Wednesday, June 8, 2016
More than 75 representatives of Erie business, government, education, and civic organizations are expected to attend the 25th Anniversary Tour of Mercyhurst North East hosted by Mercyhurst President Michael Victor on Thursday, June 9.
The celebratory event, which includes a tour of the North East campus and a luncheon in the Tom and Michele Ridge Health & Safety Building, recognizes the 25th anniversary of the first branch campus established by a university in the Erie region.
“Some say the plan to develop an opportunity and career college in North East was the greatest risk Mercyhurst had taken since 1969 when it elected to go co-ed,” noted Victor. “But, in honoring the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy who founded us and who believed strongly that an education should be available to all who want it, we took that risk, and it has proven a risk worth taking.”
The North East Campus was founded on an 84-acre site that was once home to St. Mary’s Seminary. North East businessman Bob Miller, who has been an avid supporter of MNE since its inception, put a $50,000 deposit down to hold the facility, and the North East community raised $500,000 toward its renovation.
In 1991, Mercyhurst North East opened its doors as an "opportunity and career college" dedicated to providing post-secondary education for capable learners who sought to learn job-entry skills. In essence, the goal was to fulfill a community college role in the Mercyhurst tradition.
“Twenty-five years later, we have a glorious residential campus with historic old buildings and beautiful new ones. We have amazing technology. We have in-demand career-track programs. We’re home to the Mercyhurst Public Safety Institute, to the Municipal Police Training Academy, and all of these are directed by a dedicated faculty and administration and supported by the wonderful community of North East,” Victor said. “But what really defines us is our students.”
MNE began with 50 students and enrolled more than 750 in the most recent academic year. The university anticipates adding 400 new students this fall.
Victor acknowledged the diversity of MNE students. Some, he said, come to North East fresh out of high school and believe in the value of higher education, only they don’t want or aren’t ready for a four-year degree program. Others may have lost jobs and seek out Mercyhurst North East to retool for a new career. Many adult students simply want to get the education that for one reason or another eluded them when they were younger.
“In any event, Mercyhurst North East has been a game changer, indeed a life saver, for many, many people, and we are proud to have been the springboard toward a better life,” Victor said. “We are also gratified to be in a position of filling local jobs by educating students for in-demand careers like computer systems, business administration, nursing and allied health programs.”
MNE offers more than 30 academic programs, including associate degrees, one-year certificates and two allied health bachelor's degrees: health care management and an RN to BSN completion program. MNE competes in 13 NJCAA sports and supports more than 20 clubs and organizations.
Just 15 miles from the Erie campus, MNE facilities include a modernized academic/residential building, townhouse residences, an academic building and library complex, a beautiful Gothic style church, a theater, spacious gymnasium, several athletic fields, a medical facility, and sophisticated high-tech laboratories spanning disciplines of nursing, culinary arts and anatomy, including the Hirtzel Human Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology Laboratory, widely regarded as the most sophisticated forensics lab in the region. MNE is also home to the Mercyhurst Public Safety Institute and Municipal Police Training Academy.