Mercyhurst College will graduate 856 students – 666 from its Erie campus and 190 from North East – during commencement weekend May 21-22. Of those receiving degrees, approximately 741 students will walk in one of three scheduled commencement exercises.
The traditional pomp and circumstance for traditional-aged students will be showcased this year in an entirely new venue, the Louis J. Tullio Arena, 809 French St., on Sunday, May 22, at 2:30 p.m. The 2005 graduating class totals 531 students.
Besides Sunday’s commencement, Mercyhurst celebrates the graduation of its adult and graduate students on Saturday, May 21, at 2:30 p.m. in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. Of the 135 total graduates, 81 are receiving master’s degrees from one of Mercyhurst’s five graduate programs.
Also on Saturday, Mercyhurst North East graduates will receive associate degrees in a 1 p.m. commencement program at Liguori Fieldhouse on that campus. This year’s graduating class totals 190 students.
With its largest graduating class in history, Mercyhurst faced the prospect of being unable to accommodate undergraduate students and their families in the 2,200-seat Warner Theatre, the venue of choice for the past 15 years. Thus, the administration, under the direction of college president Dr. Michael McQuillen, made the decision to relocate the Sunday graduation to the 5,000-seat Tullio Arena, familiar to many as the Erie Civic Center, enabling the college to offer families unlimited tickets for admission.
By request of the graduates, Mercyhurst will continue the traditional march up State Street that precedes Sunday’s undergraduate commencement exercises. The students are expected to process from Boston Store Place south on State Street to East Ninth Street, where they will head east onto Ninth to the Tullio Arena.
During Sunday’s graduation, the college’s highest honor, the Carpe Diem Award, will be presented, along with the Bishop’s Award for academic achievement.
In a special presentation, associate professor of English Paul Barry McAndrew will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree. McAndrew is retiring this year after an unprecedented career of 40 years on the lay faculty of Mercyhurst.