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GCU Celebrates Leadership & Service at Student Affairs Awards Ceremony

Group of students smiling with awards.

Georgian Court celebrated the exceptional leadership and service of students and members of the campus community at the Student Affairs Leadership & Service Awards Ceremony.

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Olivia Zitarosa ’18

A total of 27 awards were presented at the ceremony, held on May 11 at the Ramada Inn in Toms River, honoring dedicated individuals who led and participated in service projects, co-curricular activities, and other accomplishments that embody GCU’s Mercy core values of respect, integrity, justice, compassion, and service.

The celebration included the presentation of Emerging Leaders and Student Government Association (SGA) cords and Residence Life service pins. Olivia Zitarosa, SGA Executive Board president and May 2018 graduate, gave the SGA’s Presidential Farewell Address.

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Dean of Students Amani Jennings, Assistant Professor Emeritus of Geography William K. Bishop, and President Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D.

New for 2018 is the Student Life Advocate Award, given to an individual who has maintained a longstanding positive presence in the GCU community while supporting the development of students. The award was granted to William K. Bishop, assistant professor of geography, who recently retired after 37 years at GCU. He was granted emeritus status at GCU’s Commencement Ceremony on May 24.

Additional Office of Student Life honors were presented to individuals who demonstrated exceptional service. The Student Life Spirit Award was awarded to Nadira Salim and the Student Life Servant Leadership and Excellence Medal was awarded to Mia Dones.

The Emerging Leaders program awards recognized students who have taken initiative in leadership roles and advocacy during their academic careers. The Emerging Leaders awardees included Service Award: Erin Uszacki; Social Change and Advocacy Award: Nicole Bavaro; Academic Achievement Award: Louna Cenatus; Outstanding New Member Award: Tyrek Cooper; Peer Mentor Award of Excellence: Megan Barrett; and Outstanding Emerging Leader Award: Casey Tumblety.

Mia Dones ’18

The SGA Awards honored students who served as SGA members while maintaining good academic standing and commitment to the organization. The SGA honorees were Outstanding New Member: Brooke Steinhour; Lion’s Pride Award: Chelsey Peniston; Academic Achievement Award: Natalie Hnath; Emerging Leader Award: Lauren Azzolini; Servant Leadership Award: Erica Hutton; Outstanding Student Government Association Leadership Award: Megan Barrett; and Lion’s Loyalty Award: Olivia Zitarosa.

Residence Life Awards were given to students who excelled in resident advisory positions. Recipients were Service Above Self Award: Artie Sanchez; Academic Achievement Award & Rookie of the Year Award: Malawi Allen; Most Valuable Resident Assistant Award: Holly Walker; and Residence Life Spirit Award: Kelly Bermeo.

The ceremony also honored Georgian Court’s exemplary clubs and organizations, which provide students with many opportunities to bond, serve, and give back to the campus community. The Award of Excellence was granted to the Global Lions Club, a new organization for 2018. Additional awards included Service Award: Relay for Life; Mercy Mission Award: LGBTQ@GCU; Ambassador Award: Active Minds; and Most Engaged Award: Habitat for Humanity.

The evening also marked a time of transition, and honorees who are also graduating seniors were formally congratulated as they prepare for life beyond GCU.

Service and leadership are integral elements of the GCU experience, and the inspirational accomplishments acknowledged at the Student Affairs Leadership & Service Awards Ceremony prepare GCU’s exceptional students for their professional pursuits and lifetimes of learning.

To view more photos from the event, visit our Student Affairs Awards 2018 photo album.

Story contributed by Heidi Chaya ’17. Photos by Russ DeSantis.

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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