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Georgian Court Names Commencement 2017 Speakers, Honorees

Students walking on graduation day

Guests for the Georgian Court University Commencement 2017 Ceremonies include a Georgian Court University president emerita, the founder of the nonprofit Move for Hunger, the CEO of J. Knipper and Company, and a globally recognized ecumenical teacher. The Graduate Commencement Ceremony, at which about 170 master’s degree candidates will be celebrated, will take place on Wednesday, May 24. The following day, Thursday, May 25, nearly 400 undergraduates will receive their bachelor’s degrees at the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. Both Commencement ceremonies will take place in the Wellness Center Arena on GCU’s Lakewood campus.

A couple of facts make this year’s undergraduate class special:

  • This year’s undergraduate Commencement marks the graduation of the first male students who entered as freshmen when the university went fully coeducational in the fall of 2013. Men make up 18% of the bachelor’s candidates.
  • Nearly 50% of the bachelor’s degree candidates (48%) are the first in their families to earn a college degree.
  • Of the GCU bachelor’s degree candidates, 45% are New Jersey Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) recipients. TAG aids in-need undergraduates who have been residents of New Jersey.

Graduate Commencement 2017

Adam Lowy Commencement 2017 Web
Adam Lowy

Georgian Court’s two-day celebration begins with the Graduate Commencement Ceremony at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, when Adam Lowy, founder and executive director of Move For Hunger, will deliver the keynote address. Mr. Lowy has received widespread recognition for the nonprofit’s accomplishments. He was a Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellow and was honored at the VH1 Do Something! Awards. Move For Hunger was also honored on the American Giving Awards, which aired on NBC. Mr. Lowy has also appeared on MSNBC and was a guest on Meghan McCain’s show, Raising McCain, and he was also honored as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30. Mr. Lowy represents the New York City Hub of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community and represented the community at the forum’s annual meeting in 2015. GCU will also award Mr. Lowy an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.

President Emerita Barbara Williams, RSM, ’63, archivist and assistant librarian for science and mathematics at GCU, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the university’s Graduate Commencement Ceremony. President Emerita Williams, the university’s seventh president, was the second-longest serving GCU president. She guided Georgian Court in planning for the future by adding academic programs, gaining accreditations, building the endowment, renovating historic buildings, and constructing new spaces as Georgian Court’s enrollment doubled during her tenure. Before becoming president, she also served GCU as registrar, director of library services, and dean of academic affairs.

Undergraduate Commencement 2017

Richard Rohr Commencement 2017 Web
Richard Rohr, OFM

Thursday’s ceremony begins with a Baccalaureate Mass at 9:00 a.m. in the Casino Auditorium. At the 11:30 a.m. Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony, Richard Rohr, OFM, a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will deliver the keynote address. Father Richard is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher who founded the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the CAC in Albuquerque, New Mexico. GCU will also award him an honorary Doctor of Ministry degree.

Deacon James J. Knipper, founder and CEO of J. Knipper and Company and a deacon for the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, will receive an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree at the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on May 25. Deacon Knipper’s business provides services in five locations and is considered an industry leader. He also launched Clear Faith Publishing, which focuses on publishing books with a spiritual foundation. His service includes two terms on the University of Scranton Board of Trustees, and this June he completes his last of 12 years on the GCU Board of Trustees.

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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