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Published by: Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Ed on Jan 30, 2009
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The Newman Guide
Within cannon shot of the legendary Ge\ue005ys-
burg ba\ue005le\ue000eld is an historic Catholic college

that has been educating religious leaders and laypeople since 1808. Poised to celebrate its bicentennial, Mount St .Mary\u2019s University re- mains faithful to its original mission.

The history of the Emmitsburg, Maryland,

institution includes some legendary \ue000gures in American Catholicism. Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, the \ue000rst American-born saint, founded the Sisters of Charity in Em-

mitsburg. She also established Saint Joseph\u2019s
Academy and Free School, which became part
of St. Mary\u2019s College when it was founded in
1808. At the time, the only other Catholic in-
stitution of higher education in the United
States was Georgetown College.

She worked closely with the college\u2019s founding president, the French-born Father John DuBois. Father DuBois led the college for 18 years and then was appointed Bishop of New York, where he served until 1839.

Today, the university has three corporate parts, each of which has had an important impact on the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the nation. The seminary, the second oldest

in the United States, is called the \u201cCradle of
Bishops\u201d because it has produced 48 bishops,
including one 19th-century cardinal. The Na-
tional Shrine Gro\ue005o of Our Lady of Lourdes,

a replica of the shrine located in France, has been receiving thousands of pilgrims since 1875.

Mount St. Mary\u2019s University
Emmitsburg, Maryland
quick facts

Founded:18 0 8
Type of institution: Medium-size university
Setting:Rur a l
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,695 (2006\u201307

academic year)
Total undergraduate cost: $35,572 (tuition,
room, board and fees for 2007\u201308)
Undergraduate majors: More than 40
five key Points
1.Celebrating its bicentennial, it is the
second oldest U.S. Catholic college.
2.The university has taken recent steps
to strengthen its Catholic identity.
3.Mount Saint Mary\u2019s emphasizes a core
curriculum in the Catholic tradition.
4.The university, a prominent seminary
and Lourdes Grotto form the university
5.It is an especially popular university
among residents from Maryland and
Mid-Atlantic states.
Mount St. Mary\u2019s University
The Newman Guide
The lay institution that was long part of
Mount St. Mary\u2019s College and Seminary ac-
quired its current name in 2004 to re\ue001ect the

growth that had taken place, including ex- pansion into graduate programs in education, business, divinity and theology.

But despite changes that have taken place,
the Mount has remained faithfully Catholic.
Perhaps symbolic of this is the 120-foot tower
and golden statute of the Blessed Mother at
the Gro\ue005o, which looms large over the cam-
Dr. Thomas Powell, who has been uni-
versity president for the past four years, has
worked to enhance its Catholic identity. This
is re\ue001ected in its strong new mission state-
ment, which consists of four \u201cpillars\u201d and
begins with \u201cfaith.\u201d In June 2007, the board
of trustees issued a declaration of Catholic
The university also emphasizes its Cath-

olic identity in its core curriculum, which includes a year-long Freshman Seminar, re- quired courses and choices among several

required liberal arts disciplines. The \ue000rst

goal of the undergraduate program, accord- ing to the university, is: \u201cAn understanding of the Western humanist tradition, including its American expression, particularly as that

tradition has been interpreted in Catholic
thought and practice (primarily a goal of the
core curriculum).\u201d
This mix, along with an opportunity to
study on a beautiful 1,400-acre campus in the
Catoctin Mountains, a\ue005racted students from

28 states and 10 foreign countries to study at the university in the 2006\u201307 academic year. It is a particularly appealing option for those in Maryland, a state that accounts for about 60 percent of the student body; overall, 91 percent of students are from the Mid-Atlantic region.

Students can pursue more than 40 under- graduate majors, concentrations and minors. These include the traditional liberal arts dis- ciplines as well as more modern ones such as computer science and environmental science. Among the university\u2019s academic partner- ships is a six-year, undergraduate-graduate

program o\ue002ered in occupational therapy with
Sacred Heart University.
Mount St. Mary\u2019s o\ue002ers an M.B.A. and two
master\u2019s degrees in education at a small cam-
pus in Frederick, 20 miles south of Emmits-
burg. It also o\ue002ers its M.B.A. in Hagerstown,
a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at Freder-

ick and part-time programs in Frederick and Westminster, Maryland. The university is fully accredited by the Middle States Associa-

tion of Colleges and Schools.
The university, recognizing the need to

boost its current $35 million endowment, is aiming to increase it another $25 million by 2009.

