Senior award winners announced for 2021

Bella Lee, Staff writer

It’s that time of year again, the time where senior awards are announced and we bid farewell to the people that have helped shape our lives for the past four years. A familiar name in the Mercyhurst community, Marina Boyle, received the Carpe Diem Award, the highest award presented to any senior at graduation. This award also comes with the honor of being the student speaker at graduation, which this year will include three Commencement ceremonies.

In addition, Lauren Rogus received the Bishop’s Award for Academic Excellence, Braeden Barnett received the Frank Barry Leadership Award, Lucy Belleau received the Sister Carolyn Herrmann Service Award and Ethan Wagner received the Mother Borgia Egan Honors Award.
Two adult undergraduate students, Mike Shannon and Trey Catalano, received the Catherine McAuley Adult Student Award and the President’s Award for Adult Excellence, respectively.

The Carpe Diem Award can go to any graduating senior and is presented annually to the student who has made the most positive impact on the life of the Mercyhurst community and who best exemplifies the university motto, “Carpe Diem.”

Boyle, a senior Business and Competitive Intelligence and International Hospitality and Tourism double major, has done just that.

“I have been very involved during my time at Mercyhurst. I have served as an Ambassador, an RA, an MSG Senator and MAC/SAC programmer and as chair of the Senior Class Gift Committee,” said Boyle, who also serves as the Merciad’s editor-in-chief. “However, I think that there were so many of us in the Class of 2021 who were equally as dedicated and involved. For me, I believe it came down to more than just involvement, but also connection to the University and the spirit of Carpe Diem. I know that Mercyhurst has given me so much, and I’ve tried to give back as much as possible. In everything I’ve done at Mercyhurst I have tried to seize the opportunity as if it will never come again. I was also lucky enough to be supported by fantastic faculty, friends and mentors who supported me in my endeavors and allowed me to Carpe Diem. I truly love Mercyhurst and was honored to be named as the recipient of this award. My education is not something I take for granted, but an opportunity that I seize every day.”

Boyle is the second in her family to have been presented the Carpe Diem award. Her sister, Rhona Boyle, received the same honor in 2013. They are only the second set of siblings in Mercyhurst history to have achieved this feat.

“My best memories of Mercyhurst will always be the sense of community I found here, and the opportunity I had to make lifelong friends and lasting bonds with faculty and staff,” said Boyle. “This community is what I will miss the most, but I know that a part of my heart will always remain at Mercyhurst. Being a Laker has been the greatest privilege of my life, and I’m so honored to have shared that with the Class of 2021.”

After graduation, Boyle will be staying in Erie for the time being to work as a Financial Crimes Investigator for Key Bank.

The Bishop’s Award for Academic Excellence is presented to a graduating senior who is considered a top scholar among the graduating class.

Rogus, a senior Early Childhood and Special Education double major with double minors in English Language Development and Art Therapy, is a prime example of this.
“I have been really into my studies and have tried to help my peers by creating peer study groups before tests, as well as tutoring peers, and most people who know me know that I am a Quizlet queen,” said Rogus. “Unlike a bunch of my peers, I do not have to say goodbye to calling Hurst Home quite too soon. I will be studying for my master’s in Teaching Excellence in the fall. I really have enjoyed making Hurst day memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. I am going to really miss the loving and caring Mercyhurst community and family that our school gives to anyone that enters the gates. In fact, I am looking forward to seizing my today and all my tomorrows thanks to my wonderful education that I have had these past four years.”

The Frank Barry Leadership Award is given to a traditional graduating senior who has exemplified superior student leadership and campus involvement during his/her time at Mercyhurst University.

This award is named after Frank Barry, ’75, one of the first male student government presidents.

Barnett, a senior English major, who’s also known as the current MAC/SAC chair, greatly exemplifies this.
“I believe my experience in multiple leadership positions are the biggest contributor to this award,” Barnett said. “I have been involved in student government, Ambassadors, Laker Leaders and several clubs. In addition, I’ve spent the last two years serving as the Student Activities Council Chair as well as Ambassador President my senior year. I will miss being able to make an impact in a place I truly love with all my heart.”

Barnett will go on to graduate school at Kent State University in Ohio.

The Sister Carolyn Herrmann Service Award is given to a traditional graduating senior who has given unselfishly of time, energy, loyalty and talent in the spirit of Sr. Carolyn Herrmann, who served as the University’s President from 1962-1970. Belleau, a senior Spanish Education major, has worked hard to serve everyone within, and outside, of Mercyhurst’s gates.

“I believe that the main contributions to this award come from my participation in many organizations throughout a variety of areas on campus,” said Belleau, who has served as an Ambassador, an Honors Council representative, the chair of Laker Leaders, a Carpe Diem retreat leader for Campus Ministry, a student representative of the Presidential Search Committee and the MSG President.

“One of my favorite Mercyhurst memories will always be taking my campus tour as a prospective student and finally feeling like I found exactly where I should be. I will dearly miss the Mercyhurst community, all of the unforgettable experiences that it brought me, and the lessons that it taught me, but I am confident that I will be able to embrace these values as I begin my life beyond our gates.”

The Mother Borgia Egan Honors Award recognizes the model honors student who fully embodies the spirit of a liberal arts education.

Wagner, a senior History major with minors in Political Science and Psychology, demonstrates this perfectly.

“My involvement in the Honors Program has primarily contributed toward my reception of this award, as it made me eligible,” said Wagner. “More specifically, I think I have demonstrated competence in the areas mentioned in the official description through my maintenance of a 4.0 GPA, my involvement as a member of and leader in several honor societies, and my willingness to present my work at a total of six conferences during my time here. My work is also currently pending publication in one journal, and I anticipate submitting to a second in the coming weeks.”

For all seniors, this is a bittersweet moment of reflecting on good times and saying goodbye.

“I think the biggest thing that I will miss about Mercyhurst are the professors. In many ways, they are one of the best parts of this university,” Wagner said.

If you see any of these individuals on campus, be sure to extend them a congratulations on receiving these prestigious awards.
Best of luck in your post-college years and remember, Hurst is, and will always be, Home.