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Catholic School Education Leaders Breakfast Stresses Value-Added Education and Collaboration

Lynn DeCapua at podium

Lynn DeCapua, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education, led the morning’s program.

Speakers at a Catholic School Education Leaders Breakfast, held October 21 during the Inaugural Week celebrating GCU’s new president Joseph R. Marbach, focused on two themes: the value of Catholic K–graduate education and how collaboration between Georgian Court University and Catholic schools in the dioceses of Camden, Metuchen, and Trenton will increase the availability of Catholic education in Central and South Jersey.

President Marbach stressed that the education offered at Georgian Court is a value-added, value-based education. He noted that MONEY magazine named Georgian Court the 25th best school in the country for adding educational value and is a “Best Bang for the Buck” as noted by Washington Monthly. He also noted the recent naming of the university as a College of Distinction, and more importantly, a Catholic College of Distinction.

“This is a value-oriented institution, and we are positioned to become the Catholic university for South and Central New Jersey,” President Marbach said. “This will result in Catholic education having a stronger presence in the dioceses and will give students the opportunity to pursue a Catholic education from kindergarten through graduate school.”

President Marbach made it clear that he has taken steps to increase GCU’s presence in the dioceses. “I’d like to announce that Georgian Court will now have a dedicated Catholic schools liaison in the Office of Admissions, and every Catholic school student will now have two points of contact in the Georgian Court admissions office: the new Catholic school liaison and his or her regional counselor,” he said. “This will make it even easier for your students to continue their Catholic education.”

More Contacts and Scholarships to Ease Transition

President Marbach introduced Tracey Howard-Ubelhoer, director of admissions information systems at Georgian Court University, as the newly appointed Catholic school liaison.

Ms. Howard-Ubelhoer had a few announcements of her own. She told the gathering that GCU would offer a dedicated minimum $2,000 scholarship for any Catholic high school graduate. “That will be a wonderful opportunity to extend the opportunity to continue on the next level of education,” she said.

Ms. Howard-Ubelhoer also announced two new awards: the Georgian Court Academic Achievement Book Award and the Georgian Court Service and Leadership Book Award. “These awards are targeted towards your academically prepared leaders and community-service-based students,” she said.

There will be two awards per school, and recipients who later apply to Georgian Court will have their application fee waived and receive a minimum of $10,000 in aid. Each school may nominate one junior for each award (multiple awards may not be given to the same student) by e-mailing the student’s name and contact information by March 1 to Tracey Howard-Ubelhoer at gubjneq@trbetvna.rqh.

New Academic Opportunities

Evelyn Saul Quinn, M.Ed., M.S.W., vice president for mission integration, talked about the MercyWorx Youth Theological Institute proposed for July 2016, which brings together three partners—the Center for FaithJustice, the Diocese of Trenton Department of Catholic Social Services under Joanne Dress, D.C., and Georgian Court University. Exceptionally gifted and talented Catholic high school students will have the opportunity to participate in a residential three-week, 3-credit, 100-level theological course that includes working afternoons in local social service agencies. Campus career services will be coordinating with the MercyWorX students to do small-group exploration of appropriate majors.

“Most importantly,” said Ms. Quinn, “we will be helping these students to find their calling, and look into how that calling could turn into a professional career.” She also noted that the program will have an international component: Jennifer Summerhays, GCU’s director of global education programs, is bringing in students from Brazil, Ecuador, Italy, and possibly Jamaica, to become virtual experience partners.

Timothy M. Briles, Ed.D., associate professor and assistant dean of the School of Education, reiterated GCU’s desire to collaborate with Catholic high schools on an academic level. He talked about GCU’s offering of five online courses that are open to Catholic high school students. These students could then enter college having already completed a full semester of courses.

“We all need students,” noted Dr. Briles. “As we’re convincing them and helping parents to make the decision to get a Catholic education, we can encourage them to think of this as an eight-year commitment of high school through college. We want to create partnerships to be able to do this.”

Click here for more photos from the event.

Story contributed by freelance writer Michele Hujber, APR.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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