Who’s behind the smile?


Mitchell Marsh

One of Rhonda Blount’s favorite parts of working at the Grotto Commons is having the opportunity to get to know students and learn about their lives.

Chelsea Guida, Photo editor

Rhonda Blount, known to nearly every Laker as just Rhonda, has worked in the Grotto Commons Dining Hall for nine years. She, along with many of the other dining staff, has the ability to make students feel welcome from the moment they enter Mercyhurst as freshman.

Blount takes the time to learn the names of every person that enters the Grotto Commons. She also tries to learn about each student’s life. She engages in conversation, asking thoughtful questions­ — and yet, most students know little about her.

Blount was born and raised in Maine, moving to California at age 19. She lived there for over a decade, and then settled in the Erie area after having children. Her favorite part of being at Mercyhurst is getting to know students.

“I enjoy getting to know their names and getting to know them,” she said.

Blount’s ability to remember names is incredible, considering that every year there are approximately 700 new freshman introduced. She makes a game out of remembering them.

“If I get it wrong enough, I will eventually get it right,” she said.

Outside of work, Blount enjoys going to the athletic events on campus. She particularly enjoys the Findley Lake Regatta, the hockey games and any other events where she can show her Laker pride. Off campus, she enjoys spending time outdoors. Her favorite place is the Allegheny River, and she loves to go hiking and kayaking and enjoys collecting and re-purposing beach glass.

“I love Rhonda because she is always smiling, and it brightens my day,” Amelia Kanonczyk, junior Criminal Justice major, said.