Mercyhurst Magazine Spring 2018

Rules Many rules that had been enforced for decades were relaxed during Sister Carolyn’s tenure – and some cherished traditions ended. “I didn’t agree with all the rules, some were just too strict, like the printed checklist for rooms: baseboards dusted, sink cleaned, etc. “Knowing the way young people were being brought up, I saw we could no longer have college freshmen come at age 18 or 19 and impose these rules on them when they didn’t have these kinds of rules in their own homes… I didn’t feel that was our job. We were no longer in loco parentis. … Many of the older faculty felt we should continue as we always were. We would never have been able to survive. I wasn’t just looking at survival. I was looking at making us a very good college.” She said students rebelled against May Day. “There was rebellion in the ‘60s all over the country. I didn’t like the fact they didn’t go to graduation, but I could understand rebellion against this rigid code, especially with programs like May Day. They looked on it as a big show for the city, too much spent on fancy clothes and fowers. It no longer ft. I knew that too.” Refecting on her own development, Sister Carolyn told Pintea, “When I look at what has happened to me in my life time, I lay it all to the credit of the Sisters of Mercy. I was given all these opportunities by the Sisters of Mercy. I never would have had a doctorate or gone to graduate school. I thought I wanted to be a nurse when I was young, and I probably would have if I didn’t come to Mercyhurst Seminary. And my whole life changed.”

Postscript: Sister Carolyn Herrmann retired as president of Mercyhurst College in 1972, following a decade during which the school became coeducational and doubled its enrollment and facilities. She served as director of education with the Catholic Near East Welfare Association in New York City for a year before returning to Erie as resource coordinator of the Sisters of Mercy and director of development and alumni relations for the college. She lived for many years with Sister Maura Smith and other sisters in the old farmhouse on the back campus. In 1982, she spent a year at the University of Notre Dame as one of 12 women selected for the Religious Leaders Training Program, and later directed the Erie Senior Citizen Advocate Ofce. She was elected as superior of the Sisters of Mercy in 1983. In 1990, the new Mercyhurst Student Union was named in her honor. She died Dec. 28, 1996.

Right: In 1989, Sister Carolyn Herrmann and Sister Maura Smith show of the fowers that surrounded the Mercy Campus House.

In 1989, Sister Carolyn Herrmann marks the 20th anniversary of coeducation with nine of the original 16 men who enrolled at the college in 1969. Front row, from top: John Grazier ’71, Thomas Richter ’73, Robert Dillemuth ’72, James Sabol ’70. Back row: Gary Bukowski ’73, William Taft ’72, Larry Rice ’72, Mark Santia ’73, Russell Sundy ’71.

’ Sister Carolyn Herrmann greets Mercyhurst s frst male graduate, Daniel Burke, in 1969.


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