Board approves submission of university app

Since 1926 when the gates of Mercyhurst opened, the school has been known as Mercyhurst College.

This will likely be changing soon.

A draft application for the college to shift to university status has been composed and is highly likely to be approved in May.

The 102-page application was posted to the Mercyhurst portal about two weeks ago for students and staff to access and comment on.

During its fall meeting on Thursday, Oct. 28, Mercyhurst’s board of trustees voted to immediately submit the application to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

After it receives the document, the PDE will advise Mercyhurst if any other issues need to be addressed.

Students were encouraged to send their feedback regarding the application to Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Phil Belfiore or Director of Assessment Amy Danzer, although for the most part only employees shared their opinions.

If and when the application is approved, it is highly probable the PDE will have several issues to address first. The earliest the Mercyhurst University name could come into use would be fall 2011.

“I believe the work and time invested by all the people involved will result in eventual approval,” Belfiore said.

Approval is expected after the PDE visits campus in February or March. The university name should be established and changed shortly after.

The discussion in acquiring university status began in spring 2009.
The college’s board of trustees then voted in support of the administration looking into university status requirements in January 2010, which led to a meeting with the PDE in March.

The PDE representatives responded positively and gave approval to create the application.

Soon after this consent, the trustees voted in June to prepare the application, and work toward completing the forms has continued since then.

The application was compiled by many people across campus, including President Dr. Thomas Gamble, Dr. Heidi Hosey and several other trustees.

“It could never have come about, however, without many, many people across all of our campuses and locations, in positions from maintenance to vice president, answering questions and providing information,” Danzer said.