Mercyhurst announces 'happiness' as academic theme for 2013-2014

MU Happiness theme
Mercyhurst University is pleased to announce the theme for the 2013-2014 academic year: happiness.

President Thomas Gamble, Ph.D., the Office of Academic Affairs, Campus Ministry and the Institute for Arts & Culture invite Mercyhurst students, faculty, staff and administration to explore the many different aspects of happiness throughout the next academic year.

In- and out-of-classroom experiences that will be geared to reflect the “happiness” theme include guest speakers, service-learning, essay contests, performing arts opportunities, social media, faculty symposia, art shows, projects funded by academic enrichment or diversity grants, film series and student-led projects through clubs and organizations.

“Happiness” follows the theme for the 2012-2013 academic year, “freedom.”

The 2013-2014 year will also be the first within the university’s transition from trimesters to semesters in the new 4-1-4 configuration. This provides more opportunities for students to explore the academic theme during the month-long J-Term. The J-Term makes space for intensely focused internships, study abroad trips, student and faculty research initiatives or immersion in intensive, hands-on coursework.

When he introduced the theme to the Mercyhurst community, Jim Snyder, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the philosophy department, challenged all to think deeply about the meaning of happiness.

“Although everything we do seems to be geared toward it, it somehow seems transitory and illusory,” he writes. “Everyone seems to have something to say about it, yet when asked what it is they can’t quite explain it – although they claim to know it when they see it. So, we ask, as a community of seekers and finders, thinkers and believers: What is happiness?”

Want to learn more? View a PDF of the university’s introduction to the “Year of Happiness."

Or, please contact Snyder at or 814-824-3345.

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