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Joseph R. Marbach to Become Georgian Court University’s Ninth President

Dr. Joseph Marbach

Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D., will be inaugurated as the ninth president of Georgian Court University on October 16. The ceremony will be at 2:30 p.m. in the GCU Wellness Center Arena on GCU’s historic Lakewood campus. Invited guests, members of the media, and the campus community are welcome to attend the event.

Greetings and invocation for the inauguration, which is themed “Answering the Call: Transformation through Catholic Education,” will be delivered by The Most Reverend Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, who will also lead an Inaugural Mass at 12:00 p.m. prior to the investiture. Louesa M. Lardieri-Wright ’75, chair of the Georgian Court University Board of Trustees, will lead the investiture ceremony.

“This is a celebration of both our past and future. For 107 years, Georgian Court has transformed students by providing a quality Catholic education in the Mercy tradition as students discover their talents and prepare for lives of purpose,” says Ms. Lardieri-Wright. “I fully believe our new president, Dr. Marbach, will enable and grow Georgian Court to provide a bright future for students, faculty, and alumni.”

Continuing the Tradition

The investiture ceremony is counted among the oldest of traditions in academia. Originating in English universities and modeled after highly dignified knighthood ceremonies, investiture comes from the Latin phrase for “dress in robe.” In academic circles, the term has come to mean one who will literally don the university’s insignia and regalia. The investiture is the actual ceremony at which the new president receives the symbols of office from the GCU Board of Trustees. It serves as a platform for the new president to publicly express the vision or theme for the coming years.

Dr. Marbach, who was selected after an extensive national search, became president of the university on July 1. He succeeded Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., who stepped down after 14 years. President Emerita Jeffries and her seven predecessors were all Sisters of Mercy. The university’s first president, Mary Cecilia Scully, RSM, served from 1908 to 1940, and was the longest-serving president of Mount Saint Mary College/Georgian Court College.

“Dr. Marbach, with his long history of commitment to Catholic education, will help Georgian Court renew its commitment to answer the call—the call to transform lives through higher education by encouraging our students to pursue their passion in an environment infused with Mercy core values of respect, integrity, compassion, justice, and service,” says Ms. Lardieri-Wright. “He truly understands the value of delivering a high-quality, liberal arts education that is informed by practical experience and real-world application. His leadership and dedication to students, faculty, and staff will enable GCU to fulfill its mission and grow even more.”

Dr. Joseph R. Marbach—Committed to Catholic Education

Prior to becoming Georgian Court University’s president, Dr. Marbach was provost and vice president for academic affairs at La Salle University. There, he also held a post as a professor of political science, established the English Language Institute, the Office of Professional and Corporate Education, and the Institute for Lasallian Education and Engaged Pedagogy (I-LEEP). He expanded the university’s presence in online education, graduate studies, international education and recruitment, signing cooperative agreements with local colleges and international universities.

Dr. Marbach was also dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and professor and former chair of the Department of Political Science at Seton Hall University. He is a past president of the New Jersey Political Science Association and has served on the council of the American Political Science Association’s Section on Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations. He was a fellow with the Pennsylvania Policy Forum, and he has been an active participant in the Global Dialogue on Federalism. He has taught in many faculty seminars sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Summer Institute.

Dr. Marbach graduated magna cum laude from La Salle University in 1983, and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Temple University in 1986 and 1993, respectively.

For more information on the inauguration‚ which includes events for the full inaugural week, October 16 through October 22, visit

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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