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First Catholic College in the US is Founded - January 23, 1789

Georgetown University
Georgetown University's White-Gravenor Hall. |

This week marks the anniversary of the founding of Georgetown University of Washington, DC, the first Roman Catholic college in the United States.

Georgetown was founded by the Reverend John Carroll, a Jesuit and Maryland native who returned to newly independent United States from Europe due to many European nations opting to suppress the Society of Jesus at that time.

"Carroll wanted to take full advantage of the unprecedented freedom given to the church in the United States to establish a school in the liberal arts tradition that had so distinguished Jesuit education for over two hundred years," explained Georgetown Professor Robert Emmett Curran in a 1989 article.

"He wanted his academy to be 'the mainsheet anchor' of American Catholics, an institution that could uniquely 'give consistency to our religious views in this country,' by fostering an education that would combine the best of the Catholic and republican cultures."

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