Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Georgetown is a charming area with Federal-style architecture, cobblestone streets and fashion and design shops. The dining scene ranges from upmarket restaurants to waterfront seafood spots. The nightlife offers boisterous college bars, traditional taverns and intimate live music lounges. The area is also home to a riverside park and bike path along the C&O Canal.

Georgetown is home to a rich cultural history, from its roots in tobacco and shipping to its present-day status as a center of art, activism, social justice and public service. The city’s past has been shaped by the successes and failures of entrepreneurs, politicians, dignitaries and residents of every class—from Native Americans and slaves to students and socialites. Today, georgetown continues to push boundaries, innovating in business, arts, education and research.

This is a place where multi-million dollar homes reside just a few blocks from some of the best restaurants and shops in Washington, D.C. It is where you will find the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the C & O Canal—most famous for being the spot where composer John F. Kennedy proposed to his wife on Valentine’s Day in 1963. And, of course, it is where you will find the university and the students who make up Georgetown’s unique identity.

Georgetown has been shaped by the people who live and work here, from its early days as a town to its current status as one of America’s leading universities. The bluffs overlooking the Potomac River have led to some steep grades on the streets that run north and south through Georgetown, including the famous “Exorcist steps.” Rock Creek Park, Oak Hill Cemetery, Dumbarton Oaks and Glover Park are located to the west and east of the campus.

The earliest residents of the area were members of the Algonquin Indian Nation, and evidence of prehistoric settlements dates back 12,000 years. Europeans settled the region in the 17th and 18th centuries, when Georgetown first became an official township and was incorporated with its own elected government.

By the mid-19th century, Georgetown was a bustling center of industry and a magnet for government workers and foreign diplomats. During this time, it also began to grow as an educational institution, and enrollment grew significantly after World War II as the school’s reputation for rigorous academic study expanded. Under the leadership of President Arthur O’Leary, S.J., Georgetown established the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1930s. And, during the Korean War, Georgetown was a leader in training military personnel for the United States Army Specialized Training Program.

Since the 2015 publication of several articles about Georgetown’s involvement in slavery, the Society of Jesus and the University have engaged in a process of dialogue with Descendants whose Ancestors were enslaved on Maryland Jesuit plantations. The ongoing conversation is centered on the practice of truth-telling, healing and transformation. The University has met with hundreds of Descendants, and is committed to continuing these conversations in constructive and productive directions.