For Immediate Release

Contact: Deborah Gilleran

Georgian Court University to Launch New Wellness Center Complex

Grand Opening Festivities Coincide with “Mercy Day”

Lakewood, N.J., Aug. 7, 2008—On Wednesday, September 24, 2008, Georgian Court University will officially open the new $26-million Wellness Center Complex with a 3:00 p.m. dedication ceremony and blessing to be conducted by Bishop John Smith of the Diocese of Trenton. The event coincides with Mercy Day, a feast day of Our Lady of Mercy and a day celebrated around the globe by the Sisters of Mercy, GCU’s sponsoring organization.

“Wellness at Georgian Court University means educating and nurturing the whole person—body, mind, and spirit, a classical notion that promotes a holistic view of life,” Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., university president, says.

“The Wellness Center Complex will be a specific place on campus devoted to promoting well-being,” she adds.  “This emphasis on wellness will complement our academic excellence, our focus on leadership and community service, and will give our students a truly well-rounded university  education.”

Mr. Andrew P. Christ, P.E., Georgian Court University’s assistant vice president for operations, adds that the new complex also provides the Georgian Court community with a facility that respects the environment. He explains that the entire Wellness Complex is designed with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification in mind.  The complex incorporates recycled materials and water, material, and energy efficiency. 

“Designing this facility using the high performance design standards set by the LEED rating system provides our students with a real-life example of taking action toward a more sustainable culture,” says Mr. Christ.  The university has applied for LEED certification; the decision is expected in September.

President Jeffries adds that both the green and wellness concepts support the Sisters of Mercy core value of respect, “an environmentally-friendly ‘green’ structure shows respect for all living things; and wellness focuses on respect for self.”

The new 69,510-square-foot building and complex include state-of-the-art athletic fields; an eight-lane track; six tennis courts; an arena shared by volleyball and basketball with seating for 1,200 spectators; a training/exercise science laboratory; two studios for dance; a fitness center; administrative offices; a classroom; locker rooms; outdoor spaces for reflection and gathering; and the new university bookstore. [See accompanying Wellness Center Complex Fact Sheet for more detailed information.]

In addition to housing the new dance major and the new exercise science, wellness, and sports major, this new facility will also house Georgian Court's current 8 NCAA Division II sports with room for expansion in the future.

Considerable planning went into successfully incorporating the new, state-of-the-art facility into the historic architecture and picturesque 156-acre Georgian Court University campus. The new facility’s design responds to Georgian Court’s historic buildings and nationally recognized arboretum, drawing on a rich palette of original materials to create a building of appropriate scale. The single-story structure is composed of multiple small masses interspersed with gardens for outdoor activities. Building areas are linked by continuous light-filled colonnades culminating in a spacious, light-filled lobby topped by a curved roof.

The building’s placement adjacent to the existing library, academic buildings, and café creates a new landscaped campus quad and an important new campus center, unifying the Wellness Center in a village-like atmosphere.

Funding for the Wellness Center Complex was included in the Campaign for Georgian Court, a comprehensive campaign that supported capital projects such as the Wellness Center, scholarship endowment, and targeted campus program initiatives. The original goal of the campaign was $10 million, which Georgian Court exceeded by raising a total of $17.2 million in gifts and pledges.

Initial groundbreaking for the facility took place on April 27, 2007. Although some faculty members have begun to occupy various office spaces, most of the complex’s facilities will open at the beginning of the fall semester.

For more information about the GCU Wellness Center Complex Opening and Mercy Day Celebration, please call 732.987.2266 or e-mail

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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