Mayor Joins Hilltop's Yuletide Get-Together for Neighbors
Georgetown University's annual 'Holiday Open House'
Georgetown University held its annual "Holiday Open House" Dec. 7 in historic Riggs Library at the south tower of landmark Healy Hall. Each Christmas season, neighbors, business and community leaders and university officials gather for conversation, food, drink and music. And, despite heavy rain, it looked like everyone showed up, including the Mayor of Washington, D.C., who had visions of streetcars, a GU-GWU basketball game and town-gown peace in his head.
Georgetown's president John DeGioia and his wife Theresa welcomed everyone -- from little girls with their moms to Mayor Vincent Gray -- during the popular party put on by the university's Office of External Relations and Office of Student Affairs. Young students from the Holy Trinity School Choir and Georgetown students from the Gospel Choir entertained the well-wishers.
DeGioia introduced Mayor Gray to the crowd in the grand, multi-storied room which one guest described as something out of "Harry Potter." Gray thanked DeGioia, commended associate vice president Linda Greenan and Brenda Atkinson-Willoughby of Georgetown's external relations office and mentioned Georgetown's hot town-gown issue, the 10-year campus plan now under consideration by the District's zoning commission. "Can you imagine working on one every year?" asked Gray. As for working on disagreements about it, he added: "I would not say it's delightful. You will get to a conclusion."
Gray envisions the District becoming a leader in high technology, he said, as well as using the collective minds of the universities in D.C. As if needing to clarify, he said: "I have no intention in taxing universities."After touting new light rail routes in the city, Gray said, "We ought to bring streetcars back to Georgetown. We already have the tracks." One more item on Gray's wish list: a basketball game between Georgetown University and his alma mater George Washington University (the college teams do not play each other).
Among the guests: Councilman-at-Large Vincent Orange, the Metropolitan Police Department's Deputy Chief Patrick Burke and Second District Commander Michael Reese; advisory neighborhood commissioners Ron Lewis, Ed Solomon and Bill Starrels, the Citizens Association of Georgetown's Barbara Downs and Ray Kukulski; the Georgetown Business Association's Rokas Beresniovas, Sue Hamiton, Janine Schoonover and Beth Webster.