For Immediate Release

Contact: Deborah Gilleran

Georgian Court University to Kick Off Centennial on “Mercy Day”

Lakewood, N.J., Sept. 11, 2008—Georgian Court University will officially kick-off its yearlong Centennial Celebration with a grand-opening of the new $26-million Wellness Center on Wednesday, September 24. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be conducted by university president Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., and coincides with Mercy Day, the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy—a day celebrated around the globe by the Sisters of Mercy, GCU’s sponsoring organization.

The event-filled day begins with a 12:30 p.m. Mass, followed by a luncheon and the Wellness Center dedication at 3:00 p.m. There will also be a special three-part dance performance entitled “Fields of Vision” performed by nine GCU dance students.

Finally, a candlelight ceremony will be held at 7:30 p.m. by the beautiful Sunken Garden. The moving ceremony will feature one representative for each decade of GCU, with dancers helping to light each of their candles. Among the candle bearers will be President Jeffries and a new, incoming first-year student who will represent the beginning of the next 100 years.

Other Centennial Celebration events include:

  • The Georgian Court “Court of Honor” is honoring 100 distinguished alumni with a dinner on September 20.
  • The Mercy Service Marathon, a community service marathon that will begin the week of September 22–28 and extend through the Thanksgiving season and beyond.
  • A Women’s Leadership Conference scheduled for March 2009, which will bring together over 1,000 women for an empowering day of learning and sharing. Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, will be the keynote speaker.
  • The GCU Centennial book, a pictorial history of the university released in 2007 by Arcadia Publishing and written by Edwarda Barry, RSM, Ph.D.
  • A Centennial Ball to be held Saturday, October 18.
  • The Centennial Convocation Ceremony on Friday, October 24, in the historic Casino Building.
  • The planting of the Centennial Garden near the Wellness Center.
  • And more events to be announced.

September 24th is the recognized worldwide as the feast day of Our Lady of Mercy. It was on that day in 1827 that Catherine McAuley, then a lay woman, opened her House of Mercy for the poor on Baggot Street, Dublin, Ireland. She entered the convent in 1830, and a year later went on to found the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy. Today, Sisters of Mercy worldwide celebrate the feast as “Mercy Day.”

The new, environmentally-conscious, 67,000-square-foot building and complex include state-of-the-art athletic fields; an eight-lane track; six tennis courts; an arena shared by basketball and volleyball with seating for 1,200 spectators; a training/exercise science laboratory; two studios for dance; a fitness center; administrative offices; a classroom; locker rooms; outdoor spaces for reflection and gathering; and the new university bookstore. In addition to housing the new dance major and the new exercise science, wellness, and sports major, this facility will also house Georgian Court’s 8 NCAA Division II sports and allows for possible expansion in the future.

[For more details on the Wellness Center and the Centennial, please see the Wellness Center release at and the Centennial release at]

For more information about the GCU Wellness Center Opening and the Mercy Day Celebration, please call 732.987.2266 or e-mail

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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