If you’re in high school, you’re a part of a generation growing up in a world hungry for hope. Searching for perspective. Questioning how you can shape a brighter future. And how to apply knowledge in a way that makes a difference.
Earning a degree at Georgian Court means expanding your sense of what’s possible. Come prepared to grow, and graduate with an education and with values that empower you to change the world for the better.
Georgian Court University offers what no other New Jersey college does: a life-affirming education in the Catholic Mercy tradition. At the core of that heritage are respect, integrity, justice, compassion, and service, values which are integrated into every facet of the GCU experience.
Our students—and their stories—show you how.
Major: English and Education
Hometown: Manasquan, NJ
A close-knit community of mentors. A compassionate, inspiring vibe. Oh, and a Paris trip! Meet Chloe Grady.
Chloe Grady ’17 landed at Georgian Court University after considering schools of all kinds—including big universities in big-city settings. Why?
Getting to know the faculty and staff at GCU has enabled Chloe to count them among her friends and mentors. And that has opened some global doors. Including Paris, thanks to a connection with a GCU professor.
A Manasquan, New Jersey, native, Chloe is now in her junior year. She has a double major in English and education. And in sophomore year, her advisor, Dr. Pamela Rader, professor of English was planning a “literary tour” of Paris for about a half-dozen students. She encouraged Chloe to apply to the Travel Abroad Program. Chloe was accepted and received a scholarship to help pay for the trip, too.
Off to France!
The group spent six days in Paris over Spring Break in 2015—and left no cultural stone unturned. Eiffel Tower? Check. Arc de Triomphe? Check. The Louvre? Check.
But that was just the beginning.
“We also saw so many literary landmarks,” says Chloe. “Gertrude Stein’s house, Ernest Hemingway’s apartment, the Beats hotel, and James Joyce’s apartment. Victor Hugo’s house, which is now a museum. We also visited Père Lachaise Cemetery, where tons of famous people are buried. We saw graves for Jim Morrison, Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, holocaust survivors, Chopin, and Isadora Duncan. The trip was packed.”
Dr. Rader and Chloe bonded on the trip, and the connection remains. Today, Chloe still gets texts from her advisor whenever there’s an interesting art exhibit nearby.
“I first realized just how special GCU is my freshman year. I was home for winter break, and stopped by a friend’s house to catch up. She goes to a big state school, doesn’t know her professors well. Here, you know your professors and they know you. Where you’re from. What you’re going through. And you develop friendships with faculty.”
She’s often taken the opportunity to travel while at GCU—and there have been many. For instance, Chloe joined a group of 10 students and staff on a milestone trip to Walt Disney World in Florida for the National Conference on Student Leadership in November 2014.
“The whole time we were there, they were encouraging us to break out of our shell,” Chloe says. “And we learned so much because we were put in situations that allowed us to grow. We met with students from all around the world.”
Her most recent study abroad trip? Spain, where she spent time in Barcelona and Madrid, traveling with some of her closest college friends.
The destinations change, but every GCU-based trip has one thing in common: they’re all designed to open students’ eyes to a world of greater possibility.
Major: Criminal Justice
Hometown: Bricktown, NJ
How one young immigrant found a home here—and a place to flourish on and off the soccer field.
“Georgian Court wasn’t in my plans. I wanted to join the Marines after high school and go to college after that,” he says. “But thank God for the only person in high school who believed in me, my guidance counselor. She made me look at all the opportunities possible, and after a long year of deciding what to do, I decided to join this great school.”
Life has been full of surprises for Georgian Court University freshman Juan Quintero, a criminal justice major and member of the soccer team. But he’s handled each twist with a sense of hope and possibility. His wide-ranging, unpredictable road eventually landed at the entrance of GCU.
Juan is motivated to build a successful future, and also make his mother proud.
“I grew up without a dad. He left before I was born,” Juan says. “My mother did everything possible to help me get where I am right now. She worked every day. She kept me out of trouble. My mom always kept me on the right path.”
And he’s well on his way. Born in Cali, Colombia, Juan moved to the United States with his family when he was eight. He still remembers the exact date: September 25, 2005. Since then, he’s lived in New York, and more recently, in New Jersey.
For Juan, GCU has been full of surprises . . . like:
“It’s a total focus on being there for us,” Juan says. And that’s just what you’d expect from a university that inspires its students to become engaged with the world around them in meaningful ways.
“The coach is phenomenal and smart. It’s a very tough program. I didn’t expect that.”
“Being on the soccer team provides motivation. If you don’t get good grades, you can’t play soccer. So it helps me stay focused because I want to be able to play.”
Early on, Juan discovered that the beautiful campus is a warm, inviting place filled with welcoming faces. He immediately felt at home. “People tell stories about the lagoon and the Mansion being haunted, but that’s all a myth,” he says. “It’s a very homey, natural, beautiful campus.”
“She was the first person who made an impression on me my first day of classes,” Juan says. “We were doing a scavenger hunt and we were supposed to walk through every building, and Ms. Quinn was sitting outside as we were walking around. I sat down, and we started talking. I had another university’s folder in my hand to hold my papers, and she took it away and came back with a Georgian Court University folder.”
“In high school, I only had one little group of friends and I wasn’t really involved in school,” Juan says. “But when I got here, the first thing I felt was comfort. Now I have my soccer friends, class friends, and residence friends.”
“When I visited in the summer, it was very quiet and there weren’t many people around. But during school, there are lots of people and lots going on. It’s not packed—you don’t have to stand in line everywhere—but there are people all over the place.”
“When I imagined college, I pictured myself in a place where the classes were huge and the professors would show up, teach, and leave. But it’s nothing like that here. You make friends with the professors. The classes are small. And everybody’s open to socialize, make jokes, and laugh.”
