Students, faculty, staff, distinguished alumni and city officials filled the new plaza to hear special guest speakers and witness the official-ribbon cutting ceremony alongside ambassadors from the Chamber of Commerce.
"We are proud to dedicate the new University Center to the ongoing Mercy mission of education," said President Christopher Blake. "The University Center is a place where we will continue to build community, and send students out into the community."
Special guest speakers included Chairman of the Board of Trustees Charlie Rohde, Sr. Kathy Thornton representing the Sisters of Mercy and Alumni Association President Terry Schneekloth '91.
Rohde publically thanked President Blake for "leading a visionary promise that transforms Mount Mercy and facilitates and encourages life-long learning. We are not done yet," said Rohde. "This is a transformative place."
"The University Center is a landmark of Mount Mercy, but the symbolism is much greater," said Schneekloth, who graduated from Mount Mercy in 1991 with an education degree. "It is the perfect place to gather and meet – a great opportunity to bring all alumni, from all programs, together on campus."
Sr. Kathy Thornton urged the crowd to consider the calling that is upon the entire Mount Mercy community. "Our identity is steeped in one o the greatest attributes of God – Mercy," she said. "We are set apart, to take Mercy and compassion into the world."
The University Center was formally blessed by Board of Trustee member Rev. Msgr. Thomas E. Toale, Ph.D., Vicar General at the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
Unveiled for the first time during the ceremony, Mount Mercy announced the opportunity to sponsor a named paver on the new plaza. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Mount Mercy can purchase a paver and inscribe text to commemorate a loved one, special occasion or memory – which will stand forever in the plaza as a lasting tribute and legacy. For more information on paver opportunities, visit www.mtmercy.edu/pavers.
After the ceremony, guests were invited inside for refreshments and tours of the new 43,500-square-foot facility, which officially opened this fall and houses a new Commons, the dining center, the campus store, four conference rooms and numerous offices, including student life and student services, admissions and student engagement.