Georgian Court University Plans 100th Commencement
Ceremonies to feature Jersey Shore Philanthropist and Restaurateur Tim McLoone and Pittsburgh Real Estate Entrepreneur Helen Hanna Casey '71
Lakewood, N.J., May 12, 2011—Georgian Court University will hold its 2011 Commencement Exercises on Thursday, May 19 (Graduate Ceremony), and Friday, May 20 (Undergraduate Ceremony), on its historic campus in Lakewood. An estimated 394 undergraduates and 213 graduate students will receive their diplomas during the university’s 100th annual Commencement.
Graduate Commencement Ceremony
GCU Graduate Commencement will take place at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, on the campus’s athletic fields or in the Wellness Center Arena in the event of rain. The Graduate Commencement speaker will be Tim McLoone, the Jersey Shore restaurateur who founded Holiday Express, the volunteer, nonprofit, and non-sectarian organization dedicated to bringing music, gifts, and holiday cheer to those less fortunate. The organization now includes approximately 80 professional musicians who volunteer their time and more than 600 other volunteers. Mr. McLoone leads a year-round volunteer workforce as they prepare for approximately 50 events between Thanksgiving and Christmas at hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, schools, and soup kitchens in the tri-state area.
Mr. McLoone will be awarded an honorary doctorate, as will Major General Maria Falca-Dodson, Commander of the New Jersey Air National Guard, which includes two Air Wings, the 108th Air Refueling Wing at McGuire AFB, and the 177th Fighter Wing in Atlantic City. Major General Falca-Dodson, a veteran military nurse and health researcher, began her military career in 1980 when she was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the 108th Tactical Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard. In 1993, she received her Chief Nurse Badge. In 1998, she was appointed Commander of the 108th Air Refueling Wing Medical Group. She served for seven years as the Deputy Adjutant General for the State of New Jersey; as such, she was responsible for management of over 8,300 members of the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard, as well as state operations of the department, which included management of a $93.5 million budget and programs such as recruiting and retention, the National Guard Training Center at Sea Girt, and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).
Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony
The Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, May 21, on the athletic fields on campus or in the Wellness Center Arena in the event of rain.
The speaker for the Undergraduate Commencement will be Helen Hanna Casey ‘71, president of the Pittsburgh-based Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, the fourth-largest full-service real estate company in the nation. The 1971 Georgian Court College graduate joined the company four years later as a sales associate and worked her way through the ranks to become a manager and regional vice president before being named president. Today, she leads more than 4,700 sales associates and employees in 131 offices located across Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and New York.
Ms. Casey will be awarded an honorary doctorate, as will Assemblyman Joseph R. Malone III (R-30). Assemblyman Malone, a longtime supporter of higher education, has represented the 30th district since 1993, when he completed the term of Robert Singer, who left the assembly to fill a vacancy in the state senate. Assemblyman Malone, a native of Bordentown, has served on the Joint Budget Oversight Committee; the Bipartisan Leadership Committee; the Special Committee on Economic Development, Telecommunications, and Utilities; and the Assembly Education Committee. He also served on the Budget Committee for 17 years, including nine years as Republican Budget Officer.
Traditional aspects of Commencement, some dating back to medieval times, will be present at the Georgian Court ceremonies. Academic regalia, which has its origins in medieval English custom, is worn by faculty and administration alike. The styles of the gowns, mortars, and hoods convey university affiliation, disciplines, and level of achievement of the wearer. The president of the university wears the President’s Medallion, also called the lavaliere, which depicts the seal of the university on the front and the cross of the Sisters of Mercy on the reverse. It is worn by the president at official university functions of high solemnity. After the grand marshals who lead the Commencement procession is the macebearer. The mace’s history and tradition is also rooted in the Middle Ages. Over time the mace was used for royal ceremonial purposes and eventually became intertwined with the idea of a scepter. Colleges and universities use the mace as a symbol of their authority to confer degrees. And, finally, the seniors, as they walk Senior Path during the Commencement procession, stop at The Eagle statue and plant ivy at its base. Many American universities share this tradition. It has been posited that the introduction of ivy on campus during “Ivy Days” right before graduation or now during graduation itself was the source of the ivy that gave the Ivy League its name. Why plant ivy? One theory is that it was American educational institutions’ attempts to resemble Cambridge and Oxford.
Two awards will be presented at the 2011 Undergraduate Commencement, including the Julia Blake Alumnae Award, presented to the senior who has best displayed outstanding loyalty and service during the student’s university years, and the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence, presented to a faculty member who is nominated by fellow faculty members for emulating the values and mission of Georgian Court University, and in acknowledgement of academic distinction, service to education and outstanding achievement in inspiring students.
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 nearly 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 One Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.
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