DeGioia covered some perennial issues, like being the first lay president of Georgetown, the relevance of a Jesuit education, how Catholic Georgetown students are and fostering intereligious dialogue.
However, he also made his first public comments about the brouhaha over the IHS symbol that was covered during President Obama’s April 14th speech in Gaston Hall:
I can’t emphasis enough how unfair a criticism of the Obama administration this was … When the advance team came in to set up the podium and the background for the speech, what they typically do is set up a blue screen behind the president with American flags. That had the result over covering up one symbol.
The room that that lecture was held in probably has more religious iconography than any room in the city of Washington. it is the most beautiful, but anyone who would doubt the location of that talk being in a Catholic and Jesuit university would have only of had to hear the president’s words himself. In his speech he drew analogies from the Sermon on the Mount. So of all the criticism we have received in recent years, I thought that one was the most unfair.
More about DeGioia’s thoughts on being a good neighbor after the jump!
The other interesting part of the interview was DeGioia’s musing on Georgetown’s community relations:
I believe that the [town-gown] relationship we have today is the strongest that we’ve had in our history. It’s the result of a lot of hard work. Members of our community and members of the university staff fought very hard to try to develop this.
But in a few days we’ll have roughly 6,000 undergraduates coming back to campus and you can imagine that always creates some new challenges for us to respond to, and we’ll be ready to do so this fall.
You can listen to the full interview on WAMU’s website.