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Gwynedd Mercy College Earns University Status

Gwynedd-Mercy College President, Kathleen Owens, PhD, announced that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has accepted the institution’s application and has confirmed the achievement of university status. The College officially changed its name on September 11, 2013 to Gwynedd Mercy University.   

“This historic moment prompts time for reflection upon the legacy provided for us by our founding sponsors, the Sisters of Mercy,” Dr. Owens said. “As entrepreneurs and leaders, they have envisioned and actualized the transition from junior college to four-year college, to master’s degree institution, and finally to university status.”

“This institution has been changing from the time it came into existence in order to respond to the needs of the time which is a particular hallmark of Mercy,” Catherine McMahon, RSM, Special Assistant to the President/Mission and Planning, said. “It's responding to the needs of our world today - the students that will be coming to us, and the kinds of educational experiences they will need to have when they go out into the workforce of the next generation.”

The change in status will allow Gwynedd Mercy University to add new degree programs for both traditional and adult students at four locations throughout the Philadelphia region. Among the first of these new programs is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, which will become the University’s first doctoral program. 

University status will help give current and future students a clear and definite path of study that can lead them from baccalaureate through masters and in some cases to doctoral studies. Dr. Frank Scully, Vice President for Academic Affairs, notes the tremendous advantages that becoming a university has for students.  In particular, he cites, “the transformation that was made and the promise of what our students will experience next.”

In the past five years, Gwynedd Mercy University has awarded 3,757 degrees. Of that total, 2,973 are undergraduate degrees and 784 are Master’s degrees. University status will increase the visibility of the University to prospective students and allow the institution to expand its program opportunities. 

“Becoming a university will enable us to find our place in the global market,” said Dr. Cheryl Horsey, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services.  “I think that it certainly helps us to be more attractive to international students and to position ourselves in the region as a premier institution that has wonderful health and science programs.” 

Gwynedd Mercy University takes pride in preparing students not only for graduation but also for meaningful careers and lives by developing habits of critical thinking and problem solving skills. There are also ample opportunities for student involvement in leadership and service.

On the campus, students are buzzing with excitement and curious to see what the newly appointed status will bring to the University. Alysia Torres, President of the Student Government Association, is looking forward to the increasing academic reputation of Gwynedd Mercy University and building on a proud tradition.

“Gwynedd Mercy University has done so much to help me grow as a person. Between the people, the curriculum, and the all-around atmosphere, I love being a student here,” Torres said. “Becoming a university will benefit the Gwynedd Mercy community and the future by strengthening school pride and by growing alongside of us.”

Ashlei Miller, Vice President of the Student Government Association, has always prided herself in being a student at Gwynedd Mercy and believes the change to a university will help appeal to a wide margin of prospective students and will strengthen the weight of her degree.  

"I've always been extremely happy about being a GMC student but now being a Distinctive Mercy Graduate will be even more exciting this year since I will be a part of the first graduating class from Gwynedd Mercy University," Miller said. 

“The change of status is an historic moment for Gwynedd Mercy University, which was built on the shoulders of its past and current faculty, staff, donors and Board of Trustees who have given time, money and energy into making the University the best possible place for students,” said Nancy Dunleavy, President of Dunleavy & Associates, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, and Chair of the Gwynedd Mercy University Board of Trustees.

“Our path to this day was made possible by an outstanding Board of Trustees. This has been a long and fruitful journey reflecting the outstanding work of so many dedicated colleagues,” Dr. Owens said. Gwynedd Mercy University is now aligned with other Mercy-sponsored universities in Pennsylvania who have recently moved to University status, including Carlow University, Misericordia University and Mercyhurst University.