For Immediate Release
Georgian Court University President Gives University A+
Sister Rosemary Jeffries Delivers State of the University Address
Lakewood, N.J., Oct. 9, 2007—On September 27, Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., president of Georgian Court University, presented the annual State of the University Address to the GCU community. Held in the historic Casino building on the Lakewood campus, President Jeffries gave highlights of the university’s successes over the past 12 months, and detailed plans for the future.
The underlying theme of the address was how Georgian Court ties all decisions—all planning, all achievements, and all financial commitments—to the mission and vision of the nearly 100-year-old comprehensive university.
She emphasized that it is the mission that drives all planning at Georgian Court by saying, “At the heart of our planning is the mission. Mission linked to planning is by design. We will only be GOOD…or even BETTER, if we truly embrace and implement the bold mission we hold here at Georgian Court.”
“We are good today, and each year we live up to the challenge to be better tomorrow.”
In discussing the university’s finances, President Jeffries stated that GCU’s conservative financial approach paid off last year, as the university ended the year balanced and with a modest increase. This came at a time of diminishing state funding, rising costs of energy consumption, and relatively flat enrollment. At the same time, the endowment and the university’s long-term investment pool grew.
Enrollment, she said, grew only marginally with a 1% increase in the number of undergraduate students and a 7% increase in the number of graduate students in the past year. However, when looking at the four-year period of 2003 to 2007, the university has seen the number of freshmen increase by 68%, with the number of freshman resident students in 2007 greater than the total number of all resident students in 2003.
President Jeffries pointed out that even with modest tuition increases, Georgian Court is still among the most affordable independent institutions in the country—more than $1,000 below their peers.
In discussing the university’s marketing efforts, President Jeffries explained that the institution’s marketing campaign gained more than a half million dollars of editorial space through coverage of GCU faculty, students, and events. Additionally, through different Web strategies, the number of Web site visitors has more than doubled in a three-year period to 2.3 million in 2006.
“And our Georgian Court University tagline “A Tradition of Excellence…A Future of Success” was ranked number one nationally by Student Insights Market Research for Higher Education,” she said.
The president also detailed plans for the Centennial Celebration during the 2008–2009 academic year.
In the area of advancement, President Jeffries explained that the school is now in the last year of the Campaign for Georgian Court, a five-year program that had an initial goal of $10 million. She said GCU had surpassed that original goal by $4.5 million.
However, she pointed out that the university still needs another $1 million to support the Wellness Center project, which is currently underway.
“Many times during this report, I mentioned the hard work of creating a new general education curriculum. That work was so important to many of our goals for the future,” she said.
In discussing curriculum, President Jeffries detailed the three new majors recently initiated by the university: a B.A. in Dance; a B.S. in Exercise Science, Wellness, and Sports; and a B.S. in Tourism, Hospitality, and Recreation Management.
“Additionally, Georgian Court has developed five specialized graduate courses on autism spectrum disorders, the fastest-growing developmental disability in the country,” of which New Jersey has the highest incidence rate in the nation, she said.
In closing, President Jeffries tied all achievements back to embracing the mission, and keeping an eye on the core business of Georgian Court—academic and student life. “We have been grounded in this work by being faithful to our mission, which challenges us to integrate the Mercy core values, to provide a balanced education, to strive for excellence, and to do all of that as a dynamic community.”
“We are all in the business of education...all of us! From the maintenance worker and security guard to the faculty member and career counselor...we all share the mission of educating students for success, leadership, and service,” she stated.
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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