Leaping from Past to Present

December 18, 2006

In this season of impending holiday celebrations, I found myself last Saturday in Baltimore at Alumni Memorial Chapel on the campus of Loyola College. I was there to attend the funeral Mass of Fr. J. Donald Freeze, SJ, longtime Georgetown administrator.

There was a flock of GU faithful, past and present, assembled in Fr. Freeze's native city: former VP's on the Hilltop: George Houston '61 and Joseph Pettit '64; others who worked directly under him: Laurea DiJoseph, Marie Helene Gibney, Greg Stahl '81, Maura Fay '81, and Paul O'Neill '86.

Many, many Jesuits were there, including Fr. Charles Currie, SJ, Fr. Frank Haig, SJ, Fr. James Connor, SJ, and current Jesuit provincial of the Maryland province, Fr. Tim Brown, SJ '74. GU faculty and academic administrators were represented: Paul Betz, Michael Collins, and Hugh Cloke. Former students that he taught, counseled, and nurtured: Caroline Scullin '81, Frank Mita '76, Tim Naughton '77, Jeff Craven '81, and Mary Prahinski '85. My own classmates attending included Gary and Carla Lanzara, Mary Pat Michel, and University Registrar John Pierce. Arriving from Boston to say goodbye to their trusted friend were alumni and devoted supporters Charlie Sarkis '62 and son Patrick '93.


Fr. A. Kelley, SJ, one-time GU classics prof and provost and former president of Fairfield University

Fr. Freeze's dearest compadre of 56 years, Fr. Aloysius Kelley, SJ, presided at the Mass. His opening words reminded all of us of the playful nature of their friendship. "This is a Jesuit liturgy," he intoned with a straight face. "The definition of a Jesuit liturgy is a liturgy in which no one gets hurt." His homily was filled with personal tales, all evincing the wit and wisdom of the essential Don Freeze. For me, it took me back three-plus decades as I listened to my former Latin/Greek professor and academic advisor hold the congregation spellbound with his mirthful stories of a beautiful life.

As noted by Fr. Kelley, funeral Masses were once solemn rituals draped in black. Today, funerals are all about celebrating a life. This was certainly not hard to do for Fr. Freeze because, throughout his 74 years, he was quite simply a walking celebration of life.

Rarely is Fr. Freeze remembered without a mention of his well-attended 10 pm Sunday night Mass in St. William's Chapel, a service known for its brevity and affectionately dubbed by students as "Freeze's Breeze." Greg Stahl reminded a few of us of one occasion when Fr. Kelley filled in for an absent Fr. Freeze. That night, Fr. Kelley advised the young congregation at Mass that "you may be exposed to parts of the liturgy that you have never heard before."


As provost at Georgetown University, all things affecting the main campus fell under Fr. Freeze's watchful eye. In 1980, he skeptically approved an experimental change in the paradigm for fund raising on behalf of Hoya sports and, little did I know at the time, my life was about to change with it.

Following ten years of volunteers promoting Georgetown's athletic programs by seeking annual dues of $10, Hoyas Unlimited had hit the proverbial wall. Its ability to assist the athletic department was severely hampered by a cap on individual giving and the lack of professional staff. As a volunteer and former president of the organization, I worked with a task force to author a proposal to centralize all annual giving to athletics within Hoyas Unlimited, to integrate the functions of Hoyas Unlimited into the mechanisms of the University annual fund, and to hire a full-time director for athletic fund raising. The whole proposal would have gone nowhere had not J. Donald Freeze taken a leap of faith with us that it could work and would not undercut other fund raising priorities.

One year later, taking what I thought would be a temporary diversion from a career in law, I found myself in that Hoyas director role. From a base of $20,000 in giving, we doubled the total raised from the previous year in each of the first three years of the restructured organization. The giving totals to Hoyas continued to grow long after I departed for other positions within the University, as did overall giving to the University. The experiment proved to be an overwhelming success.

Fr. Freeze (right) in 1979 at the dedication of the field house named in honor of Fr. Yates (left)


Last year, Hoyas Unlimited brought in more than $2 million in annual support. That's what you call a big leap. And for that, we can thank Fr. J. Donald Freeze.

Requiescat in pace. A memorial Mass is being planned for January 2007 in Dahlgren Chapel.

