Mercyhurst University was named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service learning and civic engagement.
"Mercyhurst University is very proud of this recognition of our commitment to service, which has its origins with the Sisters of Mercy, who from the very beginning to the present time helped those in need,” said President Thomas Gamble, Ph.D. “I am also grateful to all those Mercyhurst students, faculty and staff members who give selflessly of their time, treasure and talent to make our community a better place.”
This honor is based on the university’s service initiatives during the 2011-2012 academic year. During this time, the Mercyhurst community contributed approximately 39,000 hours of outreach to the community by helping at local soup kitchens and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania; participating in overnight immersion experiences focused on issues of poverty, hunger, racism, etc.; and by supporting area nonprofits, such as The American Red Cross, Relay For Life and Habitat for Humanity.
“It’s an honor to receive this distinction; it affirms the hard work of our students and staff,” said Colin Hurley, director of service learning. “It’s a continuation of Mercyhurst’s tradition to uphold the Mercy mission.”
Since the university developed its service learning department about 15 years ago, the efforts of faculty and administration in integrating service into coursework has impacted more than 100 local nonprofit organizations, said Hurley, who predicted even more college-community partnerships in the years ahead.
“We want students to engage in a service project for longer periods of time within the academic year,” said Hurley. “I really like to view community members as teachers. Not only are we providing outreach to the community, but the community acts as co-educators for our students. We are very grateful to those organizations and individuals for providing these service opportunities.”
A total of 690 colleges were recognized as part of this year’s President’s Honor Roll for Community Service Award. Of those 690, Mercyhurst joins 571 Honor Roll members.
More information about Mercyhurst University’s community service efforts can be found at the university’s service learning page. More information about the service award, as well as a full list of Honor Roll awardees, can be found at nationalservice.gov.