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Senior class gift takes inspiration from tradition

Friday, May 20, 2016

With the revival of the carillon bells, the debut of a new mascot, and the inception of Hurst Day, the 2015-16 academic year has unofficially become the year of reinvigorating Mercyhurst University traditions.

The Class of 2016 did its part on Friday, May 20, when students presented a check to President Michael Victor for $12,246.25, which will fund their Senior Class Gift, a six-foot bronze anchor. The sculpture, to be installed on the lawn of the Audrey Hirt Academic Center, represents the strength and determination of Lakers everywhere.

The gift symbolizes The Legend of the Mercyhurst Anchor, which recounts how Mercyhurst mascot Luke the Laker clung to an anchor forged by his father while he rode out a treacherous storm and emerged unscathed. From that day forward, the anchor became a symbol of good luck and fortune.

The Class of 2016 hopes the anchor will impart favor upon all Mercyhurst students who touch it, whether prior to a big test, a performance or athletic contest.

Senior Class Gift Committee Fundraising Chair Park Bogan said the committee decided early on that it wanted to focus its gift around “tradition.” “The majority agreed that the anchor could represent our class and the foundational values of Mercyhurst while building on budding new traditions,” Bogan said.

The committee set a goal of $10,000 and a participation rate of 60 percent, exceeding both with a contribution of $12,246.25 and 63 percent participation. The seniors presented the gift during a 1 p.m. ceremony in the lobby of Old Main.

“Students today, more than ever, are flocking toward the committee, wanting to be involved, and wanting to support Mercyhurst,” said Lindsay Cox, director of alumni engagement. “We have developed a strong culture of giving among students and a sense of tradition in giving back.”

The Mercyhurst Anchor is not the only gift on campus embodied by tradition and the university’s rich heritage. The practice of graduating seniors bestowing a parting gift on their alma mater dates back to at least 1989, when seniors purchased the stained glass window in Mercy Heritage Room.

Other memorable gifts include the 24/7 study lounge in Hammermill Library (Class of 2008); the “Rock” in front of Old Main (2001); the Sister Damien Spirit Bell (2005); the sports courts between Briggs and Lewis avenues (2007); the “Spirit Section” at Tullio Field (2014); the concession stand in the MAC (2015); and the outdoor classroom in front of Zurn Hall (2011).

PHOTO: Leadership team of the Senior Class Gift Committee presents President Victor with a check. From left are Meaghan Hubert (chair), Park Bogan, President Victor, Samantha Beckas and Kaleigh Ruggiero.