The university which is known today as Georgetown University began as Georgetown College. From its humble beginnings as a mainly Catholic school, Georgetown has grown to be one of the United States’ most famous and prestigious schools. On this day in 1791, Georgetown University began its historic career.

The founding of Georgetown College

Georgetown College was planned and established by Catholic clergy led by John Carroll. Such a school had been a dream of the Catholic settlers since the founding of Maryland province.


The purchase of the Georgetown property upon which the school would be built was finalized in early 1798 and the first buildings were put up in less than three years. William Gaston was the first student to enroll in the school on November 22nd, 1791 and the first classes began on January second of the following year.

Growth into Georgetown University

The early years of Georgetown College were a trying time. From the beginning, the school struggled with financial difficulties, which were made worse when the American colonies erupted into the Civil War. Many students left the school during this time and several university buildings were commandeered by military forces.

Georgetown University

Georgetown began to grow into what it is today with the founding of its law school in 1870. Other schools and areas of study followed rapidly as the college grew into a university focused on all of higher education, while still remembering its Jesuit Catholic roots.

Georgetown University today

Today, Georgetown University boasts a student count of over 17,000. These students are spread across the university’s schools of Law, Medicine, Business, Foreign Service and more.

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Georgetown is home to the United State’s biggest student-run business, largest student-lead financial institution and boasts the country’s longest-continually-running theatre troupe. Students and other schools across America and even the world hold Georgetown University as an institution to strive for and a goal to reach.