In this Issue

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Business & Leadership

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Communication, Literature & Arts

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Natural & Applied Sciences

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Philosophy & Religious Studies

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Psychology, Sociology, Social Work & International Studies

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Marriage & Family Therapy

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Made by Mercy

Throughout all the #MadeByMercy stories in this issue, you’ll see just how much the Mount Mercy family serves communities in need and continues to make a difference far beyond the Hill.

Dawn Schott ’92, ’16 MA

From Compassion to Action

Dawn Schott ’92, ’16 MA, director of Linn County Juvenile Detention and Diversion Services, uses progressive programming to garner positive results.

Stoops family portrait

A First-Generation Farmer Makes His Mark

Rogan Stoops '12, '17 MBA creates an organic family farm, donates to local food banks, and applies his education to teach conventional farmers how to shift to organic.

Bringing Doctoral-Level Education to Campus

In its 90-year history, Mount Mercy University has gone from a junior college to representing the full spectrum of a university-level education. This fall, two doctoral programs will be unveiled—a first not only for MMU, but also for the entire Cedar Rapids area.

Making a Difference Far Beyond the Hill

$384,000: So far, that’s the financial impact of Mount Mercy’s volunteerism and service learning during the 2017–18 school year when translated into dollars.

enactus Market at the Mount logo

Market at the Mount Again Proves to be Community Favorite

More than 60 local vendors gathered in Mount Mercy’s Hennessey Recreation Center for the December 2017 Market at the Mount.

Music in March an Annual Welcome of Spring

In the newly renovated McAuley Theater, members of Mount Mercy’s University Choir, Chamber/Jazz Singers, and University Band performed from their spring tour repertoire for the annual Music in March event on March 11.

Associate Professor of Economics Ayman Amar lectures at the 2017 Fall Faculty Series

2018 Fall Faculty Series Theme Announced

The 2018 Fall Faculty Series will focus on the important topic of sustainability and the environment.

Provost Jan Handler

Handler to Retire After Impactful Career

Provost Jan Handler plans to retire in June after a remarkable career, including five years as Mount Mercy University provost and 26 years as an administrator and professor of education.

Provost Tim Laurent

Mount Mercy Welcomes New Provost

Following a nationwide search, Tim Laurent has been named provost and vice president for academic affairs at Mount Mercy—succeeding Jan Handler after her retirement.

2018 NAIA Cross Country Championships Cedar Rapids Iowa logo

Mount Mercy to Host NAIA Cross Country National Championships

The NAIA Men’s and Women’s Cross Country National Championships are coming to Cedar Rapids this November.

Gerry Kreitzer, director of music activities

Kreitzer Named Iowa’s Outstanding Music Educator

Gerry Kreitzer, director of music activities, was awarded the 2016 National Federation Outstanding Music Educator State Award by the Iowa High School Music Association.

Jamarco Clark ’18 MSL stands in front of MMU's student food pantry

New Campus Food Pantry

An estimated half of all undergraduate students struggle with food insecurity, according to a nationwide study published in December 2017.


Visiting Speakers

Inspiring speakers visit the Hill.

Sisters Find Comfort, Inspiration, Strength in Each Other

Sisters Bobby Jo Salm ’18 and Heather Mineart ’18 took the leap of higher-ed faith and landed at Mount Mercy University—together.

Scholarship Day Crest with Graduation Cap above the text Mount Mercy University

Scholarship Day: A Community Tradition for 15+ Years

Scholarship Day is a long-standing tradition that highlights the collaborative efforts of the entire Mount Mercy campus—current students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Charles A. Rohde, Mount Mercy board member

Rhode Inducted into Corridor Business Hall of Fame

Charles A. Rohde, Mount Mercy board member and president of King’s Material, Inc., was recently inducted into the Junior Achievement Corridor Business Hall of Fame.

Rachael Murtaugh, Sustainability Director

New Sustainability Director Brings Ideas, Action

In her first two months at MMU, new Sustainability Director Rachael Murtaugh has amassed a list of accomplishments.

Starlet Smith ’17

Supporting Single Mothers

The youngest of four girls growing up, Starlet Smith ’17 was raised by a single mother who—despite struggles—got through college and held down a full-time job.

a group of people stand on a runway in front of an airplane with a sign that says,

Living Your Passions

When you learn how Allen Stekl ’19 MSL spends his time, it’s easy to see what he values most—and the efforts he’s made to invest in his passions.

Patricia Ochs ’18 MSL

Taking Care of Her Own

Patricia Ochs’ ’18 MSL successful startup helps people connect with active military service personnel and send personalized care packages.

MMU show choir performance

In the Spotlight: A New Campus Show Choir

MMU is one of the nation’s few institutions of higher education with a show choir that offers experience and college credit for participants.

Broadening Horizons, Capturing Ideas

Since 2009, MMU education students have had the opportunity to study abroad in Canterbury, England, as part of an exchange partnership with Christ Church University. The experience sparks new ways of thinking and teaching.


Giving Back, Paying it Forward

As a biology major with dreams of becoming a physical therapist, Megan Andresen ’98 volunteered to work with people with disabilities in the local community.

students treat patients in a new health center during a service-learning trip in Tanzania

Taking the Mount Mercy Mission to Tanzania

A group of 23—including 17 nursing students, two nursing faculty, an alumna, and President Laurie Hamen—participated in a service-learning trip in Tanzania, where they treated 250 patients in a new health center and worked with children in local schools.

Marisa Moon ’18

From Biology to Ministry

How one professor influenced a student's journey.

Lexxis Onken ’19 helps her mother, Janelle Onken, and a third volunteer sort through donated clothing

Facebook Group Provides Help for Those in Need

The donations-based group is the brainchild of Lexxis Onken ’19, a social work student who wanted to provide a safe, nonjudgmental resource for local residents in need.

Kellee Thorburn McCrory, Assistant Professor of Social Work

Opioid Symposium Brings To Light Growing Problem in Iowa

Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. In 2016, Iowa reported 180 opioid-related deaths—more than six times the number reported in the state in 2005.

Heather Morgan-Sowada ’09, ’12 MA

Life Comes Full Circle for New Professor

Heather Morgan-Sowada ’09, ’12 MA received her bachelor’s in psychology and was in the first MMU cohort to receive a master’s in MFT. Now, she says she’s honored to teach students in an atmosphere she truly believes in.

Class Notes

Stay connected with MMU alumni updates—including weddings, births, promotions, anniversaries, awards, and more.

Mount Mercy’s 1931 orchestra

From the Archives

With the introduction of our new show choir, we take a look back at our history in music featuring Mount Mercy’s 1931 orchestra.