For Immediate Release
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The Struggle Continues: GCU Hosts Civil Rights Expert Mary Frances Berry

Georgian Court University Hosts Former Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Lakewood, N.J., Feb. 18, 2011—The struggle for civil rights is just as important today as it was in the 1950s and 1960s, according to Mary Frances Berry, Ph.D., the former chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who will discuss modern-day civil rights problems and solutions at Georgian Court University on Friday, February 25, at 6:30 p.m. The event, which will take place in the Dorothy Marron University Community Chapel on GCU’s historic Lakewood campus, is open to the public.

“Today’s struggles—education policies, education reforms, criminal justice matters, the cradle-to-prison pipeline, drugs, and even HIV infection rates—are all related,” says Dr. Berry, now the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches history and law.

More than ever, the people who are affected by such issues are the people who are struggling to get ahead, she says, adding that civil rights issues are hardly limited to matters of race. Instead, today’s civil rights problems affect young people who are first in their families to go to college, and families that are “on the edge, just getting by,” she says. “They are people suffering from unemployment and underemployment.”

Dr. Berry, who also served as Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, is one of the founders of the Free South Africa Movement. She also was the first woman of any race to head a major research university, the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Lauded by many honorary degrees and awards, including one of “America’s Women of the Century,” from the Women’s Hall of Fame, Dr. Berry is never one to rest on her laurels. She continues to speak boldly for those who can’t speak for themselves. Her most recent book is And Justice for All: The United States Commission On Civil Rights And the Struggle For Freedom in America.

“The civil rights struggle is still urgent and still relevant,” says Dr. Berry, who will also address the many disparities in American society and how personal responsibility plays a role in solving problems. “There has to be a movement to deal with these issues, and we have to do more than complain.”

General admission for Dr. Berry’s presentation is $5; the event is free to GCU students with ID. Reservations are required, and can be made by contacting the GCU Office of Conferences and Special Events at or 732.987.2263.

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 nearly 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 One Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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