Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., President of Georgian Court University
Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., became the eighth president of Georgian Court College (now University) in Lakewood, New Jersey, on July 1, 2001. President Jeffries, a Catholic Sister of Mercy, brought with her an understanding of higher education and both secular and religious leadership experiences, and has led the university through unprecedented growth since she took the helm.
President Jeffries shepherded the 106-year-old institution through the process of changing from college to university status, which was awarded in February 2004. In 2012, she and trustee leadership announced the decision to transition GCU to a fully coeducational university.
During President Jeffries' first five years as president, $28 million in construction and renovation also took place on the Lakewood campus. This included the Dorothy Marron University Community Chapel, St. Catherine Residence Hall for students, Mercy Residence Hall for the Sisters of Mercy and visiting faculty, the Audrey Birish George Science Center, and the Court Café, a campus eatery for commuting students. During her tenure, the campus also celebrated the grand opening of its $26-million, 67,000-square-foot Wellness Center, which was later certified as LEED-gold by the U.S.Green Building Council.
President Jeffries spearheaded the largest fundraising effort in the university's history, the Campaign for Georgian Court, which raised $17.2 in 2008 and exceeded its original goal of $15 million. This campaign helped to guarantee GCU's ability to offer a high-quality, Catholic education to students at the time and into the future.
The university has seen dramatic changes since President Jeffries took the helm, most recently the transition to full coeducation. While the university served men in evening and graduate courses for decades, it was only in 2012 and 2013 that GCU began to fully accommodated men in all classes, campus life and its NCAA Division II sports program.
Over the years, President Jeffries has also overseen a range of educational and community partnerships, including the former GCU at Woodbridge, GCU at Cumberland County College, and President Jeffries has instituted or strengthened special agreements with Brookdale Community College, Burlington County College, Ocean County College, Union County College, Middlesex County College, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, the former UMDNJ (now a part of Rutgers).
President Jeffries has also founded a strong service learning program at GCU, which gives students and faculty the opportunity to put Georgian Court's Mercy core values-compassion, respect, integrity, service, and justice-into action.
She also has strengthened the global character of Georgian Court University, bringing international students to New Jersey and establishing partnerships between GCU and universities in the Philippines, Honduras, Japan, and China. Since 2012, she has led expansion of GCU's international programming with Villanova University and John Cabot University in Rome, and through the university's Global Transformation Initiative, announced in 2013.
President Jeffries currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph's College, West Hartford, CT; chair of the New Jersey Presidents' Council; NJ EDGE; the Mercy Presidents' Council; and she is a former member of the Catholic Charities Board of Trustees, Diocese of Trenton.
President Jeffries has been published in numerous journals, such as Campus Technology, New Catholic World, and Horizon: Journal of the National Religious Vocation Conference, on topics that include religious life and media and gospel values.
President Jeffries, a native of Ocean City, New Jersey, holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Fordham University, an M.A. in Religious Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary, an M.A. in Public Communications from Fordham, and a B.A. in Art Education from Georgian Court College.