Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Nearly 200 students will receive their degrees at the Mercyhurst University McAuley College of Associate Degree Studies commencement on Saturday, May 9.
Of the 198 total graduates, 191 are from Mercyhurst North East, six are from the Booker T. Washington Center campus, and one is from Mercyhurst Corry. Sixty-seven graduates will receive associate of science in nursing degrees, 37 will receive associate of arts degrees and 94 will receive associate of science degrees. Earlier in the academic year, 50 students graduated, bringing the grand total for the year to 248.
Thomas J. Gamble, Ph.D., who is overseeing his final graduation as president of Mercyhurst University, will serve as commencement speaker. He will retire May 31 after nearly a decade of distinguished service as Mercyhurst’s 11th president.
Among President Gamble’s achievements are the transition of Mercyhurst College to Mercyhurst University; establishment of an international academic center in Dungarvan, Ireland; purchase of the $1.8 million Janet Miller building on the North East campus to include the $1.2 million Hirtzel Human Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology Laboratory; significant renovation of seven science laboratories on the Erie campus totaling over $3 million dollars; and the construction of the $10.5 million Center for Academic Engagement, which houses the nationally acclaimed Tom Ridge School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science. During the nine years of the Gamble presidency, Mercyhurst University raised over $44 million dollars.
As president, Gamble was committed to the reinvigoration of the Mercy mission at the institution and helped lead a refashioning of the mission statement, the creation of core values, the creation of Mercyhurst’s first mission officer, the creation of the Center for Mercy and Catholic Studies with an undergraduate minor in Catholic Studies, and restoration of Christ the King Chapel. Gamble was instrumental in the creation of the Helen Boyle Memorial Archive that showcases the writings and lectures of prominent Mercyhurst alumna and internationally known religious leader Joan D. Chittister, OSB. Also relevant to promoting the Mercy mission, Gamble strongly supported establishing the urban education initiatives at the Booker T. Washington Center and the Carpe Diem Academy, which deliver educational opportunities to underrepresented, largely minority citizens in Erie’s inner city. He also helped found the Multicultural Center, to respond to the growing diversity of the Mercyhurst student body and the Autism/Asperger Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) to meet the unique needs of the growing population of college-bound students on the autism spectrum.
Gamble holds a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Gannon University, a master of arts and doctorate in psychology from the Syracuse University, and a doctorate in social psychology from the Maxwell School for Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse. He also completed postdoctoral studies in child psychology at Yale University. After retiring as president, he plans to remain at Mercyhurst to pursue what he calls his first professional loves: learning, teaching, research and writing.
Nursing graduate Johneisha Williams, who was chosen to receive the Medal of Honor, the McAuley College’s highest award presented to the graduating student who has had the most positive impact on the life of the college community, will also speak at the ceremony. Sister Mary Felice Duska, RSM, a Mercyhurst University trustee, will deliver the invocation.
The McAuley College of Associate Degree Studies graduation events begin with a commencement mass on Saturday, May 9, 10:30 a.m., at Mercyhurst North East’s St. Mary’s Chapel. The commencement ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. at Mercyhurst North East’s Liguori Fieldhouse; admission is by ticket only. The ceremony will also be streamed live to the Alex Theatre on the North East campus (tickets are not required).