For Immediate Release                      Contact:   Gail Towns              or           Tara Strickland
                                                                                   732.987.2266                          732.987.2291

Georgian Court Conference Examines Women’s Issues

Lakewood, N.J., Oct. 26, 2009—Leading experts in ethics and education are among the national guests slated to visit Georgian Court University November 2–5 for Critical Concern: Women’s Issues, a weeklong conference featuring headline speakers, scholarly discussions, research presentations, and special events, including a master dance class led by the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble.

Margaret Farley, RSM, Ph.D., an award-winning ethicist, author and the first woman to teach full-time at Yale Divinity School, will discuss the Agenda for Women in the Church of Today during her 7:00 p.m. presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 3, in the Casino on GCU’s Lakewood campus. The talk is free and open to the public, although reservations are required due to limited space.

Dr. Farley, noted worldwide for her research on medical ethics, social ethics, sexual ethics, feminist ethics, and historical theological issues, is a member of the Sisters of Mercy, GCU’s sponsoring organization. In addition to speaking frequently on the role of women in the modern church, she co-directs the Yale University Interdisciplinary Bioethics Project and the All Africa Conference: Sister to Sister, a project that helps African women tackle the AIDS pandemic.

Other conference speakers include:

  • Theresa Kane, RSM, Ph.D., an associate professor of behavioral sciences at Mercy College who made international headlines in 1979 when she publicly asked Pope John Paul II to fully integrate women into Catholic leadership roles. She continues to advocate for women and the pressing need for them to be included in all ministries of the church. Her presentation, History of Women in the Church, is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., on Tuesday, Nov. 3, in GCU’s Little Theatre.
  • Dierdre Mullan, RSM, Ph.D., executive director of Mercy Global Concern at the United Nations, will present The Influence of the Spirit of Catherine McAuley on Women’s Global Issues. Dr. Mullan, an Ireland native, works to create understanding among different cultures. In 1998 she brought together Protestant and Catholic teenagers from Northern Ireland, and helped them study each other’s history and culture through dance. The group was invited to perform for the president of the country and representatives from all the secondary schools in Ireland. Dr. Mullan will speak at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4, in the Dorothy Marron University Community Chapel.
  • Alverno College President Mary J. Meehan, Ph.D., who will be joined by Kathleen O’Brien, Alverno’s senior vice president of academic affairs, and Kate Masely, Ph.D., for the Status of Girls: Future of Women. Alverno, an independent, Catholic women’s college in Milwaukee, recently launched its Research Center for Women and Girls, which is directed by Dr. Masley. Their presentation is slated for 9:30 a.m., on Thursday, Nov. 5, in GCU’s Little Theatre.
  • Miriam Cruz, a lifelong advocate for Hispanic and women’s issues, who will talk about Overcoming Equality Issues in Education. Ms. Cruz, who in 1996 organized the National Hispanic Religious Partnership for Community Health, served as the first Assistant for Hispanic Affairs in Chicago, and as Deputy Assistant to the President for Hispanic Affairs during the Carter administration. President Bill Clinton appointed her to President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Ms. Cruz will speak at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, in the Casino.

During conference sessions, which run daily from 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., professors and students will explore women’s issues relating to the environment, women in science, gender research, the portrayal of women in children’s literature, and feminist art. Presentations also will focus on faith, career issues, work-life balance, and crime and addiction issues.

The week of events includes the showing of Silent Witness, a display of silhouettes depicting Ocean County women who have died in domestic violence incidents, and the Wednesday, Nov. 4, master dance class taught by prima ballerina Virginia Johnson, incoming executive director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

For media interested in covering Critical Concerns Week, photos and extended biographies of conference participants are available. The schedule for Critical Concern: Women’s Issues can be viewed in the Events section at To register for a specific session, contact the Office of Conferences and Special Events at 732.987.2263 or

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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