Former president Gamble leaves legacy at Institute

Emani Burton, Staff writer

The Mercyhurst University Board of Trustee members recently recognized former president Thomas Gamble’s contributions to the university by renaming the Mercyhurst Civic Institute in his honor.
After 30 years of service, Gamble leaves his last legacy at Mercyhurst with the change of name of the Civic Institute to the Thomas J. Gamble Civic Institute. Through the founding of the institute, Gamble set out to connect the student body with the Erie community.
Gamble spent most of his career enhancing social services for youth and children. Before his Mercyhurst career, Gamble headed the Erie County Office of Children and Youth Services.
He also served on the County Collaborative Board for Children and Families and the Erie County Children’s Advocacy Center. He was instrumental to the Erie County juvenile detention screening program, and the Pennsylvania model of child abuse risk assessment. The renaming ceremony was celebrated on June 19 during the former president’s farewell dinner.
“The Civic Institute is a huge part of Dr. Gamble’s legacy. We hope to continue in his tradition by educating and supporting the decision makers of Erie social policy,” said Amy Eisert, Ph.D., director of the Mercyhurst Civic Institute . With plans to continue the current associations with UnitedErie and other community organizations, Eisert is certain that Thomas J. Gamble Civic Institute will live up to its name.
The Civic Institute, founded by Gamble in 1999, is considered a non-academic branch of Mercyhurst. Unlike other schools and institutes affiliated with Mercyhurst, the Civic Institute does not instruct students for classroom credits. It aims to enhance and facilitate citizen decision making while improving social policies.
The institute is a direct link between Mercyhurst and the greater Erie community. The Institute has worked with many influential community groups including Erie City Council and the Erie Police Department.
“We focus on research. As an extended arm of Mercyhurst, we seek to identify and evaluate today’s most concerning civic issues,” said Eisert. “Through training, evaluation programs, help to oversee how social policy is implemented.”
During the Institute’s 16-year history, the Mercyhurst Civic Institute has become synonymous with social services initiatives in Erie County.  Recent partnerships with UnifiedErie are helping to raise awareness of gun violence in Erie.
Research collected by the Civic Institute is helping the Erie City Council identify the root causes of a recent gun violence spike.  The goal of service toward the enrichment of the Erie community reflects the attitude of the institute’s founder, former President Gamble.