The Class of 2020 will be the School of Foreign Service’s centennial class, the SFS administration announced in a celebratory event in the Intercultural Center Auditorium on Friday.
The event featured speeches by SFS Dean Joel Hellman, Executive Director for the SFS Centennial Will Layman and several students. The event was followed by a barbecue and the distribution of SFS centennial T-shirts to all attendees on Copley Lawn.
Associate SFS Dean Sam Aronson said the SFS intends to showcase the past, present and future of the school through the centennial programs.
“The SFS as part of the Centennial wants to do many things, but we’re sort of dividing some of the work into three different buckets, one being past, present and future, and so The School That Walsh Built class is intentionally looking at the past, at the history of SFS,” Aronson said.
Leading up to its 100th anniversary in 2019, the SFS established a centennial office, which has spearheaded several new initiatives. Last spring, the SFS launched a special class on the history of the SFS called “The School That Walsh Built,” taught by SFS Chief of Staff Emily Zenick and Senior Associate Dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs Tony Arend (SFS ’80). The class examined the university archives to identify prominent figures in the school and understand the school’s evolving culture throughout its history.
The SFS also formed the Century Scholars Program, where first-year students are paired with upperclassmen to celebrate the centennial and brainstorm possibilities for the next 100 years of the SFS, for the Class of 2019. The school is also launching the Centennial Entrepreneurship Program for students in the Class of 2020 this fall, given that the Class of 2020 will be the 100th graduating class from the SFS, while the Class of 2019 will be graduating in the school’s 100th year.
Aronson said the two centennial programs are designed to help the SFS develop plans for its future.
“It’s not meant to be binding but to help give the school some idea of what it could look like for the next century, so that’s another way to look at it,” Aronson said.
Centennial Entrepreneurship Program mentor Arielle Rosen (SFS ’19) said she appreciates the self-reflection the school is undergoing in preparation for the centennial.
“It’s been very cool to see how their idea for the centennial has been evolving and how they’re still trying to figure out what the SFS actually means and how to best celebrate that,” Rosen said.
Century Scholar Isabella Perera (SFS ’19) said the SFS has done a good job engaging all stakeholders.
“I think it’s incredibly important that they’ve included the student voice,” Perera said. “I think it goes to show that they recognize the School of Foreign Service is a collaboration between the administrators, students and even alumni.”
Joshua Chang (SFS ’20), who attended the centennial kick-off event, said it made him proud to be in the SFS.
“I really enjoyed the event because it helped instill this sense of pride, in the sense that you’re in a distinguished school for international relations and foreign service, but also this reverence for how far the school has come since before World War I all the way to now,” Chang said.
Chang said he was optimistic for the impact the SFS Class of 2020 could have in their four years at Georgetown.
“It’s such an honor to be part of the 100th–year class,” Chang said. “I know that my peers and I will go on to do great things in terms of career and things we learned within the School of Foreign Service, and I hope that we can leave behind some definitive or long-lasting legacy.
Hoya Staff Writer Haley Snyder contributed reporting.