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Georgian Court Names 2016 Commencement Speakers, Honorees

Graduate Student Commencement

Guests for the 2016 Georgian Court University Commencement Ceremonies include the president and CEO of Meridian Health, the chairman of OceanFirst Bank and OceanFirst Foundation, and two Sisters of Mercy. The Graduate Commencement Ceremony, at which about 200 master’s degree candidates will be celebrated, will take place on Thursday, May 19. The following day, Friday, May 20, about 300 undergraduates will receive their bachelor’s degrees at the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. All events will take place in the Wellness Center Arena on GCU’s Lakewood campus.


Georgian Court’s two-day celebration begins with the Graduate Commencement Ceremony at 5:00 p.m. Thursday, when John K. Lloyd, FACHE, president and CEO of Meridian Health System since 1997, will deliver the keynote address. Mr. Lloyd, a former GCU trustee, previously served as the president and CEO of Jersey Shore Medical Center from 1992 to 1997. In January 1997, as the nation’s health care system underwent dramatic changes, Mr. Lloyd led the merger of Jersey Shore with two other highly respected community hospitals—Ocean Medical Center in Brick and Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, to create Meridian Health. In January 2009, he was recognized by the New Jersey Hospital Association as its Healthcare Professional of the Year. GCU will award Mr. Lloyd with an honorary Doctor of Health degree.

Rose Martin, RSM, Ph.D., co-founder of the Hope Partnership for Education, a middle school and adult education center in North Philadelphia, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Educational Administration degree during the university’s Graduate Commencement Ceremony. Sister Rose, who holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, has spent her entire religious life in the ministry of education in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and South Florida. She is a member of the Institute Anti-Racism Transformation Team of the Sisters of Mercy.


Friday’s ceremony begins with a Baccalaureate Mass at 10:30 a.m. At the 2:00 p.m. Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony, John R. Garbarino, chairman of OceanFirst Foundation and chairman and former CEO of OceanFirst Bank, will deliver the keynote address. Mr. Garbarino led OceanFirst Bank through an initial public offering in July 1996 and used 8 percent of the money raised to start the OceanFirst Foundation, a charity that has donated millions to Jersey Shore-area organizations. GCU will award him with an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.

Maria Cordis Richey, RSM, Ph.D., ’50, a beloved professor emerita of English and former Georgian Court president, will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on May 20. Sister Maria Cordis, an accomplished poet, retired from teaching in 2011 after more than five decades in the classrooms of Georgian Court. During her tenure as the sixth president of then-Georgian Court College from 1974 to 1980, the first master’s program, an M.A. in Education, began and the coeducational undergraduate program was instituted.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Georgian Court University is a leading regional university that provides a transformative education, preparing students for ethical leadership and service in the Catholic Mercy tradition. Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. The university has 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 1,900 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 16 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 make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings, and in 2024, GCU was named one of the best Online Master’s Colleges in New Jersey.

The main campus is 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 through its Center for Professional Studies, and at other locations, including GCU at Brookdale, and through multiple online degree and certificate programs.