Aug 25, 2013
WASHINGTON - Georgetown University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed, along with many head coaches and staff members, gathered together in the Leo J. O'Donovan Dining Hall on Saturday afternoon to welcome nearly 200 incoming freshmen student-athletes, and their families, on move-in weekend on the Hilltop.
Reed spoke to the student-athletes about the great tradition of Georgetown Athletics that they are joining as they enter school and encouraged them to embrace the challenge that comes with their new experiences.
"You've jumped into a pretty fast-moving stream," Reed said. "There will be challenges in the first few months here. That is something to be embraced and that is something to really hold near and dear. That's what this experience of going to college is all about. You have the privilege and opportunity to represent an athletics program at a place like Georgetown University.
"I need you to embrace all that it is to be a student-athlete at Georgetown University. I need you to embrace what you do, as you represent yourself in the classroom with your peers, as you represent us in the community and as you represent us in competition, I truly need you to embrace what it means to be a student-athlete at Georgetown and I know you'll do that. You have great coaches, you have great staff and you have a community here that is supportive of every single thing that you do.
The annual New Student-Athlete Orientation welcomes incoming freshmen and their parents to hear from Reed as well as University President John J. DeGioia and to meet with other administrators and coaches.
Reed first introduced DeGioia, who welcomed the freshmen student-athletes and their families to the Hilltop.
"This tradition, this community, into which we are pleased to welcome you to today is at the heart of what constitutes the strength of our program," DeGioia said. "We are honored to count such talented and dedicated young women and men as all of you, as new members of our community. Before your first game, your first match, your first meet at Georgetown, you've already accomplished something extraordinary."
DeGioia noted the journey that Georgetown's incoming freshmen had taken to get where they are and how they stand out among the many athletes competing in college sports.
"My son is involved in youth sports and there are almost 20 million elementary school aged children involved in youth sports in our country," he said. "Only about a third of them will go on to compete in high school, about seven million. For those that have the opportunity, at age 18, and through their undergraduate years, to continue to stay involved, to continue to participate in their sport, there are only about 150,000 Division 1 student-athletes in our country. It's quite an extraordinary achievement to still be competing at this point and to be competing at a place like Georgetown, where the expectations on you academically are rather significant.
"Your talent, your determination, your commitment to excellence in the classroom and in competition, that which brought you here to Georgetown, will enable you to succeed here. In turn, we're committed to helping you become your very best selves, as students and students engaged in intercollegiate athletics.
"You're about to embark on a journey that will test your strength, develop your talents, deepen your understanding of yourself, your skills, your sport, your world. This is not a journey you will make alone, all of the people in this room, your parents, your coaches, your teammates, the staff and leadership of this athletic department, are all on this journey with you."
DeGioia also spoke of long-time sports information director Bill Shapland (C'77), who passed away in late April. "We start this year, this fall season, for the first time in nearly 40 years without a dear friend, Bill Shapland, who passed away this spring. Bill dedicated his life and career to Georgetown Athletics, first joining our community as a freshman in 1973. He served as our SID and left an indelible mark on our athletics program and on our entire University community. He will continue to be deeply missed, but will be remembered for his commitment to the tradition of excellence that characterizes athletics here at Georgetown."
Reed then introduced Fr. Kevin O'Brien, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Georgetown, who provided a welcome. "As the nation's oldest Catholic and Jesuit University, Georgetown has a spirit," O'Brien said. "That spirit means that we do things differently. We stand for something greater than ourselves: the greater glory of God and the service of others. We often use the Latin phrase `cura personalis,' which means that we care for the mind, the body and the spirit of each of our students."
Before dismissing the freshmen and welcoming the parents to ask questions of the staff, Reed encouraged the student-athletes to work hard to achieve their goals, both in the classroom and in competition.
"It's just a matter of finding your place here, working hard and you will truly be able to achieve whatever it is in life that you want to do beyond the Hilltop," Reed said. "You'll able to achieve those goals here at Georgetown. You have joined a special group that has come before you and that are here now. Our upperclassmen have done, in each of our sports, some amazing things.You just assume that happens. If I just show up, those great things will happen. But watch the upperclassmen, watch how they conduct themselves with faculty, with the Jesuits and with the community, and you to will be successful like they are."