President’s Letter

[threecol_two]Wow, have we come a long way since the start of the Unity Campaign—the most successful fundraising effort in Mount Mercy’s almost 90-year history. We set out to raise an ambitious $35 million—at the start of the global recession recovery no less. And we did it. We did it together, raising almost $37 million!

They say seven is the world’s favorite number. There are seven days in a week, seven notes on a musical scale, seven colors in the rainbow, seven seas, and seven continents. Snow White had seven dwarves, there were seven brides for seven brothers, and let’s not forget James Bond, aka 007.

I’d like to add the numerous transformational accomplishments at Mount Mercy during the seven years of the Unity Campaign to the list. Because of the generosity of thousands of donors, and the tireless efforts of so many, we have a great deal to commemorate.

It’s my great privilege to share this report, highlighting a few of the many success stories of the Unity Campaign, including:

  • Becoming a full-fledged University in 2010. Reinforcing the Sisters of Mercy vision of blending faith and values with liberal arts learning and professional preparation, we made great strides to serve working adults and graduate students, in addition to our traditional residential students.
  • In 2011, we opened the Sisters of Mercy University Center, dramatically redefining life on the Hill. This hub of campus and heart of the University features the picturesque Rohde Family Plaza and (un)paved the way for a new, expansive campus green space.
  • Because of the generosity of Dyan and John Smith, the CRST International Graduate Center opened in 2013 and has become instrumental to the success of our six master’s degree programs. It also houses the Gerald and Audrey Olson Marriage & Family Therapy Clinic—boosting our leadership in MFT practitioner training while supporting the mental health needs of our Cedar Rapids community.
  • With thanks to the Robert W. Plaster Foundation, Hall-Perrine Foundation, and Lavern T. and Audrey Busse Foundation—among many other generous donors—Mount Mercy will debut a premier outdoor athletic complex in 2017, finally giving our outdoor student athletes the home field advantage they deserve.

On behalf of all students, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, Sisters of Mercy, and the entire Mount Mercy community, I extend a most heartfelt thank you—for your past, present, and continued support.

It’s clear we’ve accomplished many amazing things, but the best is yet to come. We have a bold and exciting Strategic Plan in place, fostering our enduring commitment to meeting the evolving needs of our time. With specific objectives in the areas of enrollment growth; learning experiences; sharing our story; and ensuring we remain a great place to learn, work, and live—we’ve set the bar high. But that’s life on the Hill…always aiming higher.

I truly thank you for your continued partnership, and I can’t wait to see what we come together to accomplish next.

Most sincerely,

Laurie Hamen, JD

We also owe a special debt of gratitude to Dr. Norm Nielsen. A seasoned educational administrator and devoted Cedar Rapidian with more than a half-century of experience under his belt, Norm graciously came out of retirement to lead Mount Mercy as interim president from 2013 until I came to the Hill in 2014.

Norm spent 26 years at Kirkwood Community College, 20 as president, playing a key role in the institution’s leading national reputation. He was instrumental in creating an innovative partnership between Kirkwood and Mount Mercy in the 1990s, providing accelerated bachelor’s degree programs for those juggling careers and families.

A charismatic and energetic leader, Norm carried the Mustang torch with pride and skill—guiding Mount Mercy to even higher heights at a time when we needed him most.

We thank you, Norm!