Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States. Founded in 1789, it opened on land overlooking the new federal city of Washington. From the first, it was to be open to “every class of citizens” and students of “every religious profession.”1
On March 15, 1815, President James Madison signed a bill passed by the Congress that bestowed on Georgetown College the right to award “any degree in the faculties, arts, sciences and liberal professions.”2 In 1849, 4 local physicians petitioned the president of Georgetown College to found a Medical Department under this charter. Guided by the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, care of the whole person, the Medical Department of Georgetown College opened in 1851.