Commencement 2017

Mount Mercy University celebrates 550 students at Commencement 2017 (more…)

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Mount Mercy University’s two highest awards for graduates were presented during the 2017 commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 21, at the U.S. Cellular Center. Bianca Kesselring, a human resource management and management major originally from Cedar Rapids, received the Mary Catherine McAuley Award. This is the highest honor given to a student who has attended Mount Mercy for four years. Capria Davis, a communications major originally from Cedar Rapids, received the Mary Frances Warde Award, the highest honor given to a student who transferred to Mount Mercy.

Gabriel Acosta received the prestigious President’s Award during Honors Convocation on Friday, May 19. The President’s Award is bestowed in recognition of outstanding perseverance and diligence in pursuing goals.

President Hamen bestowed Emeritus status on faculty members Ron Feldt, Kathryn Coulter, and Charlotte Martin.

Nearly 600 students graduated from Mount Mercy this spring, with 439 students completing undergraduate studies and 111 students completing graduate studies.

Bianca Kesselring, winner of the aforementioned Mary Catherine McAuley Award, was the student speaker.

See Also:

» Master's Hooding Ceremony
» Nursing Pinning Ceremony
» Commencement Reception


Mary Catherine McAuley Award

Bianca Kesselring received the Mary Catherine McAuley Award, which is presented to the graduate who, in addition to a high scholastic ranking of a 3.0 or above, has exemplified to a marked degree cooperation with administration, faculty and students; integrity in his/her personal relationships; and leadership and loyalty in furthering the ideals of Mount Mercy. The award is named for Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831.

Bianca is a native of Cedar Rapids, the daughter of Dan and Stacie Kesselring. While at Mount Mercy, Kesselring was especially active on campus. She held work-study positions in Busse Library and in the Office of Admissions, was a Student Ambassador and Orientation Leader, and took on the role of Orientation Intern her senior year. Kesselring was also President of Students in Human Resource Management, active in the Honors Program, wrote for the Mount Mercy Times, and sang in the University Choir.

Off campus, she was a lunch room volunteer at St. Jude Elementary School, worked as a hostess and server at Cottage Grove Place for nearly six years, and could be found waitressing at Vito’s on Saturday nights.

Recently, Kesselring was welcomed to the MMU staff as campus visit coordinator. A critical role in the Office of Admissions, Kesselring is the first point of contact for many campus guests. She is responsible for providing hospitality and ensuring an exceptional experience for prospective students and their families during campus visits.
 

Mary Frances Warde Award

Capria Davis received the Mary Frances Warde Award, the highest honor given to a student who transferred into Mount Mercy and has acquired a minimum of 30 credit hours at the university. The award is conferred upon the graduate who, in addition to a high scholastic rating (3.0 or above), has exemplified to a marked degree cooperation with administration, faculty, and students; integrating in his/her personal relationships; and leadership and loyalty in furthering the ideals of Mount Mercy. The award is named for Mary Frances Warde, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in America in 1843.

Capria Davis is a native of Cedar Rapids and graduated with a degree in Multimedia Mass Communications. Davis’ list of accomplishments begins in the summer of 2009, when she attended The Academy for Scholastic and Personal Success on the MMU campus as a high school student.

Learning the skills needed to become a successful student from Mount Mercy board member Dr. Ruth White, Davis chose to begin leading a courageous life—volunteering for a long list of local organizations, including: the Best Buddies Peer Mentoring Program though Kennedy High School, the Boys and Girls Club, Brucemore Estate, Children of Promise Mentoring Program, HACAP, Freedom Festival, Kids Against Hunger, the Young Mentors Movement, and many more.

While on the Hill, Davis flourished. Also graduating with a minor in Spanish, she spent three weeks studying aboard in Guatemala, and again in Spain for two months. She was a member of the Mount Mercy Track & Field team for three years, as well as the women’s basketball team for one year. Davis was active in the Student Government Association, Spanish Club, International Club, and was a founding member of Mount Mercy’s Black Student Union.

Her carefully-laid path brought her to where she is now, waiting for an acceptance letter from the Peace Corps. If accepted, Davis will join the ranks of more than 220,000 other volunteers who have been called to serve. Afterwards, Davis plans to attend Graduate School for an MFA in mixed media—photography and graphic design—with the goal of becoming a family and sports photographer.

President’s Award

Gabriel Hernandez Acosta recieved the President's Award, given to a graduating student who has demonstrated, during their tenure at Mount Mercy University, a strong academic record, positive engagement in the campus community and service to others. This special award honors people in circumstances that illustrate the best in student tenacity, dedication, compassion and heart.

An active student on campus, Acosta used his graphic design and mathematics skills to support a variety of interests. He was president of Art Club and Math Club, as well as vice president of Improv Club. Acosta was also treasurer of Student Government Association, had a role on the Diversity Task Force, and was a work-study student for the Office of Marketing & Communications and Event Services.

In the community, Acosta is an outspoken supporter of undocumented immigrants. He has presented a collection of his art work focused on the plight of undocumented immigrants at MMU’s Janalyn Hanson White Gallery, Spring 2016 Scholarship Day, 2016 Fall Faculty Series, Summer 2016 LEAD Retreat, 2017 Spring International Club panel event, the History of Latin America class, and Mercy Hospital nursing class, as well as at the Monticello Public Library.

Recently, Acosta was hired by Mount Mercy as admissions counselor to work with high school students from the Chicago area, as well as Columbus Junction, Lone Tree, Marshalltown, Monticello, Muscatine, Perry, Tama, Washington and West Liberty.