Georgetown University Historical Walking Tour

Take a walk through the history of Georgetown University's campus.

Georgetown University Historical Walking Tour

Washington, Fort Lesley J. McNair, District of Columbia 20007, United States

Created By: Richie Mullaney

Tour Information

Welcome to Georgetown University. Founded in 1789, by Bishop John Carroll, Georgetown offers a unique educational experience, enhanced by our commitment to academic excellence, our location in the nation's capital, our emphasis on global relationships, and our heritage as the first Catholic and Jesuit University of the New Republic.

As a Jesuit institution, Georgetown is grounded in a 450-year-old educational tradition inspired by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. Today, as the consequence of this long tradition, our core values make Georgetown an inviting and distinctive educational community with a vibrant culture of service. And just as John Carroll welcomed Georgetown stuednts from various religious and cultural traditions, we hope that whatever background you bring to this tour today, you will gain an appreciation for the spirit of Georgetown in your own distinctive way.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

You're currently standing in The Quadrangle. For the first century of Georgetown's history, campus was mostly confined to this area. The earliest documentation of Georgetown's founding came in 1786 when John Carroll, the first Catholic Arch... Read more
Old South and Old North were the only significant buildings on campus until the 1830s. It was at that time that Georgetown desperately needed more space to accommodate its rising enrollment. While building, the university ran into severe fi... Read more
The magnificent building in front of you is Healy Hall. The story of Healy Hall is the story of Patrick Healy, president of Georgetown from 1874 to 1882. Patrick Healy was born in 1834 to a white planter father and an enslaved black mother ... Read more
As Georgetown entered the twentieth century, the university sought to physically expand the campus beyond the Quadrangle. The Greater Georgetown Project was a plan to dramatically grow the campus. After decades of stagnation, Father Coleman... Read more
World War II dramatically changed Georgetown's campus during the presidencies of Fr. O'Leary from 1935 to 1942 and Fr. Gorman from 1942 to 1949. As the United States braced for war, Georgetown was home to some military reserve training site... Read more
One of Georgetown's most prized academic institutions is the School of Foreign Service. Founded in 1919 in response to World War I, the SFS aimed to train students to become experts in international affairs in order to represent the United ... Read more
Georgetown's campus has extended past the main gates for over a century. This part of campus, known as East Campus, has historically been the site of experimentation and innovation where Georgetown undertook new ventures to respond to the c... Read more
You are now looking at two iconic restaurants of the Georgetown neighborhood. As a student, Richard McCooey dreamed of founding a dining establishment that was uniquely tied to Georgetown University. In the early 1960s, about a decade after... Read more
The 1960s were a time of cultural change for both the Catholic Church and the United States. As both a Catholic and American university, Georgetown adapted to the changing times in transformative ways. The Second Vatican Council, popularly ... Read more
The 1960s and 1970s were a time of tremendous cultural upheaval in the United States and it was reflected in student activism at Georgetown. Selected as president of Georgetown in order to rescue the university financially, Fr. Robert Henle... Read more
In the 1980s, Georgetown gained national attention with the success of its men's basketball team after the creation of the Big East Conference. As the Big East became a national sensation, Georgetown quickly developed a heated rivalry with... Read more
As the emphasis on student empowerment strengthened, Father Tim Healy, president of Georgetown from 1976 to 1989, led a dramatic expansion of campus to match the increasing demands of a modern university. Regarded as a Georgetown legend, Ti... Read more
In 2001, John DeGioia took over as the first lay president of a Jesuit university. After graduating from Georgetown in 1979, DeGioia remained a part of the Georgetown community as a professor and administrator and is now Georgetown's longes... Read more


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