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What was a jug rat?

Until the 20th century, students who violated minor rules on campus were punished by having to memorize and publicly recite lines of Latin poetry--more serious offenses were punished by confinement (on a diet of bread and water) to a room in one of the towers of Old North or by expulsion. When a culprit had lines to learn, he went to the "jug" or detention room and was considered by his fellow students to be a "jug rat." Punishment lines were cumulative, and it was possible for a student who was given to rule-breaking and not blessed with an aptitude for memorization to be in the "jug" for most, if not all, of a school year--although lines did not carry over from year to year. A Jug-Rat Association operated sporadically at Georgetown during the second half of the 19th century. Its main activity appears to have been an annual "extermination," held in June after the end of classes.  A program of music and speeches, the "exterminations" were a parody of commencement ceremonies and generally attracted large external audiences.

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What is the connection between Georgetown and the Maryland state song, "Maryland, My Maryland"?

The words to "Maryland, My Maryland" were written 150 years ago by journalist and poet James Ryder Randall, who attended Georgetown from 1848 to 1856. In 1861, while chair of English Literature at Poydras College, Pointe-Coupée, Louisiana, Randall read a newspaper report of the Baltimore Riot. This clash between pro-South civilians and Union troops in Randall's native city on 19 April, 1861, resulted in what is commonly accepted as the first bloodshed of the Civil War. The account Randall read stated--incorrectly as it turned out--that Francis X. Ward, who had been a roommate of Randall's at Georgetown, was among twelve civilians killed in the clash. Randall was moved by the news to write "Maryland, My Maryland." The song, which achieved wide popularity in Maryland and throughout the South and which is now the Maryland state song, begins:

The despot’s heel is on thy shore,

Maryland!

His torch is at thy temple door,

Maryland!

Avenge the patriotic gore

That flecked the streets of Baltimore,

And be the battle queen of yore,

Maryland! My Maryland!

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Why do we have a bulldog named Jack as our mascot?

The bulldog was selected as our mascot in 1962. In that year, a student committee set out to restore the tradition of a live mascot, a tradition that had lapsed in 1951 when the University suspended varsity football. The committee settled on the English bulldog as the breed that best embodied the tenacity of Hoya athletes. A three-year-old purebred bulldog was purchased, one who came with the pedigree name of Lil-Nan's Royal Jacket, but who answered to Jack. The original plan was to rename the dog Hoya, a name that had been carried by a series of Boston bull terriers who served as our mascots in the 1920s and 1930s. The dog, however, had other ideas and "tenaciously" refused to answer to any name other than Jack, thus starting the mascot naming tradition.

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Where on campus was the O'Gara Building and for whom was it named?

O'Gara BuildingO'Gara Building

The O’Gara Building was erected in 1874, to the west of Gervase Hall. It was razed in 1984 to make way for the Village C dormitory. Originally a wooden barn, it was repurposed as a carpenter shop and store house in the early 1920s. In 1946, after substantial renovation, it was turned into a dorm for students. Later incarnations of the building found it serving as the infirmary and housing the office of the Georgetown Voice. The building was named in 1946 for Martin J. O’Gara, S.J., a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who joined the Georgetown faculty in 1940 as Assistant Professor of Religion. In 1943, Fr. O’Gara left Georgetown to become a chaplain in the Air Transport Command. He was returning to the U.S. from India to be discharged in 1945 when his plane caught fire, south of the island of Capri. Instead of leaping to safety, he gave his parachute to a fellow serviceman. In all, he helped eight passengers escape before the plane crashed with him on board.

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Is it true that concerts were banned on campus at one time? Why was that decision made?

Beginning in the 1960s, a number of well-known musicians played at student-organized concerts in McDonough Gym, including Ray Charles (1963), Peter, Paul & Mary (1964), the Kingston Trio (1965), Johnny Mathis (1966), The Lovin’ Spoonful (1967), the Four Tops (1968), The Who (Homecoming 1969), the Grateful Dead (Homecoming 1970), and Traffic (November 1970). After incidents at the Grateful Dead concert and the Traffic concert (which was attended by 6000 people, 2000 more than fire regulations permitted), the University administration suspended concerts on campus. According to Vice President for Student Development Dr. Patricia Rueckel, this move was prompted by a number of considerations - overselling of tickets, “flagrant violations of drug laws”, and “general havoc within the gymnasium.” The ban remained in force until November 1971, when it was lifted for a Beach Boys concert.

