Since becoming president in 2015, President Michael T. Victor has embraced the “holy trinity” of Mercyhurst tradition:; history, faith and experience. With these core underlying virtues, not only has the university experienced a shift in togetherness, but also in expressing the Mercyhurst name.
“Traditions are very, very important. They give you a sense of place,” Victor said.
Faith Magazine explored how Victor provided his own personal donation to have the sacred bells of Hurst ring on a regular basis. For Victor, each time this bell chimes, the unity of Mercyhurst shines, and a sense of historical pride rings through everyone’s ears. The essence of Mercyhurst lies in the bells, for it is the very tradition that has helped President Victor renew the joyous spirit that has taken Mercyhurst so long to reunite, according to the Faith article.
“For so many years, Mercyhurst tried to downplay its Catholicity. Since I have arrived, I’ve wanted to play that up, because that is a huge part of who we are,” said Victor. “(This honor) was a fantastic way to show that we have done it.”
The addition of Hurst Day continues to thrive on the mission of the campus. Victor himself implemented the day of fun for students, while keeping the date a secret and waking the students up to the sound of bagpipes, jumping back to the Mercyhurst Irish heritage.
Victor’s outlook on “beyond the gates” consists of rounding students to not only see their potential within the gates of Mercyhurst, but in the world as well. Efforts to go above and beyond in assisting our world family is the key virtue in producing a functioning society. Mercyhurst looks to capture this ideal in each and everyone of their students that pass through the gates.
The Mercy Emissary Program develops the historical value the Sisters of Mercy have achieved throughout the beginning of this university.
“What the Mercy Emissary program is, is an attempt to keep the Spirits of the Sister of Mercy alive at Mercyhurst. We only have one sister who works here anymore. Sister Lisa Mary, vice president of Admissions. It is groups of faculty and staff who attend retreats and lectures about what it means to carry the Mercy Mission,” said Victor. “Our hope is that through the faculty and staff, that the Mercy Mission will continue, because we think that’s what makes us special, that’s that feeling people get, that feeling that people care.”
President Victor continues to strive to have the university’s history and future unite as one, which is why recently he held afternoon tea for the Sisters of Mercy.
“When I was president of Lake Erie College, it was an all-women’s college until 1985 and one of the traditions that they was that all the graduating seniors, the women and their mothers were invited to the President’s mansion for First Lady Tea,” said Victor. “My wife kind of liked that and thought, ‘Well, I’m going to translate that to a tea for the Sisters.”
The afternoon consisted of a Garden Party in President Victor’s home, to enjoy sweets, finger sandwiches and tea. The favorite sandwich was the onion sandwich. Fourteen of the Sisters of Mercy were in attendance as they took a tour of the garden of Victor’s wife, Craige Victor.
With both outlooks being positive on President Victor’s continued developments to the legacy of Mercyhurst, future students will not be able to deny the presence of tradition, virtues and pride that unites the campus.