Major: Business Administration
Hometown: Bayville, NJ
Student Grace Talian talks about her remarkable “call to mercy”—and what this means today.
Grace Talian ’18 of Bayville, New Jersey, is majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing. And she arrived here already primed—and eager—to do things for her community.
“It started Day 1. I was drawn to service.”
Since enrolling at Georgian Court University in Fall 2014, she’s contributed to an eye-popping range of service-oriented initiatives, on and off campus. From fund-raising through the Mercy Collegiate Society to volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, there are thousands of ways to make a difference while you’re at GCU. 94,745 ways, if you’re counting; that’s the number of hours students, staff, faculty, and alumni donated to the community in 2014. And the best part is, they’re all woven tightly into the fabric of the school’s values.
Which makes every act of kindness a perfect fit.
I have lived in Ocean County, New Jersey, my entire life. I remember coming here when I was in fifth grade for Girl Scouts, and I could not get over how beautiful everything was. I kept this in mind all throughout middle school and high school, so when it was time to fill out applications to college my senior year, GCU was definitely on the list. I love the positive energy and really feel as though I am contributing to something great.
As my acceptances to colleges started to come in, I felt the strongest connection to Georgian Court. I felt like they truly knew me! No one else connected with me like the staff here at GCU. They’re rooted in the Mercy core values. Respect—especially for women—stuck in my head. When I was applying to colleges, I applied to the big schools. I was high up in my class rank, and I wanted to go to the best school. I think the best school is the one with the best values, and that’s what I found here.
I went to Catholic school from second to sixth grade, and when I thought about GCU, it brought me back to that. I think I was always meant to end up at another Catholic institution. Everything makes more sense here. You connect with people on a different level. The Mercy values offer a whole different way of understanding people and the environment. It’s present in the classroom and the coursework. It’s seeing professors and being able to talk to them. Going to church together. Praying together and laughing together. It’s all one thing, no separation.
I was always drawn to service. During my first week here, I saw that there was a drive for back-to-school supplies through the Office of Campus Ministry. This served as the kickoff to my participation. I contributed two bags of notebooks and paper. From there, I was invited to help plan all of the service drives on campus. Being engaged with everything and getting my peers involved was really exciting. Then I joined the music ministry and sang at church. I also joined the Spiritual Advisory Leadership Team and began to plan and coordinate service drives myself. And I’ve had the opportunity to interact with the Sisters of Mercy through our strong affiliation with Mount Saint Mary Academy. I’ve been offered countless life-changing opportunities here at GCU.
Yes, meeting the Sisters was incredible. They’re excited about GCU. They encourage us in our studies and our life goals. “Keep doing what you’re doing and don’t give up,” they tell us. And they all tell great personal stories.
“A constant for me”
When Grace first applied to Georgian Court University, she also applied for a full-tuition scholarship. And in that application, she was asked to write an essay on what the Mercy core values mean to her.
In her essay, Grace wrote that “a Catholic, caring way of life was a constant for me, and it will always continue to be.”
What she’s found since then is a university where those values live and breathe through everyone she meets. And that’s where a world of possibilities begins.
Degree: B.S.W. in Social Work
Hometown: Jackson, NJ
Hip nuns. Campus myths. Fabulous internships. GCU preps people for life like no place else.
Even before graduating from Georgian Court University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in social work, Kristen Cladek was well on her way to a deeply meaningful career. At GCU, she landed internships and found close connections with professors that prepared her well for graduate school—and ultimately led to her first job. In just two years, Kristen has completed multiple internships, earned her master’s degree in social work from Fordham University in New York City, and launched a career she loves.
So much about GCU is unique and valuable. But there are a few things that stand out. Here’s the Top Nine, according to Kristen.
“I was floored. From that moment, I knew this was going to be a good fit,” Kristen says.
“My freshman year, I was involved in the Outdoor Adventures Living-Learning Community and one of the Sisters was the leader. She would say things you would think Sisters weren’t allowed to say. It was refreshing,” Kristen says.
“Our campus is spectacular. Mansions, secret gardens, a lagoon. Yes . . . a lagoon!!! As for the secret tunnel, nobody knows exactly where it is. But we know there is one. . . . ”
“Georgian Court was founded by the Sisters of Mercy, and their values are an important part of our campus culture. With social work, the Mercy core values go hand in hand. From the moment you step on campus, you feel the compassion the school has for its students. In all the classes, there’s a discussion about the Mercy core values. Even math,” Kristen says.
No matter what your major or your interests outside of class are, there are opportunities everywhere to become more confident and collaborative—from Women in Leadership Development (WILD) to the Mercy Collegiate Society to the athletics program. Even our graduates continue to be leaders at the university. “Outside of work, I have been actively involved with the Georgian Court Alumni Board of Directors. I love going back to GCU!” Kristen says.
“Many times, I just walked into a social work professor’s office to chat,” Kristen says. “They’ve become a second family. Faculty are there to help students succeed, not only in the classroom, but in all aspects of life. They care about the whole person.”
“When it came to finding internships, I had no issue. Even though I was looking for something that was a little more specialized. I had a boatload of assistance from professors and talking to agencies on campus. I always had somebody who had my back to keep me on track to get good internships,” Kristen says.
“I would not have been able to conquer Fordham without GCU. We were beyond prepared for grad school. We had already studied so much of what we encountered once we got to grad school,” Kristen says.
“Georgian Court has become a second family. The faculty and staff are nothing but supportive and are there to help students succeed, not only in the classroom, but in all aspects of life. They care about the whole person. Outside of the outstanding education I received, the thing I will treasure the most from my college experience was how much the school cared about me and my classmates,” Kristen says.