, S.J. becomes Dean of the college

University Development Office is set up with Fr. Charles Foley as the first director




Women’s Athletic Association (WAA) is established by a group of women students in the Nursing School. Its initial focus is on intramural basketball; field hockey, swimming, tennis, horseback riding are later added. The Association opens to women students outside the Nursing School in 1963

Edward B. Bunn, S.J. is appointed as University President

Bachelor’s program in linguistics approved 

Patricia Bauer becomes the first African American to enroll in the Nursing School




One of the only two inaugural balls held in honor of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower takes place in McDonough Gymnasium, January 20

Nursing student Patricia Bauer is refused treatment at the Dental School’s Clinic due to its policy of only treating white patients

Mary Margaret Lewis, a New York artist, paints a mural of John Carroll, the founder of Georgetown University, on the grand staircase in Healy Hall

Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, is awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in a Gaston Hall ceremony on April 7

Ryan Gym is converted into offices for university records, development, accounting, treasurer, public relations and placement at a cost of $213,000

Samuel A. Halsey becomes the first African American to earn an undergraduate degree when he graduates from the Foreign Service School

Sadako Ogata earns a master’s degree in international relations; in 1990 she becomes the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Graves in the College Graveyard or Old Burial Ground, which is located on the incline where Reiss Science now stands, are moved to Mount Olivet Cemetery, with one exception. Susan Decatur, who died in 1860, is moved to Holy Rood Cemetery on Wisconsin Avenue

Nursing School celebrates its 50th anniversary in November. The celebration includes a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Nursing School building




First practical machine translation of language successfully takes place in January. This becomes known as the Georgetown-IBM experiment

First woman enrolls in the Doctor of Dental Surgery program at Georgetown

Women are able to take day classes in Foreign Service School. Prior to this date, they are limited to evening classes

Inaugural class is  selected for the Georgetown Athletic Hall of Fame

James B. Horigan, S.J. is appointed as Director of University Libraries 

Summer School conducts its first classes

Fundraising begins for a new science building

Donn Murphy becomes director of Mask and Bauble




Kathleen D. “Skippy” White, a student in the Nursing School and member of the GU sailing team, is the first Georgetown  woman to win a varsity letter. As half of a two-member team sailing in Class A dinghy competition, she successfully competes with – and against – men

Valerie A. Earle is the first woman appointed to the faculty of the Business Division

Position of Academic Vice-President is created. The AVP has authority over all main campus schools. Brian McGrath, S.J. is appointed to the role

Vera Rubin is hired as a research associate. She serves as assistant professor of astronomy between 1962 and 1965. A few years later she makes groundbreaking observations that provide evidence for the existence of a vast amount of dark matter in galaxies, changing the way scientists think of the universe.  In January 2020, the National Science Foundation names a telescope designed to conduct “a vast astronomical survey” for her




St. Mary’s Hall opens, allowing nursing students to move onto campus for the first time

Glee Club sings on the Ed Sullivan Show on CBS, on Easter Sunday, 1956

Machine Translation Research Center is established in the Institute of Languages and Linguistics

Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., organizer of the Foreign Service School, dies




Helen E. Steinbinder is the first woman appointed to the Law School faculty when she is hired to teach Real Property

James B. Horigan, S.J. is appointed Dean of the Graduate School

Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Association enforces an existing rule excluding women and bars Skippy White and Georgetown’s second “letterwoman”, Carole Bloise – like White a member of the sailing team – from competition

Division of Business Administration separates from the Foreign Service School and becomes a school

Foreign Service School is named in Father Edmund A. Walsh's honor




George Washington Crew Coach, Fred Maletz, posts a notice in Georgetown restaurant in spring, looking for recruits to help the GW crew practice. After 45 Hoya undergraduates respond, Maletz finds himself coaching two crews. He coaches the Georgetown crew without pay

Sister Martha Mary Mehrl becomes the first woman to graduate from the Dental School

Walsh Memorial Building is dedicated on October 13. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower is awarded an honorary degree at the event. The buildings costs $1.2 million

Georgetown University Hospital launches a practical nursing program which ends in 1964




Gorman Building is dedicated on March 19 by the President of Ireland, Sean O’Kelly

New South opens in fall. Construction costs $3 million

Institute of Languages and Linguistics separates from the Foreign Service School and becomes a school



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