For Immediate Release

Contact: Deborah Gilleran

Georgian Court President Gives “State of the University” Address

Address Helps Mark the University's Centennial Anniversary

Lakewood, N.J., Sept. 25, 2008—On Thursday, September 25, 2008, at 2:00 p.m., Georgian Court University President Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., delivered the annual State of University speech to a crowd of about 250 in the university’s historic Casino building. The speech, which took on special significance in this, the university’s Centennial year, gave a nod to the past and a hint of what lies ahead for the Sisters of Mercy-sponsored university.

“This 2008–09 academic year promises to be filled with many opportunities to mark our 100th anniversary with events that challenge us to serve; inspire us to grow, thrive, respect the Earth and all living beings; and encourage us to practice justice. We are walking our new path to the second century with integrity and compassion, ever mindful of our mission,” President Jeffries said in her opening remarks.

Among academic achievements, President Jeffries noted that the faculty had implemented the new core curriculum, and approved and developed a B.S.N. degree and an Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate.

She also stated that the Academic and Student Life Integrated Plan will transform how the university will assess student learning and further commits GCU to develop the whole person. This philosophy of ministering to the whole person, she said, is consistent with the GCU mission.

“I emphasize this accomplishment because, for me, it provides the first important lesson of the last academic year that moves us toward our future,” President Jeffries said. “The education of the whole person—complete with Mercy values, excellent academics, experiential learning opportunities, and measurable results—is the cornerstone of any future planning, fund-raising, and building. Education for the whole person drives the strategic plan going into the future and determines enrollment strategies.”

The president reported that enrollment for the previous academic year was consistent with previous growth, with the Class of 2012 the highest in GCU history at 255 students. Graduate enrollment has also increased, and the number of students living on campus has grown to 422 students.

President Jeffries also stated that the university added two new competitive sports and the staff necessary to support them, and said that student-athletes excel both on and off the courts: athletes have maintained a GPA of 3.17 over the past five years, and the GCU Lions made it to nine conference championships in that same time period.

President Jeffries stated that there were many initiatives to mark the university’s 100th anniversary, including: the Centennial book published by Arcadia Publishing, which is now in its second printing; the creation of a sub-Web site; and the Court of Honor, recognizing 100 outstanding graduates.

President Jeffries discussed the addition of the new Wellness Center Complex and the fields, tennis courts, and track saying, “This Silver LEED®-constructed project integrates student life, academic departments, and athletics. Along with our commitment to build this structure to green specifications, plant management under Andrew Christ [assistant vice president for operations] continues to work toward greater and greater sustainability.”

She added that there were several plans to make the entire campus more eco-friendly.

Regarding advancement, President Jeffries said that the university finished its first comprehensive campaign ahead of goal at $17.2 million, and that she is most proud of receiving the Kresge Challenge Grant, which is given by the 14th largest foundation in the country.

She also stated that the mission-driven strategic plan provided a foundation for the financial planning, and most all areas of the university. “Mission is only as good as each of us is willing to live it.... What we learned here is that planning and mission are fundamental, and the integration of effort is key,” she said.

In closing, President Jeffries stated, “We can, I believe, make this Centennial year a new beginning for how we operate at GCU, and to keep us strong to be, in the words of Catherine McAuley, ‘good today’—and we are very good today—‘but better tomorrow.’ I am grateful for the grace we have been showered with as a campus this past year, and I am grateful for the many ways each of you has made us worthy of being the Mercy University of New Jersey.”

For a transcript of the Georgian Court University State of the University Address, contact Deborah Gilleran, director of public information and university communications at 732.987.2266.

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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