Lakewood, N.J., September 4, 2018—Georgian Court welcomed new students and celebrated the academic excellence of students and faculty at Convocation 2018, a ceremony that officially marked the start of the 2018-2019 academic year.
More than 600 students, faculty, administration, staff, and parents filled the Wellness Center on a sunny afternoon on August 30 for the ceremony.
“Education at Georgian Court is a community effort, where we invite students to pursue academic excellence integrated with the Mercy core values of respect, justice, integrity, compassion, and service,” President Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D., told the crowd. “These values guide and inform us in this noble endeavor.”
President Marbach noted GCU’s strong commitment to maintaining academic excellence and providing exceptional student experiences.
“In our new Strategic Compass, ensuring and maintaining academic excellence is one of our guiding principles. A second guiding principle is providing an exceptional student experience. For GCU, the two objectives are intricately linked,” Dr. Marbach said. “Students are the North Star that anchors our strategic compass, and the most important service we can provide to our students is offering them an excellent education, both inside and outside the classroom.”
Interim Provost Janice Warner, Ph.D., encouraged students to develop relationships during their time at Georgian Court.
“You have chosen to join GCU. In doing so, you have chosen to join a community where relationships matter,” Dr. Warner said. “Resolve to get to know your faculty, your advisors, and the staff. Talk to them about your ambitions, find out about their career paths, and find opportunities to work on research, participate in development activities, gain experience, and engage in the community. Faculty and staff are ready to support you on your path to graduation and a future of opportunity.”
Student and Faculty Awards
During the ceremony, 21 students were honored with academic awards in their disciplines. Faculty was honored with the unveiling of Faculty Focus 2018, a publication that highlights the extraordinary scholarship and creative work of faculty during the past academic year.
Also honored was Claire B. Gallagher, Ed.D., professor of education, who is the recipient of the 2017 Virginia Graham ’31 Award for Teaching Excellence. She urged students to seek out and take advantage of opportunities that may exist in the spaces between things.
“As this new school year begins, I encourage you to seek out the spaces between things, pay attention, listen for that loud noise, and see where it takes you,” Dr. Gallagher said.
Importance of Mentors
Alumna Mariah Iapicco ’13, ’19, who has served as a teacher in Arizona through the Mercy Volunteer Corps and as a local educator and softball coach, noted the importance of getting involved on campus and forming relationships and mentorships.
“Do not be afraid of getting involved,” she told the students. “You may surprise yourself and really enjoy something that you never expected to. You may become friends with people that you never thought you would even talk to. You may one day hold a very high position in a club or organization that you never expected to. You may form bonds with faculty and staff that you never thought of.”
Kacie Mandella ’19, president of the Student Government Association, led the Student Pledge and Pinning Ceremony of New Students. The ceremony concluded with a special blessing of the new students and a singing of the alma mater, “Hail to the Blue and Gold.”
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, Georgian Court expands possibility for nearly 2,400 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 30+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. In 2017, GCU was named #39 on Washington Monthly’s list of Best Bang for the Buck schools. GCU has also been recognized by The Economist and Colleges of Distinction and is a Military Friendly® School. 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 Hazlet, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.