Mercyhurst has been recognized as a College of Distinction and a Catholic College of Distinction by Colleges of Distinction, an organization that recognizes schools of excellence.
The organization looks at four main areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community and successful outcomes.
“We think we are exactly the type of school the Colleges of Distinction are looking to promote,” said Vice President for Enrollment Joseph Howard.
“We went through a two- and-a-half-hour interview involving the entire cabinet,” Howard said.
In order to be considered for Colleges of Distinction, a school must first be nominated by high school guidance counselors and college administration. After nomination, the organization looks at public statistics on each school such as retention rates and graduation rates to decide if they want to bring the school to the interview step of the process.
Mercyhurst offers a number of innovative learning experiences, Howard said.
“They liked that Education students are in classes with children their very first semester, Intel students do work for government contractors and Archeology students have the ability to participate in digs,” Howard said.
“Many of our students have contact with senior faculty their very first year here,” said Howard.
According to Howard, another area interviewers focused on was how students are getting beyond the gates.
“One in five undergraduates have some study abroad experience on top of students getting internships and service projects,” Howard said.
Diversity was another contributing factor.
“Eleven percent of our student body is international and 14 percent of our students come from racial/ethnic groups that are typically under represented at the university level,” Howard said.
According to Howard, Mercyhurst’s placement rate of graduates getting jobs or into graduate school is 95 percent within six months.
Additionally, Colleges of Distinction looked at Mercyhurst as a Catholic School of Distinction.
“Mercyhurst is routinely recognized by the President [of the United States]’s higher education community service honor roll,” said Howard.
Additionally, Colleges of Distinction looked at the Mass of the Holy Spirit, Mercy week and how the school values sustainability, one of the Sisters of Mercy teachings.