For Immediate Release
Contact: Deborah Gilleran
Georgian Court University to Hold Centennial Commencement 2008
New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram to speak
Lakewood, N.J., Apr. 1, 2008—Georgian Court University will hold its Centennial Commencement 2008 ceremony on Friday, May 16, granting 415 undergraduate and 188 graduate degrees. “This Commencement is very significant for us as a university since it takes place during our Centennial year,” explained Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM [Religious Sister of Mercy], Ph.D., university president. “We’re also honored to have Attorney General Anne Milgram and Patricia Licuanan, president of Miriam College in the Philippines, as speakers,” she continued. “These women are excellent role models for our students, encouraging them to pursue their goals and make a positive difference in the lives of others.”
Anne Milgram, New Jersey Attorney General, will address the undergraduates at their 2:00 p.m. ceremony. Attorney General Milgram, who supervises the 9,600-person Department of Law and Public Safety, previously held positions in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and in the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division, where she rose to become the lead prosecutor in the nation for human trafficking crimes. In her first year in office, Attorney General Milgram has tackled some of the tough issues facing New Jersey, including ordering local police to obtain the immigration status of those charged with serious crimes, prosecuting organized crime, and most recently investigating a Web site in which one college student may make harmful remarks about another.
Patricia Licuanan, president of Miriam College in the Philippines and trustee for the Center for Asia Pacific Women in Politics, will give the graduate Commencement address at 9:00 a.m. President Licuanan has been a champion for social and educational reform and gender issues in the Philippines. President Licuanan has held various positions in the past, including academic vice president and professor of psychology at Ateneo de Manila University and commissioner and chair of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women. She also headed the Philippine Delegation for the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 in Beijing.
In addition to the speakers, four other individuals who exemplify the core values of Georgian Court will be awarded honorary degrees during the Commencement ceremonies:
—Margaret Cleary, Georgian Court College Class of 1951, is the president of the W.A. Cleary Corporation, a family business that has supplied release agents and lecithin to the baking and confectionery industries for over 55 years. Ms. Cleary is an influential member of her civic community, serving other local not-for-profits in the New Brunswick area.
—Maria Elena Gonzalez, RSM, recently stepped down as president of the Mexican American Cultural Center, a position that she held for 14 years. She was the first woman chancellor in the Diocese of Lubbock and one of the first women diocesan chancellors in the country. She also served as a consultant to the Committee for Hispanic Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1994–2002; as a member of the Bishops’ Subcommittee for the National Encuentro 2000; and on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Race and Ethnicity Committee for the 2000 Census, the San Antonio Express News Community Advisory Board, and the leadership team of the Sisters of Mercy. She has received numerous awards, including the Archbishop Patrick F. Flores Award Medal for Leadership in Hispanic Ministry and the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal from Pope John Paul II.
—Grace Nolan, RSM, is the coordinator of the Atlantic County Family Services and Community Center for Catholic Charities. She, her staff, and her volunteers provide emergency assistance to those in need, including refugees. They also operate a food pantry and thrift shop and give assistance to individuals to help pay for rent and utilities. The center also provides counseling to pregnant women. Sister Nolan is a member of the Atlantic County Women’s Hall of Fame and has received the Proclaimer of Life Award from the Diocese of Camden and the Mainlander of the Year Award from the Atlantic City Regional Mainland Chamber of Commerce. Sister Nolan has had the honor of having an award named after her: the “Sister Grace Nolan Award for Social Ministry” is given annually by Catholic Charities to an individual committed to serving others.
—Judge Eugene D. Serpentelli served as a New Jersey Superior Court judge for nearly 29 years before retiring from the bench last July. He served as the assignment judge of Ocean County for over 22 years and, at his retirement, was the longest serving assignment judge in the history of the judiciary. During his time on the bench, Judge Serpentelli sat in all divisions of the court. He served as chair of the Supreme Court Committee on Family Practice from its inception in 1983, and as the chair of the statewide domestic violence working group from its inception in 1989. He also chaired or was a member of over 20 other civil and family division committees.
Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.
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