Remembering Sister Diane Szubrowski, RSM ’68

Sister Diane Szubrowski

We are saddened to share the news of the passing of Sister Diane Szubrowski, RSM, age 83, former president of the New Jersey Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. Sister died peacefully on July 7, 2021 at McAuley Hall Health Care Center, Watchung, after a brief illness.

Sister Diane graduated from Georgian Court in 1968 and then spent her formative years as an elementary school teacher, administrator, and principal with the Sisters of Mercy. In 1974, she began her service to the religious community. Through the years, she served as principal of St. Francis School in Metuchen and president of the New Jersey Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. She was also a member of the GCU Board of Trustees from 1978 to 1982 and again from 1994 to 2006, serving as chair from 1994 to 1998. In 1994, the community elected Sister Diane president of the New Jersey Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, a position she held for 12 years. In addition to these positions, Sister Diane also lent her expertise on the board of trustees for Scully Registration and Finance Center and the American Cancer Society of the Jersey Shore. Sister Diane always returned to the place she held close to her heart – Georgian Court. When she received the Alumni Service Award in 2019, she said, “Part of My heart is here; what I love is the heart and soul of the university. I feel privileged to be part of the Georgian Court Community in keeping the spirit of Mercy alive.” Sister Diane was especially close with the members of the Class of 1968, many Georgian Court faculty and staff, and served at GCU as a donor relations volunteer until 2019.

To make a donation to the Sr. Diane Szubrowski Memorial Scholarship Fund click here.

The Rosales Family

Ashley Rosales '21

Latin American Student Organization (LASO) President Alan Rosales ’21, a double major in criminal justice and Spanish, arrived at GCU as a first-generation college student who was undeclared.  And that was just fine.

Alan was already a high achiever. He came to GCU with enough credits—acquired before he graduated from Lakewood High School—to graduate college early. He gravitated toward criminal justice classes and decided to major in the field. Additional time spent with Drs. Jaime Rivera and Kathryn Quinn-Sanchez led Alan to choose a second major, Spanish, alongside his concentration in global justice and society. Doing so allowed the TRIO scholar to blend his passion for human rights and the law, among other subjects. Along the way, he stepped up his participation on campus with GCU’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion.

Alan’s drive for success mirrors that of his cousin, Ashley Rosales ’21, who is the walking definition of perseverance.

Ashley, a Lakewood High School graduate and the oldest of four children, wanted to set an example for her younger siblings. While she was not sure what major to declare initially, she gravitated toward medical imaging sciences and a minor in biology. Ashley eventually changed her focus to education, seeking her degree in natural sciences with a minor in biology.

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Tyrek Cooper ’21

Tyrek Cooper '21

Tyrek Cooper ’21 is all about putting in work—in class, in the community, and in his calling: social work. In four short years, he’s worked numerous jobs on campus, held leadership positions, and helped others—just as he was helped before arriving at Georgian Court University.

Tyrek dealt with dyslexia as a youngster. He fought his way from remedial English classes to honors courses at Mainland High School in South Jersey, and attended GCU because of Josephine Carney ’07, a GCU alumna who believed him.

Mrs. Carney encouraged him to push past his learning disability and gave Tyrek extra books and assignments to challenge him. Her husband supported Tyrek as well and gave him odd jobs to help earn money for college. Together, the couple helped him apply to college, celebrated his acceptance, and drove him to campus for the first day of his GCU journey.

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Savannah Ruotola ’21

Savannah Ruotola '21

Savannah Ruotola ’21, a marketing major, knows what it means to put the Mercy core values into action—especially compassion—even before graduation. She and her siblings are triplets, and both her brother and sister have autism. Helping the world better understand the autism spectrum and how families thrive in the face of related challenges was the focus of an Instagram campaign she launched in April 2021.

The effort, part of Savannah’s GEN400 service-learning requirement, introduced the world to @TripsAutismAwareness. The social media series of posts, pictures, and infographics were created for sharing beyond Autism Awareness Month.

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Ally Ferry ’21

Ally Ferry '21
Ally Ferry is passionate about dance and wants others to be moved by the art form as well. As a dance major, Ally had many wonderful moments in the GCU studios, but found great joy in performing at the Strand Theater in downtown Lakewood each year, as well as traveling to American College Dance Association events and competitions.

Engaging people and making them feel welcome at Georgian Court was one of her
passions, and she was a four-year member and recent president of the GCU Campus Activities Board. “It brought me so much joy putting on activities for the whole campus. I also loved being an orientation leader, getting new students excited about their journey, and sharing my love for GCU.”

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From the Asbury Park Press: Georgian Court President Leads by Example with COVID-19 Vaccine

Dr. Marbach COVID Vaccination

GCU provided a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Monday, May 10. The clinic was aimed at Georgian Court students and staff but was also open to residents of surrounding communities. Twenty-two individuals who took advantage of this opportunity which was organized with a local Walmart and through the help of state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, who is also the vice chair of the Georgian Court University Board of Trustees.

President Joseph R. Marbach was the first person to receive a shot at the clinic.

“It is important to really combat COVID so we can get back to in-person instruction. Having recovered from it and knowing what a risk it was to family and friends, I wanted to mitigate the risk and get ahead of it” said Dr. Marbach.

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A Time to Celebrate the Graduates: GCU’s 2021 Commencement

2021 Commencement
On May 19-20, Georgian Court University will hold Commencement 2021 exercises on its Lakewood campus for students from the classes of May 2021, December 2020, and August 2020.

