Janice Warner, Ph.D.
Interim Provost Janice Warner, Ph.D., is chief academic officer for Georgian Court and leads the university’s faculty and curriculum in the GCU School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business and Digital Media, the School of Education and the Hackensack-Meridian Health School of Nursing.
Dr. Warner, named one of NJBiz’s Best 50 Women in Business for 2017, was most recently dean of the GCU business school, where she was responsible for seven undergraduate majors and the MBA program. In that role, she expanded and revamped programs to meet industry demands, converted concentrations in finance, management and marketing into three new majors, and made global education a key focus of the student experience. She conducted and presented research on the merits of international, collaborative online learning projects in Tanzania and Bhutan, and in 2018 led GCU students on a business tour of Germany where they learned from professionals at Amazon, BMW and other companies.
Dr. Warner has also served as a full-time faculty member and held such leadership positions as chair of the Business Curriculum Committee.
Today, she is a member of the President’s Cabinet, leads the GCU Provost’s Council, and has a leadership role on the university’s Steering Committee for Strategic Planning. She is also a member of GCU’s Middle States Reaccreditation Steering Committee. She is active with the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), serves on the board of directors of the Northeast Business & Economics Association (NBEA), and is the president of the New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Association (NJCBAA).
Dr. Warner, who has degrees from Columbia University (B.S. and M.S., electrical engineering) and Rutgers University (M.B.A., Ph.D., management), came to academia from industry, where she maintains strong ties. A former director for Telcordia Technologies, she also serves on the board of directors for the Monmouth Ocean Development Council and the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce and participates in the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.
Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management and Retention
Kathleen Boody has a track record for success when it comes to keeping college students enrolled and engaged. She joined GCU in 2011 and has driven instrumental change by implementing various programs and processes to improve retention and graduation rates. Ms. Boody established GCU’s Chart the Course program, which has been recognized nationally and helped secure GCU’s first federal Title III grant valued at nearly $2 million. She was honored to present findings about the program’s success at the national Retention Consortium in 2017.
Ms. Boody is committed to the holistic success of students. She is proud of her time as a moderator of GCU’s Mercy Collegiate Society, which embraces the mission of the Sisters of Mercy and helps newer generations of students adopt the Sisters’ enduring Mercy core values. She even made it a point to travel to Dublin in 2013 during her vacation to visit Baggot Street, the mission where Catherine McAuley established the Sisters of Mercy nearly 200 years ago. Ms. Boody also guides GCU’s Relay for Life Club, which raises awareness and money to support the fight against cancer. During GCU’s annual student leadership awards ceremony, the group is consistently recognized as a standout organization for excellence in service to community.
In her new role as interim vice president for enrollment and retention, Ms. Boody oversees the complete enrollment cycle of students from admission to graduation. She supervises the offices of Admissions, the Registrar, Student Success, and Academic Development & Support.
Prior to serving at Georgian Court, Ms. Boody was assistant dean of students at Centenary University, where she led retention efforts through management of the offices of Student Activities, Career Development, Health & Counseling Services, and Residential Life.
Paul DaPonte, Ph.D.
Executive Director of Mission Integration and Special Assistant to the President
Paul DaPonte joined Georgian Court in 2018 and serves the university as executive director of mission integration. He is a theologian whose scholarly interests lie chiefly in the area of theological anthropology and the theology of person. Before coming to GCU, Dr. DaPonte was an associate professor of religious studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, where he taught for 10 years and also served as vice president for mission and identity. In his capacity as chief mission officer, he established The Farm at Stonehill, a two-acre working farm under the supervision of a full-time farm manager and staffed primarily by student and faculty volunteers, with the mission of growing fresh produce for underserved and impoverished communities in nearby areas and raising awareness of food justice issues. Before his years at Stonehill, Dr. DaPonte previously taught in the Perspectives program at Boston College, and before that, at Salve Regina University, one of GCU’s sister Mercy schools.
Dr. DaPonte is a proud Rhode Island native who moved with his family to New Jersey in 2016. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Providence College and pursued graduate studies at the University of Louvain in Belgium, where he earned master’s and doctoral degrees. His Ph.D./S.T.D. thesis offered a theological response to the problem of suffering after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It was published by Orbis Books in 2009 as Hope in an Age of Terror.
Matthew R. Manfra
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Veteran development and alumni relations expert Matthew Manfra brings decades of experience and innovation to his role as vice president for institutional advancement at Georgian Court University. He has worked in wide-ranging development and advancement roles throughout his career. His early years were spent as an alumni affairs director, and later in human resources, at the College of New Jersey (TCNJ). He also worked at Syracuse University as their first assistant vice president for annual giving and alumni relations—two operations that were historically separate there. He also worked at Rutgers University, where he was charged with engaging alumni leaders and donors around the world.
Prior to Georgian Court, Mr. Manfra served as interim vice president of development and alumni relations at the George Washington University, the largest higher education institution in the nation’s capital. There, he led the team that completed GW’s largest campaign—$1 billon—in collaboration with an exceptionally strong development staff and by incorporating data and predictive forecasting into the campaign strategy.
Mr. Manfra holds a B.A. in Political Science from TCNJ. He is a board member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District II and former secretary of the Association of Private College and University Alumni Directors.
Gail H. Towns
Executive Director of Marketing & Communications
Gail Towns joined Georgian Court University in 2009 as director of public information and in 2011 became director of the university’s marketing and communications office, which manages editorial services, graphic design, advertising and marketing, Web/electronic communications, grants, and government relations. She was named executive director in 2015 and leads a team of professionals committed to telling the story of GCU’s role in shaping and changing students’ lives.
The marketing team also promotes the university’s successes and provides strategic counsel regarding all communications efforts. In her current role, Ms. Towns works with students, faculty, campus administrators, and alumni to share the many ways GCU expands possibility for students and the communities they serve.
Her passion for higher education is not new. More than two decades ago, Ms. Towns began her journalism career covering K-12 public schools and colleges and universities for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She also taught writing and reporting courses at Western Michigan University (WMU) and the University of Cincinnati. In addition, she worked in college and university relations posts at Atlanta Technical College and WMU, and was a parenting columnist for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Hamilton Journal-News and Cincinnati Parent. Her work has also appeared in Currents, the magazine of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
Ms. Towns, who is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and College & University Public Relations and Associated Professionals (CUPRAP), holds a B.A. from Clark Atlanta University and an M.S. from Northwestern University.
James E. Trusdell
Vice President for Finance and Administration/Chief Financial Officer
Jim Trusdell is a progressive financial executive, operational leader, and business advisor with more than 25 years of experience successfully leading financial organizations and operations in both the higher education and corporate industries. Throughout his career, Mr. Trusdell has established a reputation of building financial organizations and streamlining business operations to drive growth, productivity, and bottom-line results. Most recently, he served four years as the vice president for finance and administration and CFO for Holy Family University and led the financial turnaround that resulted in four years of revenue growth, improved financial results, and balanced operations. Prior to his tenure at Holy Family University, he served in various financial leadership roles at Temple University, most notably, serving six years as associate dean of finance and chief of staff for Temple’s College of Health Professions and Social Work.
Prior to transitioning into higher education, Mr. Trusdell worked in the insurance industry for 17 years, including two years at Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company as their assistant vice president of cost and budget, and 15 years at CIGNA Corporation, where he served as the controller for their managed disability business and assistant vice president, claim operations for CIGNA’s Integrated Care division.