From the archives: what the duck?


Hannah Brooks, Features Editor

Imagine waking up in the morning and heading to your classes, just to be faced with an interruption. Can you imagine what that may be? A slow walker or some sort of obstruction on the walkways? Perhaps a gigantic, larger-than-life duck? While this may seem like something out of a fever dream, this was a reality for Hurst students in November of 2012, as referenced from the Nov. 7, 2012 edition of the Merciad. 

Now, understandably, you may have many questions about this. First of all, how did such a large duck appear on campus? Why was it there? Who had this idea? Was it some sort of prank? All of these are understandable questions. The duck appeared as a part of a rotating art display that was on-going under previous administration, according to Michelle Scully, campus minister. 

“The school used to have a rotating art display on loan throughout the hallway in Old Main on the first floor where the archive photos now hang,” said Scully. “There used to be arts of all sorts there, and some of it got pretty weird – there was once a sculpture made of pool noodles hanging from the ceiling in Old Main.” 

Being that the larger than life-sized duck obviously was not going to fit in the hallways of Old Main, the concept required those involved to think bigger – the home for the duck became the lawn out in front of Old Main, according to Michelle Scully. She added that the duck also had wheels and a rope attached and was not just a sculpture set to stay in one place. 

“Oftentimes, especially on weekends, there were times that the duck would mysteriously be moved by students and end up in many locations,” said Scully. “While it was often outside of Old Main, it sometimes rested outside of the grotto as well as many other locations on campus. It ‘journeyed’ around.” 

The reason why the duck was created in the first place is even more interesting than its life at Mercyhurst – it was a concept created by Erie artists David Seitzinger and Gary Cacchione as part of their 2012 “Giant Quacker” project. As part of this project, a number of large ducks including Mercyhurst’s duck were entered into the 2013 ArtPrize competition. The contest drew in 1,524 entries from artists all across the world, in which similar displays such as this one were made and placed in various areas around the world. Though ‘Quackers’ did not win, the display finished in the top 50 for the contest. Additionally, the creators of the project still work in Erie and create art to this day at Dovetail Gallery. 

Though ‘Quackers’ has left campus long ago, the mark of the duck has still been made and brought joy and excitement to students and faculty alike during its time spent on Mercyhurst’s campus. The idea, concept and all that comes with ‘the duck’ are interesting and different. 

“It was definitely one of the funnier things that has happened at Mercyhurst in the past decade,” said Scully. 

Though you will not see a large duck in front of Old Main today, for more information as well as photos of the duck and the project itself, more information is available at