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University News

Olympian Gabby Douglas Joins GCU During Women’s History Month

Gabby Douglas-NBC photo

Gabby Douglas, the Olympic gymnast who won medals in London (2012) and Rio (2016), will share her journey to success when she speaks at Georgian Court University, Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 6 p.m. in the university’s historic Casino. Ms. Douglas will join GCU Dean of Students Amani Jennings for an on-stage conversation about her achievements and the challenges she has faced as a world-class athlete.

“An Evening with Gabby Douglas” is open to the public. Admission is free for Georgian Court University faculty, students and staff; general admission is $10 per person and tickets must be reserved online in advance. The event is sponsored by the GCU Office of Student Life and the Office of Conferences and Special Events.

“This is an incredible opportunity to hear directly from a living legend,” said Janice Warner, Ph.D., interim provost for GCU. “Gabby Douglas is known worldwide for her extraordinary talent as an athlete, but her story is bigger than that.

“She often speaks of persistence, determination, and preparation as key elements to her athletic success. We look forward to her conversation about how those characteristics shape success in all areas of life,” said Dr. Warner.

It’s no coincidence that her appearance at GCU comes during Women’s History Month—an important observance she mentioned to her 1.6 million Instagram followers in 2018.

“Along the journey, you’re going to have so many challenges and so many people will tell you ‘You can’t do it. It’s too much.’ But I just want to encourage women to be strong,” Ms. Douglas said, “and to be powerful and have confidence.”

She continued in a written post: “If you don’t like something, change it! In honor of Women’s History Month, let’s continue to inspire one another to be courageous and confident! Never be afraid to stand up and make a difference.”

Gabby Douglas—Making History

Ms. Douglas spent years perfecting her craft before the world took notice at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. That’s where, at age 16, she won gold medals in both the team and individual all-around competitions and became the first woman of color of any nationality—and the first African-American gymnast in Olympic history—to become the Individual All-Around Champion.

She is also the first American gymnast to win gold in both the gymnastic individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympic games. Four years later, she competed in Brazil where she brought home gold again, this time with the unforgettable Olympic team that included fellow Americans Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, and Madison Kocian.

Today, at age 23, Ms. Douglas’ influence spreads far and wide. She has been on the cover of countless magazines, conducted interviews with icons like Oprah Winfrey, seen her life portrayed in a made-for-TV movie, and written inspirational books, including Grace, Glory, Gold. In speaking engagements across the United States, she often addresses the difficult issues athletes face, such as self-doubt, injury and recuperation, and the power of persistence in spite of pain.

In 2017, toy giant Mattel released the Gabby Douglas Barbie doll as part of its Shero collection, intended to honor women who break barriers. She has also worked with such brands as Nike, Procter & Gamble, Target, AT&T, McDonald’s and Quest bars. In 2018, she landed a role in the Hallmark movie, Love, of Course.

“An Evening with Gabby Douglas” requires tickets, which must be reserved online. For more information, e-mail fcrpvnyriragf@trbetvna.rqh or call 732-987-2263.

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 2,200 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 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by Money.com 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 HazletGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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