Funding and Finding Possibilities on the Hill

Simply Google the word “scholarship” and more than 46 million hits pop up with web resources offering guidance for aspiring college students and their families to afford a college education. For many of today’s prospective college students, the word scholarship conjures images of dollar signs — without which many students would be unable to earn a four-year degree. During this economic downturn, the emphasis on financial assistance is even more pronounced. Mount Mercy is proud that 100 percent of our incoming freshmen receive institutional aid.

But dig deeper into the meaning of “scholarship” and one realizes the wisdom of our founding mothers. When the Sisters of Mercy began the institution, their definition of scholarship was helping to give a “hand up” to those students who would matriculate from Mount Mercy prepared to assist others through their business acumen, service to the community, and by teaching and nurturing members of society. The idea of scholarship was tied to giving back — and that spirit of service continues today through our mission, vision and values. The Sisters recognized the value of forming minds through education, and knew that educating one person bettered society as a whole. With more than 11,000 alumni today, the Founders’ goal of helping to create a better society through education has been realized.

Interestingly, however, the word scholarship holds other meanings — especially on Mount Mercy’s campus. For our students and faculty, who daily immerse themselves in the pursuit of knowledge and truth, scholarship is the means by which they discover new ideas. In these pages you will read about biology students and their mentor, Dr. Alesia Hruska-Hageman, who are studying new proteins within cells. You will also learn about Mount Mercy’s Education Department, which instructs its special education students on a unique teaching method that helps elementary students with disabilities learn to read and communicate. These are but two of the many examples of distinguished faculty guiding their students through new experiences and arming them with best practices for their future careers. And with the arrival of our graduate programs this past year, a new generation and level of scholarship is alive on the Hill.

One hundred years ago, the Sisters of Mercy raised funds to found a place of learning in which the unifying theme and goal was scholarship — to educate others to serve and to find new avenues for exploration of ideas.

Christopher Blake