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Critical Concerns Week at Georgian Court Focuses on Mercy, Justice

Picture of GCU Justice sign

Since Georgian Court University unwrapped its dynamic Critical Concerns Week in the fall of 2006, the focus annually has been on in depth, scholarly study of one key issue—immigration, the environment, racism, nonviolence, women’s education, health, and spirituality—at a time.

This year the free series will explore the interconnections of all these concerns through the lens of justice. The events, which run November 6-12, are open to the public.

A year of planning went into creating the program, said Evelyn Quinn, GCU vice president for mission integration. The week will “integrate concerns which are, by no means, separate issues. The speakers, the topics and the themes are all interrelated in ways that should broaden our knowledge.”

“Anyone interested in any of the topics presented from economic justice to the environment, to spirituality,” should find Critical Concerns Week a stimulating experience, she said. “These issues are relevant to everyone and the program makes them accessible, morning, noon and night. We are hopeful that the outside community will embrace this week at Georgian Court as a resource.”

The wide-ranging program brings to GCU’s Lakewood campus a number of vibrant, knowledgeable presenters, including headline speaker Bryan Stevenson, founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy, the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller. The book is also the selection for GCU’s First-Year Experience reading assignment. Dubbed “America’s Young Nelson Mandela” by Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu, Mr. Stevenson is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His TED Talk on injustice has been viewed more than 2.5 million times.

Presenters from academic, spiritual, cultural and business backgrounds will share insights on a range of topics including economic inequality, immigration, restorative justice and social justice from a spiritual perspective.

Marianne Comfort, who serves on the Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team, is among the presenters. Ms. Comfort will share insights on Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment and connecting sustainability to all of the Mercy Critical Concerns.

In a brief interview, she shared her enthusiasm about this GCU’s Critical Concerns Week. “It will really give an overview of the underlying conditions that make it so hard for people who are poor to have a sustainable way of life and how the Sisters of Mercy are engaging on these issues,” Ms. Comfort said.

Learn more and register for individual Critical Concerns Week events at For more information, call the Office of Mission Integration at 732-987-2303.

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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