Dear Class of 2019,
In continuing the Mountain Echo’s yearly tradition, I’d like to extend an open hand: welcome to the Mount.
For years, we upperclassmen have been asking for several changes around campus. And now, your class has entered just as these new things are being implemented.
Let’s roll off the list: better coffee? Check. Upgraded classrooms in different buildings? Check. New faculty and programs in certain departments? Absolutely. Fireworks at the Grotto after an on-campus concert featuring X Ambassadors? Not exactly what we were expecting, but we’ll take it.
It can be easy to lose appreciation for newness in the absence of perspective. For the past 207 years, the Mount community lived without Starbucks (*gasp*). Students in Pangborn and Sheridan Halls were not able to take advantage of Chipotle-esque front common rooms with multiple televisions.
We certainly had nothing resembling HBO Go or Philo. What’s worse, this longtime Baltimore Orioles fan could never watch his home team in his dorm room, despite the agonizingly short distance between Emmitsburg and Charm City.
But to understand how we lived without all these comforts, perhaps it’s best for you to know what the people of our university built in the mean time.
We can trace the Mount’s heritage back to Fr. John Dubois, the French Catholic priest and refugee of the French Revolution who founded the school we call home today. Together with Fr. Simon Gabriel Bruté, Fr. Dubois founded Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. He later served as the university’s first president, and his guidance would set the Mount’s foundation as a thriving community of higher learning guided by faith.
Fast-forward to the administration of President Emeritus Thomas Powell, who served during the time we seniors arrived four years ago. I still remember his speech to us at orientation, driving us to seek those four principles so eloquently described as pillars: faith, discovery, leadership and community. My experiences here have confirmed to me that we are truly built on these things.
But I want to particularly emphasize the fourth pillar, community, because I feel it is the basis for everything the Mount does. What is leadership without other students, co-workers and club members for us to collaborate with? What is faith without a community of believers, regardless of their religious preference? What is discovery without the chance to share it with and thereby enlighten others?
Let’s not stop at celebrating the “new” of this campus. But as we begin a new era for the Mount, let’s celebrate the “old” as well. Let’s embrace the community that has been built here, and all of the energy and enthusiasm that surrounds it.