For Immediate Release

Contact:Deborah Gilleran

Rwandan Holocaust Survivor and Author to Speak at Georgian Court

Lakewood, N.J., Sept. 5, 2007—Author and Rwandan holocaust survivor Immaculée Ilibagiza will speak at Georgian Court University in Lakewood on Thursday, September 20, at 6:00 p.m. in the university’s historic Casino building. Ms. Ilibagiza is the author of Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, and will discuss her survival of the 1994 genocide in her African homeland. Her memoir recalls the three bloody months of war between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes in Rwanda.

Ms. Ilibagiza was a 22-year-old college student when the bloody tribal battles began. In her book, Ms. Ilibagiza details the 91 days when she and seven other women took refuge in a pastor’s bathroom, as others who shared her Tutsi heritage were murdered. In this gripping tale, Ms. Ilibagiza tells the story of how she drew strength from prayer during a most horrific time, eventually shedding her fear of death and forming a profound and lasting relationship with God. She emerged from her hideout having discovered the meaning of truly unconditional love—a love so strong she was able to seek out and forgive her family’s killers. Her triumphant story will inspire anyone whose life has been touched by fear, suffering, or loss.

Tickets are $5 per person in advance, $15 per person at the door, and free to members of the GCU community with ID. Reservations are required. For more information and reservations, please contact the Office of Conferences and Special Events at 732.987.2263 or

Ms. Ilibagiza will return to Georgian Court the following morning at 9:15 a.m. to speak to the incoming members of the Class of 2011 as part of the university’s innovative First-Year Experience, a dynamic and interactive introduction to the total university experience. The academic portion is the First-Year Seminar, a semester-long course that helps students make the transition from high school to university life. Students explore their values, learning styles, and career interests; learn the history and mission of Georgian Court; become involved in service learning; and begin to master critical thinking and presentation skills.

“While last year’s First-Year Seminar students found Left to Tell both inspiring and informative, it was Immaculée's personal account of her life that touched the students’ hearts and filled them with respect and admiration for this young woman's struggle, faith, and ability to forgive,” says Mariann Mahon, RSM, director of campus ministry and 1 of the 12 members of the First-Year Seminar faculty. “This dynamic impact led the First-Year Seminar faculty to arrange a return visit of the author, who has heightened student awareness of the personal responsibility to be both informed and responsive to global situations of injustice like the Rwandan holocaust.”

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 and at Coastal Communiversity in Wall and Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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