Virtual instruction will continue for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. This policy applies to undergraduate and graduate courses held at all locations. A decision will be made about all Commencement activities on or before April 20. All other public and campus events and activities and athletics competitions and practices are canceled for the regular semester. Many university offices and buildings will remain open with modified hours and limited staff. Check GCU e-mails and for the most up-to-date information.

University News

Georgian Court’s Critical Concerns 2020 Focuses on “Earth: Land & Sea”

forest image for Critical Concerns 2020

This event is being rescheduled for the fall. This page will be updated with the new dates when they are available.

Care for the environment is the focus of Georgian Court University’s Critical Concerns Week 2020. The March 23–26 observance of “Earth: Land & Sea” includes a lineup of more than 25 events and activities that are open to the public. Critical Concerns 2020 also includes guest speakers Steve Curwood of NPR’s Living on Earth, now in its 28th year, and Jim Waltman, executive director of The Watershed Institute. The Pennington, New Jersey-based nonprofit works to protect water and the environment in Central New Jersey through conservation, advocacy, science, and education.

Critical Concerns Week reflects the slate of issues addressed by the Sisters of Mercy, GCU’s sponsoring organization. Each year since 2006, GCU has dedicated a week of in-depth scholarly study to special concerns, including women’s issues, the environment, immigration and identity, and nonviolence. This year’s area of overall focus, the environment, will go beyond one week as university officials are also planning an Earth Day event, slated this year for Wednesday, April 22.

Beyond Critical Concerns Week, an Opportunity to Act

Students, faculty, alumni, and members of the community are encouraged to participate. And there’s something for everyone, according to Paul DaPonte, Ph.D., executive director for mission integration and special assistant to GCU’s president. In addition to hands-on demonstrations, prayer gatherings and a closing Mass, the week includes:

  • Film ScreeningsMerchants of Doubt (Monday, March 23) and The Biggest Little Farm (Tuesday, March 24)
  • Special Presentations and Panel DiscussionsJersey-Friendly Yards with the Barnegat Bay Partnership and Highlighting the Business Community’s Commitment to the Land & Sea (both Tuesday, March 24); and Threats to the Pinelands from the Pinelands Preservation Alliance (Wednesday, March 25); and
  • Artistic Programming—A poetry slam (Monday, March 23), dance performances (Wednesday, March 25) and an art installation (through April 23)

“This isn’t just a week to go to events and store the experience in our memory,” says Dr. DaPonte. “It’s an experience that heightens awareness and encourages a ‘mental ecology’ of the overall awareness of creation and how everything is interconnected. Critical Concerns Week should prompt us to live differently.”

A Critical Concern Rooted in Faith

In a 2016 message about caring for creation, Pope Francis proposed an addition to the seven corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Caring for the earth, the Pope said, “calls for a grateful contemplation of God’s world, which allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us.”

That’s an important takeaway, according to Dr. DaPonte. “We are examining this concern in the context of our Catholic, Mercy identity,” he says. “This is experiential, informational, and prayerful—all at once. At GCU, our educational mission is not limited to learning online or sitting in a classroom.

“All too often it is easy to think about the environment in terms of global issues while not considering the local bearing on our lives,” said Dr. DaPonte. “After Critical Concerns Week, we want people to be transformed toward more responsible living.” Visit to view the complete schedule for Critical Concerns 2020. To learn more, contact Jennifer DePietro in the GCU Office of Mission Integration at 732-987-2303.

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 2,400 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 14 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2019, GCU was named a Best College for Your Money by Money Magazine and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. GCU rose more than 30 points in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report rankings due, in part, to high student retention and graduation rates, which also made GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility. 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, GCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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