Healy Hall is the historic flagship building at the main campus of Georgetown University. The building was listed on DC Inventory of Historic Sites in 1964, on the National Register of Historic Places on May 25, 1971, and as a National Historic Landmark on December 23, 1987.
The building was built during the presidency of Patrick Healy, the first black president of an American university, for whom it is named.
The construction of the building, from 1877 to 1879, dramatically increased the amount of classroom and living space - at the time it was also used as a dormitory - of what was then a small liberal arts college. The construction also left the university deeply in debt and in possession for years of an enormous pile of dirt as a result of the excavation, with no funds to remove it. As a result of the debts, the Gaston Hall auditorium could not be completed until 1909.
Built in the Flemish Romanesque style by architects Smithmeyer and Pelz, the building contains the Office of the President, John J. DeGioia; Georgetown's Department of Classics; the Kennedy Institute of Ethics; and the National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature.
Notable rooms in Healy include Riggs Library, one of the few extant cast iron libraries in the nation; the Philodemic Room, the meeting room for the Philodemic Society, the oldest collegiate debating club in the nation; the grand Hall of Cardinals; the historic Constitution Room; and the Carroll Parlor, which houses several notable pieces from the university's art collection.
Perhaps the grandest space in the building is Gaston Hall, Georgetown's "Jewel in the Crown", the 750-seat auditorium which has played host to multitudes of world leaders and which seems perpetually to be the backdrop of C-SPAN. (For more information on Georgetown's many distinguished speakers, see main article:Georgetown University). Gaston, located on the third and fourth floors and named for Georgetown's first student, William Gaston, is decorated with the coats of arms of the Jesuit colleges and universities and rich allegorical scenes painted by notable Jesuit artist Brother Francis C. Schroen, S.J. Brother Schroen also created the intricate paintings found in the Carroll Parlor and on the ceiling of the Bioethics Reference Center's Hirst Reading Room.