Georgetown University opened its first new school since 1957 after the donation of $100 million by alumnus Frank H. McCourt, Jr. The newly christened McCourt School of Public Policy is the university’s ninth. According to the Washington Post, the idea for a new public policy institute surfaced at a 2006 board meeting at which the president of the university floated the notion and McCourt took a bite. President John DeGioia told the Post, “Frank came up to me in a coffee break that day and said, ‘This is an idea I could get very excited about.’”
Though McCourt (no relation to the late writer Frank McCourt) is best known nationally for his troubled tenure of the LA Dodgers which ended in the team’s 2011 bankruptcy, locally he is known for his deep devotion to Georgetown. His father, his two brothers, and one of his four sons all graduated from the university, and from 2005 to 2011 he served on the board of directors.
The reason for the new school, McCourt said in a press release, is that “the issues facing global leaders are more acute, dynamic and interrelated than ever before. We recognize an opportunity here to serve the world in a new way through an innovative approach to public policy research and analysis.”
McCourt’s endowment will provide full scholarships to entice high-performing students to pursue research at the school’s Massive Data Institute, which focuses on analyzing 21st-century government data in order to understand broader trends in education, health, poverty, and other public policy.