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Who was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Georgetown?

Genevieve Garvin Brady Honorary Degree

The University awarded its first honorary doctorate in 1821. It was not until 1934, two hundred and thirty seven honorary degrees later, that one was awarded to a woman.

Genevieve G. Brady. Mrs. Brady, widow of New York financier Nicholas F. Brady, had earlier donated to Georgetown literary manuscripts and first editions collected by her late husband. Included in her donation were the “Crewe” manuscript, textually the most important extant, of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The School for Scandal, and the holograph manuscript of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, among the most important surviving manuscripts in the field of 19th-century American letters. Georgetown’s special collections in English and American literature began with this donation.

Mrs. Brady was widely known for her philanthropic activities and work on behalf of youth and Catholic education. She had succeeded Louise [Mrs. Herbert] Hoover as national chair of the Girl Scouts of America and was vice chair under Eleanor Roosevelt of the National Women’s Committee of the Welfare and Relief Mobilization which was set up to help those affected by the Great Depression.

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Is it true that the Jesuit Community cemetery was originally in a different location on campus?

Jesuit Cemetery before 1889Jesuit Cemetery before 1889

Yes. The Jesuit cemetery was laid out in its present location, north of the Old North Building, in June 1854. However, this site is not its original location. The cemetery was actually established in 1808, close to what is now the southern end of Healy Hall. The first burial, that of Thomas Kelly, S.J., occurred on August 16th, 1808. Forty-six other Jesuits were buried in the original cemetery before it was moved north to its location today. The change came because Maguire Hall was being constructed to house students of the prep division and university administrators did not want the cemetery to be adjacent to the new building.

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Have any films or TV programs actually been shot on campus?

In March of 2009, a simulated explosion was set off close to Key Bridge for the filming of a television program pilot, Washington Field.

The most famous movie shot on campus is probably The Exorcist in 1972. Its second sequel, The Exorcist III, was also filmed here in 1990. Scenes for The Pelican Brief, starring Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts, were shot at the Law Center in July 1993. Parts of Born Yesterday, a remake of a 1950 comedy of the same name, were shot in a Healy Hall classroom in August 1992. More recently, in April 2003, the TV show The West Wing shot scenes in front of Healy Hall for “Commencement,” an episode at the end of its fourth season. A mock commencement stage was built and over the course of eight hours a graduation sequence was filmed, incorporating Georgetown students as extras. On the show, the President’s daughter, Zoey Bartlett, attended Georgetown.

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Which Georgetown athlete has held the most world records?

That would probably be Alfred C. “Al” Blozis (C’1942), who held multiple world records for the shot put. At 6 feet 6 ½ inches and 248 pounds, Blozis’ size and strength earned him such nicknames as “Big Al” and the “Hoya Hercules.” Participating in 26 college track meets between 1939 and 1941, he never lost a shot put event and held five world records concurrently: the 16lb indoor shot, the 12lb indoor and outdoor shot, and the 8lb indoor and outdoor shot. Right tackle on the Georgetown football team that went undefeated for 23 games and made an appearance in the 1941 Orange Bowl, he played tackle for the New York Giants after graduation.

After the U.S. entered World War II, each of the three branches of the military refused to induct Blozis on the grounds that he was too tall. He finally succeeded in joining the Army in 1943, after the height requirement was waived. Last seen on January 31, 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge, when he set out in a snow storm to search for a missing patrol, Lt. Blozis was later declared killed in action. The Hoya said on May 11, 1945: “Some day his records may fall, some people may even forget him, but those who ever had contact with him, however little, will never forget him. For Al was too big. Maybe that is why God chose him.”

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Is it true that the version of the Alma Mater sung today is not the original version?

Yes. The original words to the Alma Mater were written by Robert Collier (C’1894), who was later known as the publisher of Collier’s, the National Weekly, a magazine founded by his father. Robert Collier’s version of the Alma Mater included, in its first and fifth lines, the phrase, Sons of Georgetown. Of course, at the time the words were written, there were no “Daughters” of Georgetown. From 1904, however, with the establishment of the Nursing School, women formed part of the Georgetown student body. In 1981, after a campaign led by Carol Hession Powers (N’1941), the words to the Alma Mater were updated. The phrase Sons of Georgetown was replaced: Hail, Oh Georgetown was used as the opening phrase, and May Georgetown Live substituted later in the verse.

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