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Mount Mercy University

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Mount Mercy University

Mount Mercy University
Warde Hall
Established 1928
Type Private
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic
(Sisters of Mercy)
Endowment $23.6 million[1]
President Laurie Hamen
Students 1,824 (1,115 full-time)
Location Cedar Rapids, IA, USA
Campus Urban, 40 acres
Athletics NAIAMCC
Nickname Mustangs
Affiliations CMHE

Mount Mercy University is a four-year, co-educational Catholic liberal arts university located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States. The school was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1928.

Intellectual development and strong career preparation are the twin anchors of academic life at Mount Mercy University, an 85 year-old Catholic four-year co-educational University founded by the Sisters of Mercy. Students take a core of liberal arts courses providing a comprehensive foundation for many specific areas of study including: English, fine arts, history, mathematics, multicultural studies, natural science, philosophy, religious studies, social science and speech/drama. The University offers over 37 undergraduate majors in both liberal arts and professional programs, as well as four graduate programs.


Mount Mercy University's 40-acre campus is located in a tree-lined residential neighborhood in the heart of Cedar Rapids, Iowa (population 126,326).


Mount Mercy University was founded as a two-year college for women in 1928 by the Sisters of Mercy of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Sisters of Mercy, whose order was founded in 1831 by Catherine McAuley in Dublin, Ireland, have been active in Cedar Rapids since 1878. The college was an outgrowth of their concerns about the education of women.

In 1957, Mount Mercy became a four-year institution and awarded its first bachelor’s degree in 1959. The college received accreditation as a baccalaureate institution by the North Central Association in 1960. In 1968 the Sisters of Mercy transferred their legal authority and responsibility to a self-perpetuating independent board of which three members would always be Sisters of Mercy. Mount Mercy College became coeducational in 1969. While integrating a strong liberal arts component, the college has always emphasized professional development from its early involvement, as a junior college, on business courses and teacher education. The departments of nursing, education and social work were accredited in the 1960s and 1970s as the four-year programs developed. Begun in 1997, the Adult Accelerated program, a joint Mount Mercy University/Kirkwood Community College accelerated degree completion program for working adults meets an important community workforce development need.

On August 23, 2010 the institution officially re-designated as a University. The University continues under the spiritual and intellectual auspices of the Sisters of Mercy, whose commitment is to "serve human needs where they exist."


  • Sister Mary Ildephonse Holland, 1928–1933, 1946–1961
  • Sister Mary Cornelia Burke, 1933 to 1939
  • Sister Mary Maura Marron, 1939–1946
  • Sister Mary Agnes Hennessey, 1961–1977
  • Dr. Thomas R. Feld, 1977–1999
  • Dr. Robert Pearce, 1999–2006
  • Dr. Christopher R.L. Blake, 2006 – 2013

Dr. Laurie Hamen, 2014 -


Mount Mercy University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504; phone 800-621-7440), the Council on Social Work Education (1725 Duke Street, Suite 500, Alexandria, VA 22314-3457), The State Board of Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036). The college is approved by the Iowa Department of Education (Grimes State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319-0146) to offer programs leading to teacher certification in both elementary and secondary education and endorsements in several areas including early childhood education and multicategorical resource room teaching.

Mission and goals

As a Catholic university founded and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Mount Mercy University welcomes women and men of all beliefs. The university strives for excellence in accomplishing our mission through four interdependent goals:

  • Using reflective judgment
  • Engaging in strategic communication
  • Serving the common good
  • Promoting purposeful living.


  • 1,824 students; 1,115 full-time.
  • Average high school GPA is 3.44; 89 percent are in the top half of their class.
  • Ninety four percent of freshmen from Iowa; 6 percent from out of state, primarily in the Midwest.
  • One hundred percent of new full-time freshmen receive some form of institutionally funded financial aid; Over $7.8 million in institutional grants was awarded in 2010-2011.

Non-traditional programs

Mount Mercy offers nine accelerated degree programs for working adults. These include a degree completion program for RNs, and majors in accounting, business, applied management, finance, human resource management, management information systems and marketing through ADVANCE at Mount Mercy, a joint program with Kirkwood Community College. The University also offers a Masters in Business Administration, a Master of Arts in Education, Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Master of Science in Nursing.


The 65,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) Busse Library is a bright, plant-filled facility with over 100 computers and 130,000 volumes and over 11,000 eBooks. Online resources are available 24 hours a day to faculty, staff and students.


The Mount Mercy Times is the official newspaper of the university. It was founded in 1994 and now reaches over 4,000 readers in the Cedar Rapids Community on a weekly basis. Writers and editors have often received high honors from the ICMA (Iowa College Media Association) in categories such as best columnist, most original content and best web design. The Mount Mercy Times is presently housed in the basement of Busse Library.


Mount Mercy teams are known as the Mustangs. The university is a member of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the Midwest Collegiate Conference (MCC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.

Intramural activities include basketball, volleyball, golf, flag football, softball and cross country.


Of graduates over the past three years, 95 percent are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation, 53 percent remain in the Cedar Rapids metropolitan area and 91 percent remain in Iowa.

Community service

The Mount Mercy University Campus Ministry Center supports students of all faiths in their personal spiritual journeys through pastoral counseling, spiritual direction and ecumenical worship and fellowship. Catholic Mass and interdenominational services are held weekly. Additionally, Campus Ministry fosters an awareness of social justice and diversity issues through a number of programs and projects, featuring hands-on service in the Cedar Rapids area and beyond. Activities include mentoring high school students and immersion trips during which students work side-by-side with the poor in Appalachia, inner-city Chicago and Mexico. Traditionally a very caring community, members of the Mount Mercy family serve the local community through extensive volunteer involvement in nonprofit organizations.

Community and economic impact

  • Approximately $24 million operating budget
  • Local officials estimate an economic multiplier of 2.5, which translates into a local economic impact of $60 million.
  • Mount Mercy University graduates are an integral part of many essential eastern Iowa businesses, schools, hospitals and community service organizations.


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2010. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2009 to FY 2010" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Official athletics website

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