Mercy College Hosts COVID Remembrance Ceremony for Students and Staff

Mercy College Hosts COVID Remembrance Ceremony for Students and Staff

A COVID-19 remembrance ceremony was held by Mercy College to mark the one-year anniversary of the impact that the deadly pandemic had on the Mercy community. This hour-long virtual session took place on March 11 with staff and students in full attendance for this moment of reflection. This webinar was hosted by adjunct Associate Professor at Mercy College, Edie Magnus.

As the panel was putting the ceremony together, she kept thinking about that wonderful Ram Dass quote. Dass is an eastern spiritualist. 

“We are all just walking each other home,” says the quote. 

“I love the feeling of that quote and the hope of it,” Magnus said.  “I realize that events in our world have amply demonstrated that this is not always the case but tonight, as a College Community, we wanted to take the opportunity to walk each other home and acknowledge what we have been through with COVID-19 collectively and individually. We have been through this pandemic physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially and that is especially true for our students.”

Magnus went on to elaborate that the faculty and staff at Mercy College remain concerned about the wellbeing of students during this time.

“I don’t know how many students are with us tonight, but I just wanted to say that your college is very much worried and focused on your welfare and we are doing it every day so tonight, we walk each other home.”

President of Mercy College, Tim Hall, joined in to reflect on the impact of the coronavirus on him and his immediate family.

“Scarcely any of us have escaped the year without suffering loss at the hands of COVID-19. I have held me wife as she mourned the death of her eldest brother, but I was unable to hold my mother when my stepfather died from an unrelated illness this year because the pandemic prevented me from traveling to see her. I have waited anxiously for news of Mercy College students who were hospitalized because of the virus and the news has not always been good,” Hall stated. “Most of you have experienced something similar. You have tasted grief, or you have personally experienced the pain of sickness. I wish each of you comfort as you process the many ways large and small that our worlds have changed over the past year.”

Hall emphasized that while the pandemic has been overwhelmingly negative, there was a silver lining in the experience for the Mercy family.

“While this has been one of the most challenging periods in many of our lives, it has also included bright moments of encouragement and thankfulness. I think of faculty and staff who have risen to the occasion creating innovative ways to connect with students both academically and personally. They worked tirelessly so that our student’s education is not interrupted, and that their social and emotional needs were met in this new virtual environment.”

Hall also acknowledged the positive role that the college community played in facilitating the needs of others during the pandemic, “I have gained a new level of respect for our faculty, staff and alumni who are also frontline workers. Their commitment to serving others during this time has continued to impress and encourage me.”

Kevin Joyce, vice president of the Student Affairs at Mercy College, echoed Hall’s sentiments regarding the positive response of the Mercy community during the pandemic.

“Recently, I took the opportunity to look back at the emails sent, emails received, meeting agendas and notes taken during this very week one year ago and I was taken by the pace at which our external environment was evolving but more so by the response our team was quickly pushing forward. Collaboration, communication and community were key to our work,” Joyce said. “We came together to care for one another. We stretched ourselves and our resources to respond to the needs of our students because our students are why we are here and the community that we have built together with one another is why we are here.”

Joyce continued by expressing empathy for members of the Mercy community who have been impacted by the pandemic.

“I reflect on our response to this global challenge with great humility. I acknowledge the pain and suffering so many have experienced and are experiencing to this day. I am saddened at the collegiate careers interrupted for so many of our students. I am heartbroken by the quiet suffering of many but heartened and feeling blessed for the strength exhibited by our Mercy community in living our mission.”