Last October, past president Maura Devaney and current president David Don turned over to athletic director Bernard Muir the largest check ever presented by Hoyas Unlimited



RETURN to VFTH Home

More Headlines
Women’s Lacrosse Signs 10 to National Letters of... Georgetown University Head Women's Lacrosse Coach Ricky Fried announced the... McLaughlin, Williamson Named to Academic All-Patriot... The Georgetown University football team had two student-athletes named to the... Symone Speech Selected to All-BIG EAST First Team Georgetown University volleyball’s junior middle blocker Symone Speech ... Fitzpatrick, Carbone Sweep BIG EAST Swimming Weekly Awards Georgetown University swimming & diving senior Molly Fitzpatrick ) and...
Shop Now
Auctions

Schedules

November 24
8:30 PM
Auburn
Nashville, Tenn.
November 25
6:00 PM
Richmond
Richmond, Va.

https://watchstadium.com/live/georgetown-at-richmond/
99.1 WNEW-FM
November 25
8:30 PM
Chattanooga
Nashville, Tenn.
November 26
3:00 PM
Northwestern
Nashville, Tenn.
November 28
8:30 PM
Maine
Capital One Arena

FS1
99.1 WNEW-FM
November 29
7:00 PM
Florida International
McDonough Arena
December 3
6:30 PM
Coppin State
Capital One Arena

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 7
8:30 PM
Howard
Capital One Arena

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 7
7:00 PM
Minnesota
McDonough Arena
December 9
2:30 PM
North Carolina A&T
Capital One Arena

FS2
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 10
2:00 PM
North Carolina State
Raleigh, N.C.
December 16
12:30 PM
Syracuse
Capital One Arena

CBS
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 20
7:00 PM
North Texas
Capital One Arena

FS2
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 21
6:00 PM
VCU
Richmond, Va.
December 23
12:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Capital One Arena

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 27
6:30 PM
Butler
Capital One Arena

FS1
99.1 WNEW-FM
December 28
7:00 PM
Providence
Providence, R.I.

BEDN
Watch
December 30
4:30 PM
Marquette
Milwaukee, Wis.

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
December 30
2:00 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.

BEDN
January 2
9:00 PM
DePaul
Chicago, Ill.

FS1
99.1 WNEW-FM
January 2
2:00 PM
Xavier
McDonough Arena

BEDN
January 5
7:00 PM
Butler
McDonough Arena

BEDN
January 6
12:00 PM
Creighton
Capital One Arena

FSN
99.1 WNEW-FM
January 6
All Day
Rose Bowl Regatta
Los Angeles, Calif.
January 7
All Day
Rose Bowl Regatta
Los Angeles, Calif.
January 9
6:30 PM
St. Johns
New York, N.Y.

FS1
99.1 WNEW-FM
January 10
7:00 PM
Villanova
McDonough Arena

BEDN
Watch
January 12
7:00 PM
St. Johns
Queens, N.Y.

BEDN
January 13
12:00 PM
Seton Hall
Newark, N.J.

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
January 13
1:00 PM
American/George Washington
Washington, D.C. (American University)
January 14
1:00 PM
Seton Hall
South Orange, N.J.

BEDN
January 17
6:30 PM
Villanova
Capital One Arena

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
January 19
7:00 PM
Marquette
McDonough Arena

BEDN
Watch
January 19
TBA
VCU 41
Richmond, Va.
January 20
12:00 PM
St. Johns
Capital One Arena

FS1
99.1 WNEW-FM
January 20
1:00 PM
Drexel
McCarthy Pool
January 20
TBA
VCU 41
Richmond, Va.
January 21
2:00 PM
Depaul
McDonough Arena

CBSsn
January 24
8:30 PM
DePaul
Capital One Arena

FS1
106.7 WJFK-FM
January 26
7:00 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.

BEDN
January 27
8:00 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.

CBSSN
99.1 WNEW-FM
January 28
2:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio

FS2
February 2
6:00 PM
Drexel
Philadelphia, Pa.
February 3
6:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio

CBSSN
99.1 WNEW-FM
February 3
1:00 PM
Villanova
Villanova, Pa.

BEDN
Watch
February 3
2:00 PM
Seton Hall/Providence
Berkeley (N.J.) Aquatic Club
February 4
TBA
Penn
Philadelphia, Pa.
February 4
TBA
Temple
Washington, D.C.
February 6
8:30 PM
Providence
Providence, R.I.

FS1
99.1 WNEW-FM
February 9
7:00 PM
Seton Hall
McDonough Arena

BEDN
February 9
TBA
Monmouth N.J.
Washington, D.C.
February 10
4:00 PM
Seton Hall
Capital One Arena

CBSSN
106.7 WJFK-FM
February 11
2:00 PM
St. Johns
McDonough Arena

BEDN
February 13
6:30 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.

CBSSN
99.1 WNEW-FM
February 13
12:00 PM
Towson
Arlington, Va.
February 16
8:00 PM
Depaul
Chicago, Ill.

BEDN
Watch
February 16
4:00 PM
Wake Forest
Winston-Salem, N.C.
February 17
12:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
Winston-Salem, N.C.
February 18
3:00 PM
Marquette
Milwaukee, Wis.

BEDN
Watch
February 18
10:00 AM
Navy
Winston-Salem, N.C.
February 21
6:30 PM
Xavier
Capital One Arena

FS1/FSN
99.1 WNEW-FM
February 21
10:00 AM
Day 1
Geneva, Ohio