Feature / Fall 2010

Personal stories highlight path to Mount Mercy University

The daily lives of students and faculty at an institution of higher education are incredibly varied. It’s fair to say that no two days are alike.

In general, students fret about exams, pull all-nighters to finish term papers, socialize with friends over burgers and fries and catch a basketball game in Hennessey Recreation Center. Faculty critique student assignments discuss coursework with those seeking additional assistance and liaise with colleagues about research opportunities.

In 2009-10 the Mount Mercy campus was abuzz with academic pursuits and co-curricular activities, but there was an additional goal for which students, faculty and administration all worked: the time at which Mount Mercy College would become Mount Mercy University.

Mount Mercy’s vision statement has supported the growth and expansion of the College through natural and progressive enhancements and the planned transition was a result of clear intentions over several years to evolve to a point of re-designation. The official date of re-designation, August 23, 2010, stood starkly on the calendar as a clarion call for how the institution and its community members would live the qualities and characteristics that define a Mercy education, particularly during the academic year prior to the re-designation.

“There was a sense among our Board of Trustees, students, faculty, staff and alumni that ‘this is the year,’” says President Christopher Blake. “Our collective actions in 2009-10 were geared toward University status and how this would propel our institution to a new, historic point that embraces a University vision. Our message and mission remain constant — grounded in the Christian faith and commitment of the Sisters of Mercy, who understood that education is central to the common good. While we change our name, we continue to cherish our identity. The campus community was united in striving for this achievement, and it showed in our work and in the delivery of our educational promise to our students.”

More than simply offering graduate programs or evening classes, a university represents a breadth that is beyond a traditional four-year college. As Mount Mercy University, that scope includes academics, globalization, service learning, and much more. The end goal of attaining University status was a result of rich elements that distinctly tied Mount Mercy’s mission, heritage and future vision together. But without the extraordinary people who comprise Mount Mercy, the transition would not have been as meaningful.

The campus community was united in its desire to become Mount Mercy University, and its collective actions in 2009-10 focused on the end goal of re-designation, which is highlighted in the stories of the Mount Mercy community.

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