GMercyU Traditions

GMercyU traditions remind us of our Mercy identity, celebrate our culture, and create lasting memories for Griffins forever. 


Academic Convocation

Academic Convocation is a formal academic ceremony that welcomes first year and new transfer students to the University. It brings together administrators, faculty, and students to commemorate the start of the academic year.


Ribbon Tradition

Held during New Student Orientation at the Bell Tower, this tradition celebrates students' journeys that brought them to GMercyU. First, they learn of the Sisters of Mercy arrival from Ireland in Philadelphia on a hot August day in 1861. (August 22, 1861 to be exact.) There were only 10 Sisters, led by Mother Patricia Waldron, that ranged in age from 16-27. They were happy and hopeful with only a dream for Mercy.

Just as new students might be experiencing apprehension starting their college journeys, the Sisters may have felt similarly in a new city and country all those years ago. However, they had faith knowing they were exactly where they were supposed to be.
As you begin your time as a GMercyU student, have faith, just like those early Sisters did, that you are indeed right where you are supposed to be — at GMercyU, following your path. Students tie ribbons to show their commitment to their mission of being Mercy students.


New Student Orientation Service Project

First-year students participate in a hands-on service project reflecting the core values of GMercyU. Although they receive an introduction to Catherine McAuley and the University's Mercy heritage during Orientation, engaging in service allows new students to see Mercy in action and provides a unique preview to the Distinctive Mercy Experience ahead. Serving together adds fun and meaning to the event.


Mercy Week

On Sept. 24, 1827, in Dublin, Ireland, Catherine McAuley founded a home to shelter and educate young girls. This house would be the foundation for the Sisters of Mercy — and 17 U.S. colleges and universities, including ours. Each September, we celebrate this heritage during Mercy Week, which features a variety of educational and service-related programming that brings our campus community together, from inspirational films and engaging lectures to shared meals and lively discussions. Finally, the GMercyU community commemorates the founding of the House of Mercy by celebrating a special “Mercy Mass” on September 24.


Fall Fest

Fall Fest is Student Government Association (SGA)’s biggest event of the year. This large, outdoor festival takes place in September to greet the autumn season and welcomes the families of past and present Griffins. It's an opportunity for students to mingle and participate in fun activities with students, alumni, faculty, friends, and neighbors.

Griffin Madness

Griffin Madness

Griffin Madness is an inclusive pep rally for students, faculty, staff, and all of the GMercyU community to kick-off the winter sports season. Through collaboration with departments and offices across campus, Griffin Madness is a memorable night for all. This experience is an opportunity for all for the campus community to take pride in being a Griffin. For the holiday season, SGA partners with Catherine’s Cupboard for our annual canned food drive.


Community Thanksgiving Dinner

GMercyU's Community Thanksgiving Dinner is a tradition that allows faculty, staff and students the opportunity to join together, pause to give thanks and praise, and enjoy a meal with new friends and family. This is a free meal for the campus community sponsored by Griffin Dining.


Finals Breakfast

Finals Breakfast is held every December to bring together students, faculty, and staff for a late-night breakfast in Waldron Care before the fall semester comes to a close. The breakfast is held late at night and includes all types of breakfast foods. Hundreds of students are served and welcomed by their favorite faculty and staff members at the University. In addition, prizes are given out, ranging from study snack packs to fitness watches to iPads.


Christmas Tree Lighting

The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony kicks off the holiday season in front of Assumption Hall. The tree lighting honors our University’s roots while representing other faiths. Students, alumni, faculty, staff, and members of the greater GMercyU Community are invited to partake in the festivities. Enjoy the sounds of the season with performances from the members of the Voices of Gwynedd who lead the crowd in a sing-a-long, the Dance Team, and Cheerleading Team. Prior to the tree lighting, guests can enjoy holiday sweets and hot cocoa as well as various activities outside, including ornament making, a photobooth, and s'mores.

Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night

Take Back The Night is an international event with the mission of ending sexual, relationship, and domestic violence in all forms. Every year, the GMercyU community comes together as a part of this mission, creating a platform for voices to be heard, pain to be recognized, and courage to be acknowledged. Through this event we are living out the traditions of Mercy and embracing our core values of Integrity in Word and Deed, Respect for the Dignity of Each Person, Service to Society, Social Justice in a Diverse World.*

*With a special focus on the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: Earth, Immigration, Anti-Racism, Non-Violence, Women


Student Appreciation Week

Student Appreciation Day, recently expanded to an entire week, is hosted by the Student Government Association each spring and shows appreciation to the student body for all of the hard work they do throughout the year. During the week, students students enjoy free coffee and food trucks, activities and games, and fun giveaways.

Graduation Photos on Campus

#GMercyUGrad Photos

Each year, GMercyU Graduates take photos in their caps and gowns at some of the most iconic spots on campus such as the Welcome Wall, Bell Tower, Assumption Hall, and Lady Garden. Be sure to tag us on social media and we may repost you!


Honors Convocation

Honors Convocation is a formal academic event that recognizes students that have earned program honors, special awards, and induction into academic Honor Societies.



Commencement is a formal ceremony that celebrates the conferral of academic degrees to graduating students. This traditional ceremony dates back to the 12th century in Europe and the 17th century in the United States.