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Libraries & Spaces
Is there a memorial on campus dedicated to all Georgetown students and alumni who lost their lives in World War I?
There was one. On June 16, 1919, the University, as part of its commencement ceremonies, dedicated 54 trees to alumni who had lost their lives in the service of their country during World War I. The trees, Lombardy poplars, were planted by the senior class close to the area now occupied by the Harbin Field/MultiSport Facility. Raymond H. Reiss, B.S. 1919, gave the ceremony’s opening address: We, the graduating class of 1919, are assembled here today to give fitting testimony to the memory of fifty-four of Georgetown’s sons. Many are the valiant deeds that Georgetown’s sons have performed. These fifty-four have, however, eclipsed all the others in their devotion to God, their country, their Alma Mater. They have performed deeds which no material tribute can adequately appreciate; in memory alone, that spiritual organ, can we find any proportional thanksgiving. It is in the memory of these fifty-four men, Georgetown patriots, who made the supreme sacrifice, that these trees are reverently dedicated.
By the middle of August 1919, 53 trees were thriving but one had died. Before that tree could be replaced, however, the University learned that one of the alumni who had been reported as killed in action, Joseph T. Kelleher, was alive. So only 53 memorial trees were, in fact, needed.
In 1927, the trees were moved to a spot behind what is now the White-Gravenor Building. None survive today.