The University of Mount Union wants you to know that it isn’t your typical small-town private college.
“I think it somehow manages to do something a lot of schools don’t do,” said President Dr. W. Richard Merriman Jr. “It maintains a family feeling. There’s intimacy. There’s a real strong sense of community. But its not rinky-dink. It’s a small institution but that doesn’t mean things get done in a cut-rate way.”
The university, located in the heart of Alliance, has grown from six students in a third-floor classroom in 1846 to a 132-acre campus (and 162-acre nature center) today.
Mount works to give students a strong grounding in liberal arts. The university’s Integrative Core curriculum—a series of courses taken over four years—is designed to give undergraduate students broad exposure to a wide range of classes and disciplines they wouldn’t otherwise explore.
The university balances that liberal arts background with curriculum that leaves students ready for a career or graduate degree, Merriman said.
Many of Mount’s students are first-generation college students whose families may struggle to afford college, he said. “It’s a pretty big deal to go to Mount Union, and (families) want to know there’s a job at the end of this.”
With that in mind, Mount has worked to keep tuition affordable and actively works to secure funding for scholarships and other forms of financial aid, Merriman said.
Someone who is worried about costs shouldn’t talk themselves out of an education at Mount, he said. “We can get it within reach of many, many families.”
“There are schools that can cater to wealthy people, that’s fine if they want to do that, but that’s not what we want to do,” he said. “We want to cater to all students.”
Mount has added several new programs that lead to high-demand careers, Merriman said.
In June, Mount announced a second degree accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program designed for adult learners who have a bachelors degree in another field and are seeking a career change.
Mount also expanded its engineering programs to include computer, electrical and biomedical engineering in addition to its existing mechanical and civil engineer degrees.
The programs are new additions to already strong programs, he said.
The University also is adding a program in risk management and insurance, in response to business demands in Ohio, he said.
Mount also has strong existing programs.
The university’s masters-level Physician Assistant Studies Program was ranked the top in Ohio by U.S. News & World Report.
It also received high marks in its recent re-accreditation, Merriman said. “That’s an outstanding program. … It has strong academic outcomes.”
Merriman also praised the university’s strong music, arts, humanities and science programs.
Mount’s theater program in particular is growing, with an emphasis on technical theater such as lighting and stage design, he said.
Mount also boasts stellar athletics, Merriman said.
He pointed to Mount’s “exceptional” football team and outdoor and indoor track and field teams. The men’s track and field team earned national titles at the 2018 NCAA Division III Championships in May and March.
Those wins brought the Purple Raiders to 17 overall national championship titles—13 in football, two in men’s outdoor track and field, and one each men’s cross country and men’s indoor track and field.
Being located in a small town means that students build their own social lives on campus, he said. Students fill their calendars with athletics, arts, music and theater—including annual summer Shakespeare performances at Glamorgan Castle.
“It makes a nice lively place to live and work,” he said.
“It’s really quite a school,” he added.
• Enrollment: 2,257 (undergrad and graduate)
• Six-year graduation rate: 62 percent
• Average time to obtain employment for the Class of 2017: 78 days.
• Graduate success rate: 93 percent for the Class of 2017 within the first six months after graduation (66.2 percent are working professionally and 31.4 percent are in graduate school*).
*The number adds up to more than 93 percent to account for those who are both working professionally and going to graduate school or taking part in continuing education at the same time.
Source: University of Mount Union