Founding members of the newly established donor recognition program, the 1899 Society, raises historic $1.2 million to advance Mercy College of Health Sciences’ mission of transforming students into successful health care professionals.

The 1899 Society publicly launched on Friday, April 14, 2023 during the inauguration of Dr. Adreain Henry, Mercy College’s fourth president. Joyce and Terry Lillis made the lead gift of more than $250,000, the largest gift in the College’s history, to form this society. The Lillis’ also support several Mercy College nursing students every year through the Joyce E. Lillis Endowed Nursing Scholarship.

“Joyce and Terry are truly two of the kindest, most generous individuals you will ever meet,” said Dr. Henry. “They have always responded to God’s call to support Mercy College and have truly made a difference in so many students’ lives.”

The Lillis’ and 22 other individuals make up the Founding Members of the 1899 Society.

“This historic $1.2 million was raised in a short period of three months in honor of Dr. Henry’s inauguration,” said Shannon Cofield, president of the MercyOne Des Moines Foundation. “What these individuals have done is nothing short of spectacular. I am grateful for their generosity and support of our future health care professionals.”

In 1899, the Sisters of Mercy laid the foundation for Mercy College when they established the Mercy Hospital Training School to meet the growing demands for professionally trained nurses. Populations and needs have changed over the years, as have the modes of healthcare delivery. The 1899 Society extends this legacy by delivering education built on the Core Values of Knowledge, Reverence, Integrity, Compassion, and Excellence.

The funds raised through the 1899 Society will benefit Mercy College students and the campus community by supporting facility improvements as part of a master campus plan currently under development.

“Students need inspirational facilities,” said Dr. Henry. “Mercy College provides excellent education, but these students need space and state of the art equipment to hone their skills as healthcare professionals. Gifts donated through the 1899 Society allow us to improve our facilities and invest in truly modern, innovative technology to prepare our students for graduation and successful careers.”

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About MercyOne
MercyOne is a connected system of health care facilities and services dedicated to helping people and communities live their best life. MercyOne’s care providers and staff make health the highest priority. The system’s clinics, medical centers, hospitals and affiliates are located throughout the state of Iowa and beyond. Headquartered in central Iowa, MercyOne was founded in 1998 through a collaboration between CommonSpirit Health and Trinity Health – two of the country’s foremost, not-for-profit Catholic health organizations.

About Mercy College of Health Sciences
Mercy College of Health Sciences is a health sciences specialty school rooted in the Catholic heritage of the Sisters of Mercy. Located in the heart of downtown Des Moines, Iowa, Mercy College offers master’sbachelor’s, and associate degreescertificates, and continuing education courses. Through our unique hands-on learning, unparalleled clinical rotations, and accelerated education offerings, our students are prepared to enter the workforce quickly with the critical skills necessary to make an immediate impact in their chosen healthcare careers. Guided by our Core Values of Knowledge, Reverence, Integrity, Compassion, and Excellence, Mercy College has been transforming students into successful healthcare professionals for over 120 years.