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University News

Artist Mary Mihelic Presents Running Girl Paintings at Georgian Court University


Georgian Court University will host artist Mary Mihelic for a discussion of her series of paintings entitled Running Girl, illustrating the more than 50 Nigerian schoolgirls who made a split second decision to run for their lives when Boko Haram terrorists attacked their school and kidnapped their classmates two years ago.

Ms. Mihelic’s November 10 presentation at GCU comes just weeks after the dramatic release of more than 20 Chibok schoolgirls who are being reunited with their families. The presentation is slated for 2:00 p.m. in in the Little Theatre on GCU’s campus in Lakewood. Ms. Mihelic’s Running Girl artwork will be displayed at GCU through November.


The Running Girl series of paintings captures the courage of these women. Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden.” or “Western influence is a sin.” Officially called Wilayat Gharb Afriqiya, this terrorist group believes that women should not be educated but rather used as cooks or sex slaves. The artist’s work reflects on war, religious freedom, the education of women, and global feminism.

“I believe it is critical that artists use their talents for social justice purposes or to make a difference,” says Ms. Mihelic. “With my art, I hope people can reflect on how human rights around the world are being abused under the guise of religion.”

The Brooklyn-based artist also wants people to understand that broad educational opportunities offered in the United States are not universal.

“Through educating women, you educate the future mothers of the world, then they educate their children, and then you can begin to stop the cycle of violence and poverty,” she says.

This event is in addition to many other Critical Concerns 2016 programs featuring well-recognized speakers, authors, artists, filmmakers, and educators. For the past decade, the annual Critical Concerns programs at GCU have addressed the Sisters of Mercy’s five critical concerns—the earth, immigration, racism, nonviolence, and women. This year will focus on Women’s Voices in the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

This year’s observance is being held in conjunction with Ocean County College’s Grunin Center for the Arts and the Ocean County Library. Throughout October and November, the three local organizations are exploring the theme Beyond the Classroom & Critical Concerns: Global Education for Women.

All sessions are open to the public and free of charge. Learn more and register at or call the Office of Mission Integration at 732-987-2303.

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 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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