Merrimack College was established in 1947 by Father Vincent McQuade as a one-building school to educate soldiers coming home from World War II. Seventy-five years later, in 2022, the campus now has 40 buildings covering 220 acres. And it’s not done growing yet.
Around 200 alumni, staff, faculty, donors, and Board of Trustees members gathered on Nov. 4 at the newly renovated Collegiate Church of Christ the Teacher to mark the culmination of the College’s 75th-anniversary celebration “Because We Believe.”
“The past 75 years show us that persistence, fidelity to mission, a belief in something greater than ourselves, love, care, and compassion, are all hallmarks of the Merrimack story,” said Merrimack College President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D. “It is incumbent on all of us to ensure that whatever Merrimack’s future is, we take advantage of the opportunities in front of us, we overcome the obstacles that could stop us and we are bold in our pursuits to make Merrimack a positive and forward-thinking influence on the people we educate, the faculty and staff we support, and the communities we impact.“
In the spirit of honoring Merrimack’s past and future, the highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Merrimack College Saint Augustine Medal to Father Raymond Dlugos, O.S.A., vice president of mission and ministry. The medal will be presented annually to a member of the Merrimack community who best exemplifies the values and mission of Saint Augustine.
“He is a dear friend,” Hopey said of Dlugos before presenting him the award. “A priest, our campus prior, our most vocal cheerleader, a counselor to all, a mentor to many, and someone we all love…There is absolutely no one in this community more deserving of this honor than Father Ray.”
At the beginning of the evening, guests got a sneak peek of the nearly complete Student Union, including the new six-lane bowling alley, esports room, golf simulator, and Monica’s Kitchen dining area. Work is still underway in both the church and Student Union and a week-long opening celebration for the entire Merrimack community will kick off Jan. 17.
At the start of the ceremony, Dlugos led guests in the Prayer of the 75th Anniversary of Merrimack College, and also offered a blessing of the space.
“Because we believe that in You is found the fullness of light, love and power, continue to enlighten minds, engage hearts and empower lives through the love and work of the Merrimack College for generations to come,” the prayer read in part.
Following the prayer, Annie Santerre ’23 sang a solo rendition of Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” and the Merrimack College Chamber Choir performed “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree.”
The Merrimack College Board of Trustees Chairman Jack Boyce ’81 closed out the ceremony.
“You believed in a vision of growth, impact and mission that has evolved over the past seven and half decades,” he told the crowd. “Growth, impact and mission–the strategic directions of the Agenda for the Future–will be the guiding forces of Merrimack’s upward trajectory over the next 75 years and beyond.”