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More than 600 Graduates Focus of Georgian Court Commencement

Lakewood, N.J., May 22, 2012—More than 600 students earning degrees from business to biology will graduate from Georgian Court University during the school’s 101st Commencement exercises Wednesday, May 23, and Thursday, May 24, on the historic Lakewood campus.

Family members and friends of the graduates this year are invited to watch students turn their tassels online at, and to offer virtual congratulations via Facebook and Twitter.

The two-day celebration begins with Georgian Court’s Graduate Commencement Ceremony at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, where former New York Stock Exchange President William R. Johnston is the featured speaker. The university will award 237 master’s degrees.

Thursday’s ceremony begins with a baccalaureate Mass at 10:30 a.m., featuring Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., of the Diocese of Trenton. The university will award 385 bachelor’s degrees as students hear from The Honorable Rochelle R. Hendricks, New Jersey’s first Secretary of Higher Education, during the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony, which begins at 2:00 p.m.

The Class of 2012 includes students from throughout New Jersey as well as those from New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico. GCU will also graduate a Kenyan nun—Jacinta Kioko of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood—who leaves the university with a double major in religious studies and sociology.

This year’s class includes graduates with an array of experiences and unique prospects for life after college. Among them:

  • Aspiring author Andrew Galasetti of Spring Lake Heights, an English major, is applying his own brand of entrepreneurial savvy to an e-book he plans to publish. The novel, To Breathe Free, is the focus of a investment campaign intended to help Andrew publish the book solely for Kindle, Nook, iPad, and other e-reading devices. The book, which traces the struggles of families during the Depression, through World War II, and into modern-day Manhattan, “constructs a mosaic of Americans who are living different, yet similar experiences of ‘yearning to breathe free,’ as Emma Lazarus wrote in her iconic poem,” says Andrew.
  • Rosamaria Andon of Bridgeton, a psychology major and student leader, will be putting Georgian Court’s signature Mercy core values to work in the Mercy Volunteer Corps, where she will volunteer in an underserved community for a year.
  • Kim Rizzolo of Jackson, an honors student and chemistry major, begins work as a teaching assistant this summer and enters a doctoral program in chemistry at Boston University this fall.
  • Sabrein Khater, a Clifton resident of Palestinian descent, recently interned with the New Jersey State Police as a liaison to the Muslim community.
  • Chartice Barlow, a business major from Trenton who initially thought she wouldn't be able to attend college, will graduate with less than $3,000 in debt. She plans to use the strategies she learned for completing college on time and under budget to help other urban youngsters realize their dreams of earning a degree.
  • Samantha Arias, a Highland Park biochemistry major, will begin a paid internship with International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., the world’s second-largest company of its kind.
  • Juliana Estrella of Keyport is currently employed as a behavior assistant at Our Special Place in Matawan. Our Special Place is a nonprofit organization who provides services to children with Autism. Juliana was hired after completing a supervised practicum in the Colts Neck School District. She will be assisting in the development and implementation of behavior support plans and running social skill groups for children with autism.

Georgian Court, which recently announced its decision to become fully coeducational by the fall of 2013, is also celebrating its first class of nursing graduates. About 30 new health professionals are graduating with their bachelor’s degrees through the Georgian Court-Meridian Health School of Nursing. The partnership focuses on patient-centered care and pairs the resources of traditional higher education with the expertise of doctoral-prepared nurses who teach in addition to working in hospitals and other healthcare environments.

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 more than 2,500 students of all faiths and backgrounds in both 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 and at the New Jersey Coastal Communiversity in Wall.

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