Mercyhurst Magazine Summer 2016

“At Mercyhurst, we have put in place a business model that demands institutional efectiveness at all levels,” said Victor, who credits his leadership team (see cabinet photo, p. 5) for the strategic path they have charted using research-based problem solving, analysis and best practice. Of all his administration’s accomplishments thus far, perhaps the greatest is in the number of new freshmen enrolling for the 2016-2017 academic year. More than 720 true freshmen are expected to converge on the Erie campus this fall – without a doubt, the largest freshman class in Mercyhurst history. And, Mercyhurst did not lower its standards to achieve this milestone; in fact, this group promises to be one of the brightest yet. “Navigating the whitewater of today’s higher education landscape is a daunting feat, but the fact that we are enrolling so many new students in the throes of it, well, that puts us in an enviable position,”Victor said. But it wasn’t only admissions and marketing that drove the enrollment success; advancement also put forth a Herculean efort to yield the strongest fundraising year in the university’s 90-year history. Overall contributions to Mercyhurst topped $6.57 million with gains in nearly every area: endowment, major gifts and the annual fund. See the Donor Report at the back of this issue for details. In the area of academics, change was widespread. The university’s administrative and academic operations were streamlined to improve efciency, and the academic calendar and liberal arts core curriculum were revamped to make them more responsive to diverse student needs. Of all the changes, the toughest came in right-sizing a faculty that had grown by 20 percent over the past eight years while enrollment had declined by 9 percent. “It was an unsustainable model,”Victor said. “Gratefully, our faculty recognized the fx we were in and were incredibly supportive of our eforts to correct it.” Moving forward, Victor said he intends to continue down the road of innovation, to invest in majors with strong outcomes while being true to Mercyhurst’s liberal arts tradition. He is looking to add distinctive new programs at the university’s North East campus and is building some unique alliances that he anticipates will lead to exciting new learning opportunities for students. “This sustained momentum is designed to make Mercyhurst an even greater university – more intellectually pioneering, more culturally robust and a model of higher education that prepares our students with the critical skills and networks they will need to succeed in today’s global economy,”Victor said.

Scenes from Year 1: President Victor outside Christ the King Chapel; with one of the new Mercyhurst buses that showcase university identity – and save money; with Sister Pat Whalen, RSM, who’s retiring from her full-time job as registrar after decades of service; serving with Provost David Dausey and the rest of the cabinet at Emmaus Soup Kitchen.


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