David Catania '90
Washington DC Councilmember David Catania vividly recalls meeting Henry Kissinger as an undergraduate at the School of Foreign Service. "I remember the feeling of suspended disbelief that results from meeting someone like him--it gives one a sense of the possible." Catania took that feeling to heart, using his education and the connections he developed at Georgetown to make an impact on the world starting at a young age, founding his own non-profit, "Students for Czechoslovakia," with the assistance of his teacher and mentor, Dr. Madeleine Albright. With her help and the inspiration of Albright's dear friend and mentor President Vaclav Havel, "Students for Czechoslovakia" was able to bring more than 100 English teachers to Czechoslovakia a year before the Peace Corps arrived.
When students come to the SFS, they start to dream bigger than they ever have and are given the tools to make those dreams happen
As Catania himself put it, "When students come to the SFS, they start to dream bigger than they ever have and are given the tools to make those dreams happen. No other school could provide such an experience, where one's studies and the real world overlap to such a great extent."
Catania completed his graduate studies at the Georgetown University Law Center in 1994. He clerked for the Energy Regulatory Commission and served ten years as Senior Counsel for Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, and Feld, before following his calling into the public arena. In 1997, Catania was elected as an At-Large Councilmember for the District of Columbia.
Although he holds his Midwestern Baptist upbringing in high regard, Catania credits the Jesuit educational tradition of cura personalis---care of the whole person--as the source of his broad knowledge of and interest in a number of diverse subjects. As Catania himself has reflected, "Jesuit philosophy, theology and practice centers on assuming responsibility for the people around you." That mentality has served as a guiding force in his life and work, both domestically and abroad. "I was profoundly grateful when I graduated," he remarked, "and have remained so ever since."
Catania's efforts in the DC Government to ensure public safety, obtain affordable health care for all DC residents, tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic and increase the minimum wage speak to his deep regard for that other famous Jesuit tradition--social justice--which he was first exposed to during his time at Georgetown. "Whatever happened to the ethical state of politics?" he asked, noting the Jesuit focus on ethics in international and human affairs. "There are two kinds of people in politics: one, which wants to be in a position of power, and the other, which really has something to say. The experience is hollow if it's just for power."
Councilmember Catania currently chairs the Committee on Health and serves on the Committee on Finance and Revenue as well as the Committee on Libraries, Parks, and Recreation.