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Hurst Happenings

Katlyn & Hank’s Homecoming Engagement

engagementHomecoming 2016 was a fun-filled weekend- one of the major highlights was a pair of our alums getting engaged during the Saturday alumni baseball game! On their first alumni weekend together, back on Mercyhurst campus where it all began, Hank Morrison `16 asked Katlyn Heitzhaus `15 to marry him! The pair met when Hank was a freshman and Katlyn was a sophomore. Both were Laker athletes- Hank played on the baseball team and Katlyn played field hockey.

Surrounded by friends and family at the alumni game, Katlyn says “it was even more special that it happened here [at Mercyhurst] where it all began…Hank and I always looked forward to being back at school because we knew we’d see each other every day.” The pair is very thankful for their experience at Mercyhurst and it bringing them together, as well as all the people who were there to support them. Katlyn says “Mercyhurst will always hold a very special place in our hearts, and in our relationship as a whole!”

We wish Hank and Katlyn all the best!

Dan Altavilla, Future Bullpen Ace?

Article retrieved from:
By: Kate Preusser

Dan Altavilla, Future Bullpen Ace? – Lookout Landing

Dan Altavilla, Future Bullpen Ace? – Lookout Landing

n 2014, the Mariners drafted Dan Altavilla in the fifth round out of tiny Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA. No one paid a lot of attention to this pick. The only reason I paid attention to this is my mom is a Mercyhurst alum, from the days back when the school was a single-sex institution (she majored in Home Ec and lived in the Home Ec house, where there was an actual baby from a local orphanage who the students took turns taking care of—the 60s, man). It turns out Mercyhurst, a Division II school, has produced a few major leaguers (John Costello, David Lee, David Lough) along with Altavilla, who became the school’s highest draft pick ever when the Mariners took him 141st overall.

Altavilla has a list of pitching accolades dating back to high school that’s about as long as my arm; most significantly, he was named the ABCA/Rawlings National Pitcher of the Year in 2014. After initially struggling his sophomore year after being shifted into the rotation from the bullpen, Altavilla rebounded his junior year to strike out a school record 129 batters in 80.1 innings. Altavilla isn’t the tallest guy—he’s listed at 5’11”, which seems generous—but he’s got a big, broad chest and is incredibly muscular. I’ve seen the word “stocky” thrown around in scouting reports but that sort of undersells how chiseled Altavilla is. I mean, it takes a lot to be able to stand next to Tyler O’Neill, Mr. Canada Jr. himself, and hold your own …

Click the link above to read the full story!

Welcome, Nick Cianci `14

Nick Cianci joiCianciNick_webned Mercyhurst as director of athletic development on June 6.

Nick is a native of Greenville, Pennsylvania, and a 2014 Mercyhurst University graduate. He earned dual bachelor of arts degrees, graduating magna cum laude, and was a finalist for the “Outstanding Senior Award” in the School of Social Sciences.

He will complete a master’s degree in educational leadership from Edinboro University in August 2016. While a student at Mercyhurst, Nick was a member of the baseball team. He also co-founded nationally recognized Mercyhurst Youth Retreats and Catholic Leadership Education (MYRACLE), and served with programs such as the Bayfront Maritime Center, Carpe Diem Academy and Harborcreek Youth Services.

Before returning to Mercyhurst, Nick worked as director of enrollment for the Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. He is eager to join the talented staff in the Office of Institutional Advancement, and contribute to the work of the university.


Welcome, Nick!

50 Years of Class – Reunion Weekend by Judy Emling `66

Picture1Reflecting on my 50th Class reunion, I want to re-live it.  The events were flawlessly executed; the weather was perfect, and the renewed friendships…PRICELESS. The variety of activities left me speechless.


One of the highlights for me was the Golden Diploma Ceremony (video below), a formal presentation and slide show held in the Little Theatre. President Victor spoke about events on Campus in the ‘60s and included a personal quip about each of us. Our senior class photos “magically” appeared on screen as we received our Golden Diploma and a yellow rose.