A target for this fundraising is the 14,000-
member alumni association, which is orga-
nized into 13 local chapters. One of the non-
\ue000nancial ways that alumni aid the university

is through the Mount Alumni-Student Men- tor Program, where graduates are paired up with freshmen.


A predominantly lay, 35-member board of trustees governs the university. Many of the members are prominent business lead- ers from Maryland and beyond. Ten of the board are clerics, including Archbishop Wil-

liam Cardinal Keeler and Auxiliary Bishop
Francis Malooly, both of the Archdiocese of
Baltimore, and Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the
Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Mount St. Mary\u2019s University
The Newman Guide
Bishop Rhoades, who a\ue005ended Mount St.
Mary\u2019s College, was rector of the seminary
for seven years before he was appointed to his
current position in 2004.
Dr. Powell, the 23rd president of the uni-
versity, was appointed in 2003. Four of the
last \ue000ve presidents have been lay academ-
ics. Dr. Powell, whose academic discipline is
special education, had previously served as
president of Glenville State College, a small
central West Virginia institution, which has
long specialized in teacher preparation.
Public Identity
President Powell has been working on
strengthening the university\u2019s Catholic iden-
tity. The university\u2019s 2006\u201312 plan, \u201cA Com-
munity Growing Together: A Vision for Fu-
ture Generations,\u201d lists \u201ccontinue to enhance
our strong Catholic identity\u201d as the \ue000rst pri-
ority. Among the seven goals that have been
identi\ue000ed to promote that objective is to in-
fuse the university\u2019s Governing Documents
with a commitment to Ex corde Ecclesiae.
That was partially done when the board
of trustees adopted a vigorous statement on
Catholic identity in June 2007. Noting \u201c[a]
strong Catholic identity is central to the mis-
sion of Mount St. Mary\u2019s University,\u201d the

board stress four tenets which emphasize the primacy of the Gospel and the Church teach- ings, \u201cfull compliance with both the le\ue005er and

spirit of Ex corde Ecclesiae,\u201d and the deference to the Holy See and the Archbishop of Balti- more.

The university also has initiated a hiring-
for-mission program. The president person-
ally meets with faculty and sta\ue002 upon hiring
and seeking tenure. He expects respect for
and no public opposition to Catholic teach-
The university\u2019s Catholic identity is an in-
tegral part of the current bicentennial celebra-
tion. Bishop Rhoades celebrated the opening
event, the Founders Mass, on August 24, 2007.
Later that day, a three-ton statue of Father Du-

Bois was dedicated in the center of the cam- pus. Among other events during the 2007\u201308 academic year will be a Bishops\u2019 Mass on

November 11 and a pilgrimage to Rome and

elsewhere in Italy in April 2008. The seminary has planned a number of separate events, in- cluding retreats.

One professor said, \u201cThe presence of the seminary on campus has helped out in many indirect ways.\u201d There are, of course, the Masses and various spiritual activities at the

seminary\u2019s St. Bernard Chapel. Seminarians

also are seen around campus and initiated a series of annual retreats for teenagers, the last one being Mount 2007 in February 2007.

Another initiative launched by Dr. Powell has been to assign seminarians to be chap- lains to each of the university\u2019s 19 intercol- legiate sports teams. They normally come to all the home games, lead the teams in prayer

before games and a\ue005end the sports banquets.
The interim athletic director, Lynne Rob-

inson, told us, \u201cThe chaplains may stay with their team for several years, up through their ordination to the priesthood. We have had cases where a seminarian has been chaplain

to a team for four years. Recently, one who
had been chaplain to the soccer team was or-
dained, and the soccer coaches and a number
of team players a\ue005ended his ordination.\u201d

The seminary currently has students from 32 U.S. dioceses as well as the Archdio- cese of Grenada in Spain and the Diocese of

Cajamarca in Peru. Men from three religious
orders also are there. Its fall 2007 \ue000gure of
165 seminarians is larger than its number a
decade ago. The seminary has trained 2,000

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