An eastern Iowa school is the second in the state this month to change from a college to a university. Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids became Mount Mercy University Monday following in the footsteps of Clarke College in Dubuque, which became Clarke University. Mt. Mercy president, Christopher Blake, says it’s an effort to draw M-B-A and other grad students to the Catholic school that has primarily been known as former women’s college with a good nursing program.
“There is a challenge there for us and part of our marketing strategy will be to make sure that people do understand, but when I travel around the country people know Mt. Mercy graduates in their places of work, and they certainly know that while our nursing program is wonderful, that we also produce students of many different professional skills,” Blake says, “So if I can get that message out, I believe over time we will be understood to be a university where we certainly once were a women’s college many decades ago but we have a much bigger brief now.”
Blake says the change comes at a time when more adults are returning to school for degrees in fields such as nursing, education, and counseling. “We’ve living in a fast-changing, globally connected world. Our lives and our economy is connected to others around the world, and so today’s 21st century student, who may have more than one career, they may have two or three careers in their working life, they need to have the qualifications to become leaders to know how to contribute to the lives of the community and the economy, and so Mt. Mercy’s ready for that,” Blake says.
The student body of 1,600 now includes 200 graduate students in education, business and counseling programs. A nursing program is on the way.