Gift to Georgetown Athletics highlights diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives

A recent gift from the Behrens family will establish a new position in the Georgetown University Department of Athletics focused on matters related to social justice, specifically the training and education of student-athletes, coaches, and staff members. Georgetown University Francis X. Rienzo Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed said the new Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Athletics position also will facilitate partnerships between Georgetown Athletics and campus units, providing opportunities for interaction between and among a diverse population.

“Georgetown Athletics is committed to continuing to develop a community where all members feel valued, heard, and respected,” said Reed. “The recent unjust killing of Black people at the hands of the police reminds us of our responsibility to not only educate, but to speak up in times of injustice. We support our student-athletes, coaches, and staff in the positive actions they are taking in the fight against racial and social injustice and we promise them that prejudice of any kind will not be tolerated in the Georgetown Athletics community.”

Furthering efforts to improve inclusion

The work of the new Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Athletics will complement that of the department’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Working Group as both pursue a strategic goal of inclusive excellence. The working group brings together coaches, student-athletes, staff, and campus partners; amid the recent nationwide protests, the group shifted focus to examine the experience of the Black student-athlete.

The working group includes Rosemary Kilkenny, Esq., who serves as Georgetown’s vice president, diversity, equity, inclusion and chief diversity officer; Kilkenny also sits on the BIG EAST Diversity and Inclusion Working Group. “I would like for the working group to help all student-athletes feel included and feel like their worth is more than what they can do on the playing field, that their worth is to contribute intellectually in the classroom and to contribute to the overall mission of the University,” said Kilkenny. “This mission of social justice asks us to take care of each other and create a sense of belonging.” 

Preparing the next generation of allies and leaders

“My family and I are honored to assist the Athletics Department in creating this important new position,” said former student-athlete Mary Taylor Behrens (C’83). “We hope the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Athletics will serve as a voice and mentor for the Black student-athletes to feel more welcome and accepted on campus, as well as among their teammates. Additionally, the new position will help educate all student-athletes, coaches and staff on how to be better allies.”

Behrens was a member of the track team during her time on the Hilltop, is a Regent Emeritus, and serves as the head of the Regent’s Athletics Committee. Her son Matt (C’18, L’22) played lacrosse and was a Patrick Healy Fellow, and her son Chris (C’16) also attended Georgetown.  

“The goal of this gift is to harness the fullest potential of every player, team, and community on Georgetown’s campus,” said Matt Behrens. “To prepare the next generation of allies and leaders in the fight for true racial justice, we can start right here and model leadership in this moment.”

Read more about the Behrens family gift.

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