President’s letter: Learning to discover

We have a mission at Mount Mercy to prepare and equip students with academic excellence. As a university we contribute to the global growth of knowledge through the research and creative work of our faculty and students. We are guided by our Catholic intellectual heritage to seek truth through faith and reason. The founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McAuley, reminded us that knowledge must translate to compassion. We are called to consider the world around us as we learn, or as Christ put it, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

From science labs in the lower level of Basile Hall, to hospitals and clinics throughout the region, to work with children with autism at Mount Mercy’s Olson Marriage & Family Therapy Clinic—our community is seeking, discovering and learning by doing each day. We strive to make our world better, more compassionate and more filled with truth.

This is something in which we can all take pride.

Take, for example, Tessa Friason ’16, who spent summer 2015 interning with the Centers for Disease Control. Though she has already returned to Cedar Rapids, her efforts will carry on, helping her fellow students better understand the plight of underserved populations in an urban setting. She is also an ambassador of compassion and a fantastic example of the exceptional nursing students we have on the Hill.  A little closer to home, Mount Mercy’s experienced faculty mentors in the Marriage and Family Therapy program—along with students such as Shannon Parker ‘15 and Courtney Fox ‘15—are making progress understanding how successful families find their way after a child’s autism diagnosis.

Our mission of academic excellence and compassionate service translates easily from the laboratory to the soccer field for Meleah Baloch ’18. She is not only an outstanding athlete, but also a researcher who spent much of her summer trudging through sand prairies, aiding Dr. Neil Bernstein’s study of turtle populations in eastern Iowa.

These student stories fill the pages of this magazine and illustrate our deep commitment to faculty-led undergraduate research and experiential learning.

Students at Mount Mercy are fortunate to consistently see examples of faculty living out our mission of service and discovery. Faculty like Dr. Jen Lee, assistant professor of psychology, who conducts research that brings comfort and pain relief to cancer patients, and Carol Tyx, professor of English, who is writing a book of original poetry that will not only add to our culture but also look at life from a unique historical perspective.

It is no surprise that Mount Mercy welcomed its largest class of freshman ever at the start of this school year. This is due, I suspect, in no small part to the depth of academic and service work being done inside and outside the classroom by our talented faculty and passionate students. It’s an honor and a privilege to share these stories with you, and I hope this will serve as a reminder to our alumni why you are proud to be a lifelong Mount Mercy Mustang.

Written by President Laurie Hamen