Four ceremonies will allow an in-person experience for each graduate and limited guests, while observing New Jersey COVID-19 requirements for social distancing and masks. The ceremonies will be livestreamed, as will a virtual Baccalaureate Service on May 18. Information on how to view the virtual and livestream events will be available on the commencement website.

The graduates represent 11 states, a territory, and eight countries, and range in age from 18 to 90. Marion Thomas, believed to be the oldest graduate in Georgian Court history, was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies last December, and plans to attend the May ceremony.

In addition, the university will award a posthumous degree to late GCU nursing student Britani Kramer, who would have graduated with the nearly 100 B.S.N. students who will get their degrees this month. The class includes several men, underscoring the continued growth of male nurses in the profession.

Two speakers will address graduates, faculty, and guests: Alicia Cook ’08, best-selling poet, award-winning activist, and songwriter, during the Wednesday, May 19, morning ceremony; and Judith M. Persichilli, RN, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, at the May 19 afternoon ceremony.

Honorary degrees will be awarded on Thursday, May 20, to two people who are both outstanding in their chosen fields and in community service, who will also serve as Commencement speakers for their respective ceremonies. They are Annie Hanna Cestra ’73, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, and Marlene Laó-Collins, executive director of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton.

To read more about our graduates, speakers, and award recipients please click here.

Join the Alumni Board of Directors

Alumni Board of Directors

The Georgian Court University Alumni Association is accepting nominations for and from alumni who are interested in joining the Alumni Board of Directors (ABoD) for the new term beginning July 1, 2021.

The Alumni Board of Directors guides the university on alumni engagement activities, carries out the mission and strategic plan of the association, and assists the university in its endeavors. The ABoD meets twice a year for a full-day meeting, with touch points in between. It is not necessary that an alum be located within proximity to the Lakewood campus. Information regarding the ABoD can be found on the GCU alumni website. If you are interested in running for the ABoD, or if you would like to nominate an alum for this position, please send an e-mail indicating your interest to ude.naigroeg@inmula. You will be contacted by the chairs of our Nominations Committee, Marylu Dalton, Ed.D., ’82, ’93 and Keri Tarantino Carlton ’99.

Call for Nominations: Alumni Awards

Alumni Awards

Georgian Court has always been proud of their alumni, graduating seniors, and others who continue to demonstrate the Mercy core values and leadership through their volunteer efforts to the university and the Alumni Association. Many GCU graduates go on to attain outstanding achievements in their chosen careers and personal lives.

Do you know someone that has made an impact? We welcome your nominations to continue our tradition of recognizing these individuals during our Reunion and Homecoming Weekend. To nominate an alum, please visit our website and complete your submission by May 15, 2021.

“Receiving the Georgian Court University Alumni Service Award in 2020 was the greatest honor of my life, even more so during a pandemic with a virtual celebration. As memory serves me, I was on a zoom call with my dear college friends when Joanne Huelsman ‘77 (Awards Chair) announced that I would be receiving this most prestigious award. To say I was emotional was an understatement, that I had been recognized for all my work and dedication to my Alma Mater. I knew my mom and dad were looking from heaven with joy on this accomplishment. I thank them, as well as my family, friends, fellow Courtiers, and Sisters of Mercy for their unconditional support.” Constance Anne Reymann ’77,’00 2020 Award Recipient


Poet Patricia Smith

To celebrate the start of National Poetry Month, Georgian Court University’s Department of English will host award-winning Visiting Poet Patricia Smith for a free virtual reading on Thursday, April 1 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. on Zoom. The event will include a reading, student-led interview, and audience Q&A.

Ms. Smith is nationally recognized and especially loved in New Jersey, so the Department of English is proud to be hosting Ms. Smith, according to Kristen Park Wedlock, assistant professor of writing. She notes that the department has been hard at work since last year to make this happen after a delay due to COVID-19.

“The department rallied together, made the call to go virtual, and we are so pleased, honored, and excited to be hosting Patricia Smith,” says Ms. Wedlock.

Through her poetry, Patricia Smith delivers truth, demands justice, witnesses grief, and celebrates living in lines that carry, cut, and carve out space for attention. There is always a body living in the lines to be inhabited, visited, or mourned. Some of Patricia Smith’s work includes personifying weather as Hurricane Katrina in Blood Dazzler, embodying the experience of migration in Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, or investigating suffering through the elements of fire, water, and air in Incendiary Art. Ms. Smith composes voices that speak out, call in, and carry you to a place of radical compassion.

“Patricia Smith follows the lead; she listens between newsprint clips and shared stories and life experiences to find the emotional, intellectual, and visceral truth that her poetry creates,” says Ms. Wedlock.

Patricia Smith is a professor for the City University of New York as well as an instructor in the Master of Fine Arts program at Sierra Nevada University and Vermont College of Fine Arts Post-Graduate Residency Program. She is the author of eight volumes of poetry and has an impressive list of wins, including the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of Poets, a 2013 Phillis Wheatley Book Award, the 2014 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize from the Library of Congress, 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, a 2008 National Book Award Finalist, and a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize. She is a Guggenheim fellow, a Civitellian, a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, a finalist for the Neustadt Prize, a former fellow at both Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and a record-setting four-time national poetry slam champion as well as a feature on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and the film Slamnation. In 2018, Ms. Smith was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work appeared in places such as Poetry, The Paris Review, The Baffler, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Patricia Smith’s virtual reading and interview is a free, public virtual event on Zoom, and requires registration at