Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., '72, President of Georgian Court University

Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., '72 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 now-107-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 Hall, Mercy Hall, the Audrey Birish George Science Center, and the Court Café. 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 fund-raising 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 accommodate 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 Georgian Court-Meridian Health School of Nursing and the GCU-Brookdale Community College Guaranteed Admissions Initiative, and President Jeffries has instituted or strengthened special agreements with 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 strengthened GCU's global character, bringing international students to New Jersey and establishing partnerships between GCU and universities in Italy, Tanzenia, Scotland, and other countries. She led expansion of GCU's international programming through the university's Global Transformation Initiative.

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.

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