“A university is many things but central to its being is discourse, discussion, debate: the untrammeled expression of ideas and information.”
With those words, Rev. James Walsh, S.J., opened his preamble to the 1989 speech and expression policy, the first of its kind at Georgetown. The associate professor of theology died Tuesday night, leaving a rich legacy of expression— through music and The Georgetown Chimes, as well as free speech advocacy.
Walsh, who hailed from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., took his final vows as a Jesuit in 1982, according to his biography on the Chimes’ website. His theology courses focused on biblical texts, and he listed “exploring the connections between The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and teaching” as his apostolic pursuit.
Walsh’s work on the speech and expression policy stemmed from the Metropolitan Police Department’s arrests of students protesting for divestment from South Africa’s apartheid regime. Walsh continued to offer support for advocacy, labelling a 1999 sit-in at the office of University President Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J., “refreshing,” calling upon the Jesuit community to speak against the infringement of immigrants’ rights and offering remarks at a March forum on free speech.
As a Jesuit member, he served as the “Celestial Chime” for over 30 years. The university has yet to make a public announcement, but the a cappella group and Georgetown Alumni each posted an announcement.
— Georgetown Alumni (@GUAlumni) July 1, 2015
A full obituary will appear in the coming days. Learn more about Walsh through his own words, below.
GU Education Needs Imagination (Sept. 12, 2008)
The Science of Maturing (May 15, 2009)