My Gannon Tapestry

Maggie McKernan '18, Physician Assistant Major

As graduation neared, I had prepared for the big day with an eye on the future. After a one-month reprieve, graduate school commences, my clinical rotations are in place and the final stretch toward achieving my title as a certified physician assistant, PA-C, has now begun.  

My recent to-do list has been peppered with preparation details, and helpful suggestions are being delivered to my mail as word gets out that this is the year! One solicitation caught my eye and stirred my imagination. It read something like, “Keep the school close to your heart with this unforgettable, wonderful, multi-color, layered, woven, campus university tapestry!” 

Maggie McKernan

“Tapestry,” I considered, “Interesting…” Tapestry is a word often used to describe an intricate or complex combination of things or sequence of events. In sharing my reflections on my years and experiences here on Gannon University’s campus, I realize I’ve been weaving a tapestry of my own that is both intricate and complex. Weaving together pieces of me with pieces of Gannon presented me with every opportunity to build my story, create my future and become my best self. My tapestry is unique, rich, colorful, multilayered and with threads both intentionally selected and surprisingly furnished– all intertwined to create strength, depth and texture.

Contemplating, I realize that some of my parting advice to those about to embark on this journey is that a university is truly what you make of it. Each will create his or her own tapestry, both similar and dissimilar to the next. Where do your interests lie? Whatever they are, the Gannon family will welcome you with open arms. Choose your academic focus, go to class and learn. These are the obvious goals of a university education. Your academic focus will lend the variation of blues to your tapestry, symbolizing wisdom, intelligence, trust and stability. At Gannon there is so much more. 

Gannon’s Catholic roots shine through in its Mission and everything it stands for. Find your faith here, have interfaith dialogues here, or just come to listen. Gannon welcomes all!  

Getting engaged on campus is easy, thanks to events like Preview GU, the activities fair and Resident Assistants (RA) who want to see you discovering all campus has to offer. We want you in our Gannon Family. I personally loved being an RA. The impact of relationships created in that role for me are the threads of gold woven throughout my tapestry. 

Do you want to travel? Are you passionate about service? If you can dream it, Gannon has it. I flew to Florida, Hawaii and Washington DC to serve others in leadership activities and to reap the reward of personal growth and an expanded worldview. These experiences wove the colors of the rainbow throughout my tapestry.  


View more insights about Gannon from our newest graduates after the May 2018 Commencement Ceremony.

You can join established clubs. I personally loved volleyball, Tri-beta and the honors program. Or you can create your own! In my first year I helped coordinate the new honors housing wing. Rich hues of warm reds and maroon became the background colors as I became part of Gannon, and Gannon became a part of me. 

Are you hungry to work? There are work study opportunities in almost any department on campus. I worked in the ITS department, the biology department and the wellness department. My work experiences brought yellow to my tapestry with satisfaction, intellect and energy as I worked for the university that was, in turn, supporting my aspirations.

Finally, one of my most profound revelations is realizing just how supported I have been here at Gannon University.  

A professor once said, “successful people all had someone who helped them along the way.” I have had the good fortune to have my family and close friends helping me along my journey. Additionally, there were a variety of Gannon faculty and staff who have been in my corner, ready to help me in achieving my goals and dreams. They each provided me with a new perspective or a different way to weave my tapestry precisely when I needed that very direction. For all those who supported me, I am forever grateful. 

My parting advice is to choose your threads wisely and stay open to all the colors and unexpected elements that will be woven into your own unique Gannon tapestry. Make it colorful, warm and cozy. Know that you are supported by those around you and that your experience here will go far beyond the classroom.  

Believe in the possibilities.  

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Erie, Pa 16541
(814) 871-7000

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