Marina R Boyle
When you pick up your copy of the Merciad on a Wednesday, it is easy to forget about the long and fruitful history of the newspaper amidst current news and events.
However, The Merciad first began publication in 1929, only three years after the founding of the college.
The Merciad has a 90 year history at this point, and every issue ever published can be found digitally in the Mercyhurst archives.
The newspaper tells us so much about the history of Mercyhurst. It spans the beginning of a very small Catholic women’s school to the far larger co-educational university we have today.
The Merciad is also integral in reminding of us of what students were thinking at the time. The newspaper has reported on historical issues beyond our living memory; such as race relations, the Vietnam War, the women’s movement and so much more. Even in our collective living memory, the Merciad has covered students’ reactions to events like September 11, 2001, various presidential elections and a variety of social movements.
It is fascinating to hear what students of the time thought, and how The Merciad reflected their views.
Students had views that many of us today might find backward, shocking, daring, insightful and inspiring.
As we live through significant events now, including a worldwide pandemic and movements like Black Lives Matter, future generations will probably be interested in how Mercyhurst handled these events.
Although it might not seem like it, much of what students feel today will be useful for posterity.
We will be sharing something from the archives each week. From sports, to academics to events that now belong to the past, we will try to showcase how Mercyhurst and life for students has changed through the decades.
The Merciad is one of oldest continuous college publications in the United States, and that is something to be very proud of.
In the turbulent times of 2020, we can take comfort in the fact that the past held simpler times, but also trials and tribulations that generations got through together.
We hope you enjoy this snippet of the past during this new and different school year.
October 1963: A hootenanny, an informal gathering with folk music, was the event taking Mercyhurst students by storm in the fall of 1963. Mercyhurst College teamed up with local schools to transport students from all around Erie to the Lazy S Ranch where they could go horseback riding and play outdoor sports while listening to live music. One of the most famous folk songs of the time was “500 Miles” recorded by the group Peter, Paul and Mary. The song title was the basis of the Merciad’s joke that week. Students didn’t have to travel 500 miles to attend a hootenanny, they just had to board the Mercyhurst bus to the Lazy S Ranch!