I want to thank the Mercyhurst Team for providing the opportunity to “come home again.”  New President, new direction! I am looking forward to becoming a Torch Bearer in 2017


-Judy Emling `66


IMG_1878 (2)“It runs in the family” is a saying that rings very true for the Klobuchars: all three siblings are current or former Mercyhurst Lakers! Drew Klobuchar`14 and Sarah Klobuchar`16 were both social work majors. Rebecca Klobuchar will begin her studies this Fall, however, she will not be following her older brother and sister in her major choice. Instead, Rebecca will be pursuing an Intelligence Studies degree.

When asked how he felt about his sisters both attending Mercyhurst, Drew was not at a loss of words- ” I feel thrilled…like a self-starter comparing myself to Steve Jobs…overly protective, and very honored”. Drew is also quite certain the Klobuchar family holds the title of #1 chicken quesadilla customers at the Laker, as well as Rhonda’s favorite Mercyhurst family.

Welcome New Mercyhurst Alumni!

Graduates and guests joined faculty, alumni relations staff, and fellow classmates on Friday in celebration of graduation and becoming part of the Mercyhurst University National Alumni Association! Food, drinks, memories, and laughs were shared. As new members of the alumni association, graduates were presented with alumni pins and encouraged to stay in touch with their Alma Mater- alumni events happen throughout the country! Congratulations again to the Mercyhurst Class of 2016, Carpe Diem!

new onepinned


HUMANS OF MERCYHURST: Alex Vinesky`14 & Kaleigh Hubert`13

MU Homecoming 2015The roof of Old Main, Habitat for Humanity, Molly Brannigans, and the chapel: Alex and Kaleigh are a true Mercyhurst love story! Alex describes, in his own words, how Mercyhurst brought he and Kaleigh together:

“Kaleigh and I both signed up to help with the House that ‘Hurst Built in August 2012, a school-wide Habitat for Humanity project. When we arrived, the site manager asked the group who wanted to work on what part of the house, and the two of us volunteered to help put up the roof. While we worked, I noticed that Kaleigh was struggling to move her ladder and offered to help – that’s how it all started.

After getting to know each other for a few months, I asked Kaleigh to be my girlfriend on the roof of Old Main (before they started locking it). We went on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Tupelo, MS in February – I signed up before we even started dating. When Kaleigh graduated in May 2013, we dated long distance for a little over two and a half years. Kaleigh moved to Buffalo for Physician Assistant school, and I moved home to Cleveland to work after I graduated in 2014. During that time, we would see each other briefly for a few days in either Erie, Buffalo, or Cleveland. The situation was not ideal, but we certainly made the most of it!

In November 2015, I got a job in Erie and moved back. I had been saving for an engagement ring for over a year, and now that we were reunited again, I knew it was the right time to ask her to marry me. When my plans to propose on the roof of Old Main fell through, I had another idea in mind. The last Friday in January, I showed up at her house with a dozen roses, and we went out to dinner at Molly Brannigans, where we had our first date. Little did she know that I had her engagement ring in my pocket the entire night.

After dinner, we made a special stop at the now-completed Habitat for Humanity house where we first met. I had asked the owner, Rosemary, for permission to propose there the day before, and she couldn’t have been more excited. When we arrived, I first asked Kaleigh to help me get something out of my trunk – a ladder. We walked over to the house, and I encouraged her to get on the roof. However, when we realized the ladder was too short, I adjusted my plans. I got down on one knee and proposed in the exact spot where it all started – she said yes!

Our four years at Mercyhurst were some of the best years of our lives. There are too many memories to count, and we both met lifelong friends and the love of our lives. We are getting married at the Mercyhurst chapel on September 16, 2017, and couldn’t be happier that our love story started here at the Hurst.”

Engagement imageValentine's Day 2016-. (1)

Catholic Charities Ball

Mercyhurst University will be well-represented this year at the annual Catholic Charities Ball on May 6 at the Bayfront Convention Center.


Employees Rick Gotkin (Men’s Hockey Coach), Holly Hebebrand (Donor Relations Coordinator), and Tyler Peterseim (senior Human Resources major) will be celebrity dancers!

Best of luck to Rick, Holly, and Tyler!



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