At Mercyhurst University, traditions aren’t simply dusty old relics from our past. They’re living, breathing celebrations, evolving opportunities for us to connect with Mercyhurst’s identity and with each other.

From the serious to the spontaneous, the solemn to the quirky, you’re poised to discover a host of rituals, rallies, observances and legends unique to the Laker experience. Because as Mercyhurst grows and changes, revitalized with every new class of students, traditions—those touchstones of common experience—endure, bringing us together and reminding us of what it means to be a Laker.

Hurst Day

Waking up bright and early to the sound of bagpipes on a glorious autumn day might not seem too appealing. But for Lakers it can only mean one thing: Hurst Day has arrived. Hurst Day shows up unexpectedly every fall semester, surprising everyone on campus with a day of canceled classes, contagious fun and electric Laker pride. The Hurst is transformed into a carnival-like atmosphere with games, inflatable slides, jumps, obstacle courses, a dunk tank, rock walls, bungee runs, a mechanical bull, music, food and prizes. The day’s signature event features a scavenger hunt with teams of students—themed costumes encouraged—traversing campus to locate clues and win awesome prizes. Hurst Day festivities conclude with an elegant dinner for all students—just one more example of the spirit of celebration and special bonds within the Laker family.

Sister Damien Spirit Bell

Located in Trinity Green, the Sister Damien Spirit Bell commemorates Sister Damien, a Sister of Mercy and devoted fan of Laker athletics known for boisterously ringing a cowbell at every big game. Now, after every athletic win, the team gathers in Trinity Green to ring the bell and sound out their victory.


Midway through the Spring Semester, everybody could use a break from the rigors of academic study, making it the perfect time to cut loose and have a little fun. We’ve got you covered, thanks to SpringFest, a campus-wide dance party with thousands of your closest friends and a headlining music act. SpringFest artists have included Daya, Plain White T’s, T-Pain, MKTO andy Grammer and Time Flies, to name a few.

Alma Mater

Lyrics to the university's alma mater:

We hail our college Alma Mater
the 'Hurst that's built upon the hill.
With love for all she has taught us
traditions that we carry still.

Old Main stands for the courage,
the opportunity to seize each
moment of the future
awaiting you and me.

The gates stand always open
the trees all green upon the grounds.
And when we look to Mercyhurst
there's no better to be found.

J. Chiarelli/G. Myers
arr: L.S. Wiliams
transcribed for band by R. Lucase, B. Mus. Ed., 2015

O’Neil Tower Carillon

The O’Neil Tower Carillon is the heartbeat of campus, marking each hour and chiming the Alma Mater every day at 2 p.m. You can also catch campus-wide renditions of holiday carols in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Other popular Mercyhurst traditions include:

  • Freshman Day of Service
  • Freshman Convocation
  • Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • Haunted Hurst
  • Grotto Commons Thanksgiving Dinner
  • Homecoming
  • Reunion Weekend
  • Laker Showdown
  • Christmas Tree Lighting
  • Carpe Diem Retreats