Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli receives an honorary degree from Georgetown University
Cardinal Pacelli visited Georgetown in 1936 as Papal Secretary of State. Pictured from left to right: Edmund A. Walsh, S.J.; Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, the Apostolic Delegate; Cardinal Pacelli; and Arthur A. O'Leary, S.J., University President. The honorary degree ceremony took place in Gaston Hall, with the audience limited to the senior class. After the degree had been conferred, the class honored the Cardinal with a variation of the college cheer which was normally delivered at sporting events as: 'Hoya, Hoya, Saxa! Hoya, Hoya, Georgetown! -Team, Team, Team!' John G. Bowen (LL.B. 1921, LL.M. 1922, Ph.D. 1933), describes the Cardinal’s reaction in the 1966 compilation, “On the Hilltop: Reflections and Reminiscences on their Campus Years by Georgetown Alumni”, noting that 'The Cardinal had just come from Paris and seen the turbulence of shouting students in the area of the Sorbonne . . . At the instant the future pope finished his speech, up rose the President of the Yard [the College’s student government]. Waving his fist high, he shouted, “OK fellows. Hit it!” Every man jumped to his feet . . . the Cardinal’s eyes bugged out as he sat terrified. The whole class thundered: “Hoya, Hoya, Saxa! Hoya, Hoya Georgetown! Hoya Pacelli, Pacelli, Pacelli!” and broke into vigorous applause. The Cardinal smiled. Afterward in the President’s office he said: “I think I will start something new. This will be the cheer of the College of Cardinals.” In 1939, Cardinal Pacelli was elevated to the Papacy as Pius XII.
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