In January 2016, Dean Joel Hellman sent a survey to all undergraduate alumni of the Walsh School of Foreign Service. Graduates were asked to share their thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of their education at SFS, future direction for the School, and any ideas they had about celebrations for the Centennial Celebration in 2019.
What were the two most important things you learned at Georgetown?
“I attended SFS when the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended. My education at SFS enabled me to intellectually navigate these international transformations, and fired my interests and imagination in globalization and geopolitics.” – Matt Gobush SFS’94
“How to properly answer the question asked, thanks to Dr.Carroll Quigley. As basic as this sounds it’s really quite profound and is a skill that can be used in all aspects of life and learning. The other thing learned was how to think critically, analytically, and always see the “big picture”.
-Frank Zweig SFS’75
“That even as we modernize and become more interconnected, we are bound by our historical and tribal origins. That an educated person needs to read the paper regularly and know and understand what is happening in other parts of the world.” -Sarah Sheive Normand SFS’91
What are the unique qualities of SFS?
“The SFS is outstanding in its ability to meld and empower students, staff, and faculty from tremendously diverse backgrounds, uniting them around common principles of intellectual curiosity and academic excellence, while celebrating their diverse passions, talents, ambitions, and life experiences.” -Sam Dulik SFS’13
“The interdisciplinary curriculum during the first two years underscored how the history, economics, politics, and culture are intricately intertwined and that understanding why/how countries act today is a byproduct of their greater history.”
-Lisa Spahn SFS‘96
“I thought that the best thing about SFS was that the school had done an excellent job of finding talented and ambitious people without selecting the kinds of students that create pressurized competition and a hostile atmosphere. During my tenure, the school seemed to have a deft ability to pick students that were great people; humble, approachable, non-egotistical, team oriented. My classmates and those SFS students that I have encountered after graduation are the very types of people who are best suited to be the kind of successful leaders and innovators in the real world…The average Georgetown SFS graduate in general will not be seen trying to blow their own horn in life. They will let their achievements and the impact that they make in helping others define them without any need to embellish or self-promote.”
-Jack Ballinghoff SFS’87
“[A unique quality of SFS is the] self-selection at the age of 18 of a group of highly-motivated individuals who know that they are in love with things international. Regardless of the path that these people end up taking, most – when thrown into an international situation – will be able to read situations and handle themselves far better than their peers.”
-Kate Evert SFS’86
“For me, the greatest strengths are both the students themselves (diversity, perspective, energy, camaraderie) and the very dedicated faculty. I truly loved having instructors that were both pure academics, or pure professionals, or a combination of both.” -Keith Kohler SFS’88