President DeGioia ESCAPEs the Hilltop: an ESCAPEe Reflection


Not many students get the opportunity to spend a Sunday morning looking over the Shenandoah Valley while listening to the president of Georgetown University talk about his life – ESCAPE, however, allowed me to do so.

After a great Saturday experience on the retreat and many delicious meals, we ESCAPEes gathered on the floor in front of a roaring fireplace to sing songs that included “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Rather Be.” While my sub-par vocal chords were being put to use, President DeGioia arrived just in time for the high notes that I could not hit – and he even joined us in singing “Free Fallin’,” believe it or not. After the singing came to an end, we got to hear President DeGioia share insight on his life and what his experiences at Georgetown mean to him, just as we had been doing in small group reflections.

Throughout his talk, President DeGioia discussed how he could not “shake” Georgetown. The community he found at this institution is incomparable to others he has witnessed, and he talked about how thankful he was that this is what he gets to do every day. It really put into perspective for me how special Georgetown, and the community that can be found here, really is.

Sitting with the other students, looking around, I thought about how we all ended up where we were – because Georgetown had that unique something that truly spoke to us. DeGioia continued to discuss his faith in life and how important it has been to his career. Being the first layperson president at Georgetown comes with a lot of responsibilities, and he constantly strives to tie his faith into his work. As a religious person, I really appreciated DeGioia’s talk. Even from a nonreligious standpoint, I think his passion and true motivation to accomplish his goals really speak to the Georgetown community and what makes it so special here.

Even though we had all gone on ESCAPE to do just that – escape the Hilltop for a day – we could not “shake” it, just as DeGioia has still not been able to “shake” Georgetown… but in the best way.

Kieran Walsh, MSB ’18