Milestones have always been welcome and significant exhibits of human journeys. For thousands of years people have marked their individual and collective destinies with milestones showing the path already trod and the road ahead. Whether journeys of discovery or stories of personal growth, milestones have marked key events and spurred on greater accomplishments. People of faith have used milestones to inspire hope and belief, as shown in the story of Christ’s journey to Jerusalem and its message of Easter hope.
In this issue we pick up this motif of milestones to reflect on our College’s journey, both past and present. A quick scan of the past shows some of our extraordinary institutional milestones: becoming a co-educational institution, offering of the Baccalaureate degree, the offering of graduate programs, sponsorship within the Conference of Mercy Higher Education, and many others. The years of hard work have been kind to Mount Mercy, and we look forward to vital new milestones in the coming years, such as University re-designation, ownership of the former Army-Navy Training Center, and additional graduate programs.
What you will read in these pages are examples of work, vision and accomplishment by our faculty, students and staff that are truly milestones of academic success. I hope you enjoy reading about the thought-provoking work of internationally celebrated artist, former Fulbright Scholar and faculty member Jane Gilmor, who recently exhibited a retrospective of her work in New York. You will also learn about Mount Mercy’s Criminal Justice program — a juggernaut for educating law enforcement and corrections personnel — which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. These are two examples of milestones in our educational mission, but their unique impact is the way these people exhibit core values that define who we are. They know that education serves the common good, is a blessing for which to be thankful, and takes a lifetime to achieve. These Mercy values resonate through each of our milestones.
One milestone of which I was especially pleased was the establishment of our first Presidential Lecture Series this past fall, and our honor in welcoming keynote speaker Michael Donovan, an assistant United States attorney with the Department of Justice in Chicago. This milestone, like others, recalls earlier ones: for many years Michael’s late father, Tom Donovan, was a respected and beloved trustee of our Board. Mr. Donovan’s keynote, “Do you have Faith in Law? Why the Fate of Our Laws is Up to You,” addressed the moral imperatives in the legal community and the history of law through the ages. The Presidential Lecture Series heralded the announcement of Mount Mercy’s new minor in legal studies. This concern for the moral imperative and the common good lies at the heart of Mount Mercy’s purpose, and Mr. Donovan’s insights provided yet another example of why a Mercy higher education is a powerful and relevant force for good.
As we grow ever closer to establishing Mount Mercy University, I look forward to celebrating more milestones — new programs, increasing enrollments and fund-raising, and alumni successes. I look forward to celebrating these milestones with you and our campus community in the coming months and years. Meantime, I wish you much happiness as you celebrate your own milestones.
Christopher Blake, President