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GCU Annual Gala Goes Back in Time to Benefit Future Scholars

Boardwalk Theme Highlights Life, Leisure on the Jersey Shore

Lakewood, N.J., Oct. 15, 2009—Guests attending Georgian Court University’s 12th Annual Scholarship Gala may show up in tuxedoes and high heels, but before the evening is over, they’re just as likely to bowl a strike, play with hula hoops, and have their fortunes revealed.

The fun and games are part of the gala’s Boardwalk Arcade, a simulated promenade and backdrop for the 2009 gala that begins at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, in Georgian Court University’s historic Casino on the Lakewood campus. This year’s event, which directly benefits scholarships at GCU, revisits the Gilded Age on the Jersey Shore—an era highlighted by leisurely strolls along ocean boardwalks and a boom in the coastal resort community.

The Casino, which was built as a soaring, turn-of-the-century refuge of recreation, is the perfect setting for the gala, which also includes cocktails, a silent auction, dinner, and dancing. Music will be provided by Tim McLoone and the Shirleys. The popular regional band is often touted for its performances at area boardwalks, and for its ability to blend Broadway, country, R&B, and rock.

Gala participants will enjoy a night of unforgettable entertainment. Organizers are planning remote-controlled boat races, a hula hoop toss, and bowling games in GCU’s on-campus alley. Built in 1899 and restored in 2008, it is the oldest operational bowling alley in the nation. A fortuneteller with decades-long ties to the Asbury Park boardwalk also will entertain guests.

The event, which benefits the institutional aid GCU awards to students annually, is especially important in the face of this year’s battered financial markets. Last year, GCU awarded more than $10 million in scholarship assistance.

“The key to rebuilding our nation’s economy is the continued strengthening of the nation’s education system,” says Betsy Schmalz Ferguson, co-chair of this year’s gala. “I chose to get involved in this event, this year, because the cause of higher education needs champions more than ever.”

GCU funds several scholarships based on need, merit, and talent, and gala contributions also help underwrite tuition discounts and work-study opportunities. Last year, GCU officials increased institutional aid by more than 16 percent.

“We are all feeling the effects of the downturn in our nation’s economy—especially students trying to continue their pursuit of a degree and keep up with their tuition,” says John Paul Doyle, also a GCU trustee and gala co-chair. “The proceeds from this event directly support student scholarships and financial aid. What greater gift can you give, than the gift of education?”

Tickets for the black tie-preferred event are $150 each, and numerous sponsorship opportunities ranging from $250 to $10,000 are available. In addition, Georgian Court is sponsoring a 50/50 cash raffle, with tickets available for a donation of $50 each. For more information or to make reservations, go to or call 732.987.2392.

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 3,100 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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