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Sep 12, 2013 02:42 AM EDT

Gwynedd-Mercy College Deemed a University

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Students at Gwynedd-Mercy College have a lot of reasons to celebrate.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has accepted the school's proposal to acquire university status. With the official name change, the Gwynedd Mercy University will also bring in fresh changes to its curriculum, including the addition of new degree programs for its students at each of the school's four locations.

 "This historic moment prompts time for reflection upon the legacy provided for us by our founding sponsors, the Sisters of Mercy," said Gwynedd-Mercy College President Kathleen Owens. "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."

Among the various degree programs planned, the officials are planning to first launch the Doctor of Nursing Practice, its first doctoral program.

"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."

Along with replacing the word 'College' with 'University', the authorities have also removed the hyphen that existed between Gwynedd-Mercy. Owen said that removing the hyphen gave more space for the word to emphasize itself.

According to Montgomery News, the first word 'Gwynedd' describes the area and the word 'Mercy' refers to the Sisters of Mercy who helped found the university in 1861.

"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," said Catherine McMahon, special assistant to the president of mission and planning. "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 work force of the next generation."

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