Message from the Dean

September 21, 2001

Dear McDonough Graduate Alumni and friends,

This past week's tragic and painful events in our nation have caused unspeakable sadness and concern on the part of all people of conscience in the human family. The Georgetown family has been touched by this tragedy in a numerous ways. Georgetown Public Policy Professor Leslie Whittington, her husband and two daughters perished in the plane crash at the Pentagon as well as an yet unknown number of Georgetown University alumni who may have perished in the World Trade Center. Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to all those who are affected by this tragedy during this very difficult time.

Earlier this week, we learned of the tragic death of Dan McNeal, a member of the MBA Class of 2000 who was employed by the firm of Sandler O'Neill in the World Trade Center. Dan was buried in his hometown of Baltimore, MD earlier this week. A number of faculty and staff from the McDonough School, together with over 60 McDonough alumni, gathered with his family and friends to attend Dan's funeral and celebrate Dan's life. Another group of equal size gathered in San Francisco to remember Dan in similar fashion.

Professor Michael Levy who taught Dan, had a long conversation with Dan's mother the day before the funeral. She reflected on Dan and his great affection for Georgetown. She said that shortly after his arrival at the McDonough School, Dan had called her and said "mom, I've found my home." Later upon his graduation, Dan confided in his mother that his long-term goal was to gain experience on Wall Street and then ultimately pursue an academic career. He chose Sandler O'Neill because he felt the firm embodied the commitment to ethics that he had come to believe was so important for both business and life.

Since the tragic events of September 11, the University and McDonough School's Office of Graduate Alumni Programs have been gathering information on the status of other alumni and parents who were employed in the various locations or may have been on any of the affected aircraft. As accurate information on those alumni and parents who lost their lives in this heinous attack is confirmed, it will be posted on the university's website ( and for our McDonough Graduate Alumni (MBA & IEMBA alumni and parents), it will on our McDonough School of Business alumni website ( A memorial service for all of these brave colleagues will be held later in the academic year, and we will keep you posted.

We do urge you to join hoyasonline if you have not already done so, as ongoing information will be communicated via the University and McDonough School alumni websites and via broadcast e-mail. To register, go to or call the alumni records office (202) 687-1994 to obtain your ID number, which will enable you to register.

Because so many events transpired in such rapid succession this past week, it was difficult to keep everyone up to date. I want to fill you in regarding our processes at Georgetown so that you can have a sense of how the campus has reacted during this difficult time.

As soon as we learned of the attack on the World Trade Center Towers, and the high-jacked airlines in the Washington area, the University and McDonough School immediately put into place measures to insure the immediate safety and personal well-being of each student. The campus was closed to vehicular traffic, campus security officers were placed at all the entrances to the campus and in each of the university dormitories. Identification checks were required throughout the campus.

Classes were canceled at 12:00 noon on Tuesday. A senior emergency response team comprised of student leaders, faculty and senior staff met with President DiGioia every few hours for several days in order to meet the challenges of the crisis situation and to exchange useful information. The office of Campus Ministry and the Jesuit community put together a series of prayer services and vigils. The students initiated many volunteer initiatives in support of the victims of this disaster.

Immediately following the tragedy, Georgetown President, John J. DeGioia issued a message to the Georgetown Community. In part his message read: "At Georgetown, staff, faculty, and students on all three campuses are working together to ensure the safety and security of the university community. We are responding to immediate needs and preparing for issues that may yet arise. The tradition on which this university is built tells us that we're not helpless. We all must prepare ourselves to be of service to others. None of us can know when in the next few days and weeks we may be asked to provide consolation and support, compassion and comfort. Whatever might be asked of us, it is my hope that we all will find, with the deepest parts of ourselves, the resources to embrace these moments and to act with love."

When classes resumed on Wednesday, I joined with Provost Dorothy Brown, to remind the faculty and staff to be compassionate in dealing with the students throughout the semester. In part, my message said: "One of the very tenets of Georgetown's existence is that we are a caring, compassionate community, and I urge you to err on the side of compassion when dealing with student issues and concerns throughout this semester. We simply cannot imagine what all their needs will be right now, and so we must be flexible when we encounter new and unexpected circumstances arising from this tragedy."

Last Tuesday, President DeGioia closed his remarks by indicating that "it is my prayer that we will come together, with hope, with respect, and with love as we begin to shape a new tomorrow from the pain and loss of the tragedy of today."

In that spirit, it is our plan to proceed with the full range of activities and events normally conducted throughout our school year, including our graduate alumni activities. Please watch the McDonough School's Graduate Alumni Website ( for updated information. We will do our best to keep you informed during this time of great uncertainty.


Christopher P. Puto Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Marketing