Since 1968, Mercyhurst University has presented this achievement award to recognize outstanding contributions made by its graduates in the following areas:
- Outstanding Achievement in a Chosen Field
- Outstanding Service to Mercyhurst University
- Outstanding Service to Community
In 1993, an Outstanding Young Alumni Award was established to be awarded to a graduate of not more than 15 years ago. In 1997, in memory of Sister Carolyn Hermann, an award was established in her name to recognize exemplary contributions made by a graduate.