Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, was committed to serving underprivileged women with compassion — to provide shelter, education, health care and work — aptly described as meeting the needs of her time. Catherine’s aim was visionary, eager to change the world. At her House of Mercy on Baggot Street, she and her coworkers used every resource at their disposal, and restructured life in their Dublin neighborhood with compassion and determination. Her work did, indeed, change the world.
Mount Mercy University, one of her Sisters’ eventual ministries, was built on educational principles to meet our deepest ongoing human needs. As one of our resident philosophers said, “Our beginning point is to appreciate beauty and order; to value our history and context; to immerse ourselves in community; to reflect on our true purpose; to think deeply and critically; to be formed in virtue, justice and wisdom; to value the treasure of the natural world; to see truth; to advance the common good." Not only do we meet these perennial human needs through an excellent education, but we rise to meet the needs of our time as Catherine did, addressing its specific social, technological, environmental, and political challenges and opportunities.
Higher education is changing rapidly and is far from life in 19th century Dublin or Mount Mercy’s founding nearly 90 years ago. Disruption of higher education is inevitable. Discourse is difficult. The contours of university life in 2020 seem uncertain. We know that our enduring student outcomes of analytical depth, expert communication, purposeful lives, and a commitment to compassion and the common good have never been more important.
Throughout our collaborative strategic planning process - during which we have sought always to listen to the broadest spectrum of student, faculty, and staff voices - the following guiding themes continued to resonate. Our vision for Mount Mercy University, as a thriving Catholic and Mercy institution, is to leverage academic excellence and engage all in our compelling story. Those with whom we engage will view Mount Mercy as a great place to learn, live and work.
Our planning year brought us to an interesting conclusion, meeting the needs of our time is both our history and our future. I am grateful for the privilege of undertaking this ambitious plan with each of you.