John Carroll Weekend Miami, A Weekend of Firsts

President DeGioia greets guests at the President's Welcome Reception at the Moore Building.

By Na'Tasha Jones
Managing Editor, Georgetown Alumni

This year, John Carroll Weekend, Feb. 20-23, brought an impressive turnout of more than 1,200 guests together in Miami learning, exploring and celebrating with fellow alumni, family and friends from around the world. The weekend was full of firsts, with exciting new sessions and parties not previously seen at this signature event.

Wednesday evening, Georgetown University's First Time John Carroll Weekend Attendees Welcome Reception was held at the beautiful Moore Building in the Miami Design District. This inaugural event offered the 322 first-timers a unique opportunity to meet and get a taste of what the weekend had to offer.

Another exciting addition was the Latin America Alumni Leadership Summit, previously held in South America. Now in its third year, the summit coincided with John Carroll Weekend, giving the greater Georgetown alumni community exposure to top-notch speakers and interactive workshops.

On Thursday, summit attendees enjoyed in-depth discussions from leaders in business, education and community service, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno.

That evening, Georgetown President John J. DeGioia welcomed alumni and thanked JCW Miami Co-Chairs Albert del Castillo (C'79, L'82, Parent'10) and Rosy Levy (C'88) during his Presidential Welcome Reception as guests experienced the culinary magic of international award-winning chef Norman Van Aken.

On Friday, many were excited to be among the first to experience Miami's new Pérez Art Museum with President Emeritus Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J. (C'56), as others took in a tour of Miami's Art Deco District with Professor Michael Collins.

During the Women and Leadership panel discussion, leading women from the Georgetown alumni community discussed what it has meant for them to take risks in pursuit of their ambitions.

Friday evening, guests donned '50s and '60s attire for a Rat Pack–themed party at the Villa Vizcaya in Coconut Grove. The view of the villa's extensive Italian Renaissance gardens set along the Biscayne Bay supplied the perfect backdrop for guests to dance the night away. Afterward, many explored South Beach's renowned nightlife at the young alumni poolside party at the exclusive SLS Hotel.

After a full day of activities on Saturday, a pre-awards reception was held at hotspot LIV nightclub, inside the Fontainebleau. Thereafter, the Georgetown University Alumni Association bestowed its highest honors on five alumni and one friend of the university in recognition of their dedication to Georgetown's mission of excellence, service and leadership.

The John Carroll Award was established by the Georgetown University Alumni Association in 1952 to honor alumni whose achievements exemplify the ideals and traditions of Georgetown University and its founder, Archbishop John Carroll. It is the highest honor bestowed by the alumni association. The 2014 John Carroll Award recipients are Jane Hopkins Carey (C'79, Parent'10, '12), John C. Courtin (C'70, L'78, Parent'13), Robert M. Flanagan (B'67, Parent'93, '95, '99), Joseph L. Guarriello (B'71, L'74), and J. Clifford Hudson (L'80, Parent'14).

The highest honor bestowed by the alumni association upon distinguished individuals who are not alumni is the Patrick Healy Award, which symbolizes the deep appreciation and admiration that the university holds for these special friends of Georgetown. The 2014 Patrick Healy Award recipient is Irene Ryan Shaw (Parent'94, '98, '98).

"To receive the Patrick Healy award is very special to me. I feel as though Georgetown is finally, truly taking me into their family," said Shaw of her award. "Now I feel I truly am a Hoya."

The banquet featured a video highlighting the awardees' invaluable contributions, as well as a touching special tribute video to Courtin featuring his children, who explained how much Georgetown has meant to him and to their family.

Sunday morning, alumni assembled for Mass on Miami's white sand beaches, led by Rev. Kevin O'Brien S.J. (C'88), vice president of mission and ministry.

The JCW 2014 adventure closed out with a Miami Heat basketball game Sunday afternoon, with special alumni seating and a catered lunch for optimal viewing at AmericanAirlines Arena.

It will be hard to top such a beautiful weekend, but we know that even greater things are in store when you join us for the next John Carroll Weekend in Los Angeles, April 16-19, 2015.

Check out even more exciting sights and highlights from John Carroll Weekend Miami in this recap video.