On Campus / 2011 / Summer 2017 Unity Campaign Report

Sisters of Mercy University Center

Mount Mercy’s 43,500-square-foot, $6 million University Center has dramatically redefined the hilltop campus since its opening in 2011.

Built between the twin pillars of Regina and McAuley residence halls, this transformational facility integrates a new campus green and picturesque outdoor plaza—creating a dynamic, unifying, and pedestrian-friendly environment. Now the centerpiece of University life, this hub of activity enhances every student’s experience, as well as that of Mount Mercy faculty, staff, alumni, and the greater community.

For some, it’s hard to imagine life on the Hill without the old main road, lined with cars, splitting the northeast and southwest sides of campus. For others, breathing in fresh air while walking along the campus green is all they know.

The University Center creates a comfortable, attractive, and high-tech setting—fostering collaboration, encouraging engagement, and instilling a sense of true community. A central location for conversation, study, relaxation, meeting, shared meals, events, and activities, it also increases the visibility and accessibility of critical student services and programs previously scattered about campus.

Admissions, residence life, student life, health, counseling, and international student services offices can all be found in one, easy-to-access location—in the Transamerica Corridor of the facility. A longstanding Mount Mercy partner, the AEGON Transamerica Foundation has provided significant support for endowed scholarships, capital projects, and the Mount Mercy ExploreU STEM program—in addition to employing a considerable number of Mount Mercy graduates and financially supporting the University Center project.

Transamerica stands in good company as a major contributor to this landmark. As a testament to the significant spiritual and financial support of the Sisters of Mercy, the heart of Mount Mercy was renamed the Sisters of Mercy University Center at a dedication ceremony on Mercy Day, 2014. Celebrated every September 24 by the Sisters of Mercy and their global ministries, Mercy Day commemorates the opening of the first House of Mercy by Catherine McAuley in Dublin, Ireland, in 1827.


At the same 2014 ceremony, the plaza and patio just outside the Sisters of Mercy University Center were renamed the Rohde Family Plaza in honor of the Rohde family’s substantial support of the University. Charlie Rohde, immediate past chair of the Mount Mercy Board of Trustees, was instrumental in the development of the University Center and Plaza. This attractive outdoor gathering space is enjoyed by many for concerts, picnics, and campfires. Mount Mercy also launched the opportunity to sponsor engraved pavers throughout the Plaza. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends use these everlasting tributes to commemorate loved ones, special occasions, and fond memories.

Poignant additions to the Plaza came in the form of bronze sculptures of Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, and Frances Warde, an instrumental figure in bringing the Sisters of Mercy to the Unites States. Created by Sister Marie Henderson, the sculptures serve as daily reminders of purposeful living, compassionate service, and global impact.

Because of the generosity of so many, countless members of the current and future Mount Mercy family will call this hub of campus—and heart of the University—home.

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