The Turn of Our Century: Misericordia Gears up to Celebrate 100 Years

Misericordia’s Arch, finished in 1932 (retrieved from @mu_archives on instagram)

Emma Blakiewicz, Multimedia Editor

Students, faculty and alumni will have plenty to look forward to for the upcoming year, as Misericordia University prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2024.

Founded by the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 15, 1924, the university has stood the test of time, first bearing the name of College Misericordia. Due to prohibitions in canon and state law, the Sisters acquired the help of attorneys and businessmen to haggle with the landowner to purchase property. 

Starting with what is known today as Mercy Hall, the building included a chapel, a dining hall, dorms and classrooms, and a small art studio. In the building’s cornerstone lies a lockbox, soon to be opened during centennial ceremonies.

Through trying times, Misericordia’s resilience was tested during the economic throes of the Great Depression and lacking workforce outside of the war industry during World War II. Walsh Hall was built in expansion of McAuley Hall, the first separate dorm building. In the wake of the post-war boom, Misericordia’s resilience paid off and the university expanded.

In the 1970s, the school became co-ed and, in 2007, College Misericordia acquired university status to become Misericordia University.

Famous alumni include Micheal Dunleavy, a Scranton native and the 12th governor of Alaska; David Kern, a Misericordia Hall of Famer and leader in wins and saves as a soccer goalie and a member of the Real Maryland Monarchs and the Baltimore Blast of the Major Indoor Soccer League; and Mary Joan Nielobuwicz, the only woman in the Navy Nurse Corps to earn the rank of Commodore, superior to Navy captain. 

Multiple professors have published studies of international significance and books that have advanced academia for the past 99 years.

The university has undergone a metamorphosis over the years. The mascot’s evolution into the Cougars was not always so, undergoing a period of time when Archie was not a cat but a dog, a small West Highland White Terrier named McGinty. Prominent events hallmark to the university are the Snow Ball, co-sponsored by Misericordia’s women’s college and King’s men’s college, mission trips to various new places, such as Guyana, and the construction of the iconic arch, which dates back to 1932.

Misericordia’s history of athletics stretches back to 1932, when the school introduced intramurals. It currently offers over 40 clubs and activities. 

Excitement is beginning to swell among the community as it awaits the contents of the lockbox, as well as ceremonial events on campus, which have not yet been formally established.