GCU graduates 504 ‘changemakers’
“You will be changemakers, truth-seekers and challengers of the status quo,” said Georgian Court University president Dr. Joseph R. Marbach at the 112th annual commencement ceremony held May 17 to honor the members of the Class of 2023. “Do what you love to do. This, in turn, will inspire you to pursue a lifetime of learning and your ultimate success.”
The Lakewood university added 504 more names to its distinguished list of graduates during two separate ceremonies, with 354 earning a baccalaureate degree, 146 their masters’ and four achieving the doctorate milestone of their education.
Jesuit Father Greg Boyle served as principal celebrant of the Baccalaureate Mass in the Wellness Center; concelebrants included Msgr. Vincent Gartland, retired priest of the Diocese, and Msgr. Joseph Rosie, pastor, St. James Parish, Red Bank, and episcopal vicar of Monmouth County.
Father Boyle, who was awarded with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for his work with gang intervention program Homeboy Industries of Los Angeles, advised the graduates to “go to the margins, not to make a difference, but to be made different and to have your heart altered.”
Carol Stillwell, owner, president and CEO of Stillwell-Hansen, Inc., which designs data center infrastructure solutions, received an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree. Revealing her path as a woman without a college degree in the male-dominated construction industry, she said, “I am certain the skills and tools you have developed here at Georgian Court will allow you to navigate it all with gratitude and humility when times are good and strength, courage, and grace when faced with life’s obstacles.”
Mercy Sister Julia Upton, chair of the board of trustees, added, “Be open to discoveries, continue to wonder, to probe, to take risks. Keep in your mind and heart those who are less fortunate than you, and search for ways to help them.”
Two graduates shared the reasons they chose GCU.
Amanda Ricci, who earned her bachelor’s degree in social work, found a spiritual fit at the Lakewood university, stating, “GCU’s mercy core values are who I am and who I want to be.”
Janine Corgan, the director of data and information management at Lawrenceville’s Notre Dame High School, earned a master’s degree in theology this spring and called the program excellent.
“I very much enjoyed my tenure at Georgian Court,” Corgan continued. “I highly recommend the school. Just about everyone in various services and departments were responsive and eager to assist. Knowledgeable professors offered a rigorous and rewarding experience with personal concern and zeal for learning.
“I was referred by an alum, and knew it was the right place after an informative, encouraging, genuine discussion with the program advisor,” Corgan, a member of Our Lady of Sorrow-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton, said. “I believe the fact that it was a Catholic/Christian/religious-based institution made a large difference.”