Making Room for Men at Georgian Court

For more than a year, Georgian Court administrators, faculty, and staff gathered research and prepared to go coed. Now that the guys are here, everyone is asking the same question: How’s it going?

academics-14
GCU’s transition to coeducation has been the focus of recent feature stories in
The New York Times, National Catholic Reporter, Asbury Park Press and Star-Ledger.

Luka Zgonjanin spoke to the New York Times about GCU's transition to coed.

Perhaps business major and Serbia native Luka Zgonjanin (pictured at right) answers it best: “It’s a great honor to start something from scratch, to make history,” Luka, a 6’5” Lions basketball guard, told the New York Times in a November 29 story about GCU’s creation of men’s athletics. “Everything we do is a first.”

Indeed, they are the first—the first men to live on the GCU campus. The first men to tend the Mercy Garden. The first to run cross country or play soccer. The first men to serve in student government, and so much more.

“This is a new day for our men to be fully involved in collegiate life,” said GCU President Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., ’72. “There is certainly a new kind of buzz on campus now that, after 105 years, we are expanding our mission.” Men have enrolled at GCU—mostly in graduate courses or other evening classes—since the late 1970s. But this fall, things are different. How?

      • Prospective students submitted 1,276 applications for Fall 2013, up from 872 applications last year.
      • There were 275 first-year students enrolled this fall, outpacing the previous record of 253 freshmen, set four years ago.
      • About 75 men (mostly athletes) live in residence, including one male resident assistant.
      • GCU established five men’s teams to compete in soccer, basketball, cross country, and indoor and outdoor track & field. More sports will be added in coming years.
      • Male enrollment increased in business, criminal justice, and exercise science.

What’s most important, though, is that GCU will be able to offer its high-quality programs and faith-based college experience to a wider range of students, both men and women who are not interested in a single-sex college. Women are still in the majority at GCU, but the campus is making room for men to be fully involved. “We have lots of young men participating in the Basketball Club (which was created by a woman),” said Erin McCarron, coordinator of student activities.

“They get together every Thursday, either in the Wellness Center or in the new recreational lots behind the Casino, to play ball. They serve on the Campus Activities Board and work as Orientation Leaders; they’re joining groups like Tri-Beta (the biology honor society) and they make up about half of the new Emerging Leaders development program. Now we’re starting a Young Entrepreneurs Club, which will likely draw more men, too,” she said.

Still, there have been a few surprises. Some beds in the residence halls were too short and the showerheads too low. And GCU’s young men take gaming to a new level. Some nights, six or seven TVs are lined up in the residence hall lounge — and so are the players, with their Playstations, Xboxes, controllers, and headsets. “Overall, there is more of a campus feel,” said Oreal Harding, a senior communications major from Philadelphia.

“Dinner in the Dining Hall is always packed, and it’s good thing that they brought back late-night meals from 8:00 p.m. to midnight,” she said. “The changes in social interaction have been interesting—they bring a different vibe to parties on campus. But this is just the first semester.”

From the no-holds-barred team spirit they demonstrate at women’s sporting events to their contributions in the classroom, more men on campus certainly brings new perspective as more men participate in every aspect of campus life.

“Our special concern for women remains as strong as ever, and we are positioning GCU for growth on many fronts,” President Jeffries said.

The original version of this story was published in the Fall/Winter 2013 issue of Georgian Court University magazine with the title, “Making Room for Men at The Court,” by Gail H. Towns and Tara M. Strickland.

For more than a year, Georgian Court administrators, faculty, and staff gathered research and prepared to go coed. Now that the guys are here, everyone is asking the same question: How’s it going?

academics-14
GCU’s transition to coeducation has been the focus of recent feature stories in
The New York Times, National Catholic Reporter, Asbury Park Press and Star-Ledger.

Luka Zgonjanin spoke to the New York Times about GCU's transition to coed.

Perhaps business major and Serbia native Luka Zgonjanin (pictured at right) answers it best: “It’s a great honor to start something from scratch, to make history,” Luka, a 6’5” Lions basketball guard, told the New York Times in a November 29 story about GCU’s creation of men’s athletics. “Everything we do is a first.”

Indeed, they are the first—the first men to live on the GCU campus. The first men to tend the Mercy Garden. The first to run cross country or play soccer. The first men to serve in student government, and so much more.

“This is a new day for our men to be fully involved in collegiate life,” said GCU President Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., ’72. “There is certainly a new kind of buzz on campus now that, after 105 years, we are expanding our mission.” Men have enrolled at GCU—mostly in graduate courses or other evening classes—since the late 1970s. But this fall, things are different. How?

      • Prospective students submitted 1,276 applications for Fall 2013, up from 872 applications last year.
      • There were 275 first-year students enrolled this fall, outpacing the previous record of 253 freshmen, set four years ago.
      • About 75 men (mostly athletes) live in residence, including one male resident assistant.
      • GCU established five men’s teams to compete in soccer, basketball, cross country, and indoor and outdoor track & field. More sports will be added in coming years.
      • Male enrollment increased in business, criminal justice, and exercise science.

What’s most important, though, is that GCU will be able to offer its high-quality programs and faith-based college experience to a wider range of students, both men and women who are not interested in a single-sex college. Women are still in the majority at GCU, but the campus is making room for men to be fully involved. “We have lots of young men participating in the Basketball Club (which was created by a woman),” said Erin McCarron, coordinator of student activities.

“They get together every Thursday, either in the Wellness Center or in the new recreational lots behind the Casino, to play ball. They serve on the Campus Activities Board and work as Orientation Leaders; they’re joining groups like Tri-Beta (the biology honor society) and they make up about half of the new Emerging Leaders development program. Now we’re starting a Young Entrepreneurs Club, which will likely draw more men, too,” she said.

Still, there have been a few surprises. Some beds in the residence halls were too short and the showerheads too low. And GCU’s young men take gaming to a new level. Some nights, six or seven TVs are lined up in the residence hall lounge — and so are the players, with their Playstations, Xboxes, controllers, and headsets. “Overall, there is more of a campus feel,” said Oreal Harding, a senior communications major from Philadelphia.

“Dinner in the Dining Hall is always packed, and it’s good thing that they brought back late-night meals from 8:00 p.m. to midnight,” she said. “The changes in social interaction have been interesting—they bring a different vibe to parties on campus. But this is just the first semester.”

From the no-holds-barred team spirit they demonstrate at women’s sporting events to their contributions in the classroom, more men on campus certainly brings new perspective as more men participate in every aspect of campus life.

“Our special concern for women remains as strong as ever, and we are positioning GCU for growth on many fronts,” President Jeffries said.

The original version of this story was published in the Fall/Winter 2013 issue of Georgian Court University magazine with the title, “Making Room for Men at The Court,” by Gail H. Towns and Tara M. Strickland.

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