For more than two centuries, Mount St. Mary’s University has prided itself on being a Catholic institute for higher education that, as stated in its mission statement, has remained “committed to education in service of the truth,” and sought “to cultivate a community of learners formed by faith, engaged in discovery, and empowered for leadership.” These commitments and efforts certainly distinguish the Mount from other institutions, however, they are not limited in their effects to students on campus. On the contrary, they extend far beyond into the wider community.
In recent decades, several leaders at the Mount have personally dedicated themselves to broadening the outreach of the university’s mission to local communities, in particular, that of the Catholic schools in Frederick County, Md. On Oct. 4, Dr. Carol Hinds became the most recent Mount leader to be recognized by the Friends of Catholic Education (FOCE) for her “dedication and commitment toward advancing Catholic Education,” as this year’s co-recipient of the John McElroy Award.
Inaugurated in 1992, the John McElroy Award is given annually by the FOCE to recognize individuals whose actions or achievements have advanced Catholic school education in Frederick County, MD. The award itself contains the inscription: “If you want to touch the past, touch a stone. If you want to touch the present, touch a rose. If you want to touch the future, teach a child.”
Hinds says that she is “honored and humbled,” by the recognition, explaining that she does not feel that the award “is merited, but is grateful.”
Caroline Pugh, Executive Director for FOCE, would disagree, expressing that she and the board “could not think of a more deserving recipient,” citing Hinds’ “lifetime of service” for furthering the efforts of Catholic education, not only at the college level, but at the local level as well.
Hinds became a member of FOCE around the same time that she began at the Mount as the university’s Provost in 1995. She says that she was proud to be a part of an organization dedicated to providing a Catholic school education to all who seek it within the Frederick area. She specifically helped see this mission through serving as a member of the organization’s scholarship committee, which provides applicants with financial aid to attend local Catholic schools.
Understanding the increased financial demand of receiving a Catholic education, Hinds says she is moved to read of the many sacrifices applicant families make in order to provide their children with such a privilege. As both a product of, and observer of, the Catholic educational experience, Hinds has witnessed how the system “helps students become more formed in their faith” and feels that this is what makes it so important and relevant in present day society.
“We still need schools to pass on the tradition of Catholicism, to teach the understanding of the sacramental approach to belief – to life, to emphasize the incarnation of life, etc.,” she stressed.
In addition to serving on the FOCE scholarship committee, Hinds has been a member of the board since 1997, serving as its president for the past six years. Since the close of her tenure as Provost at the Mount in 2004, she has continued to serve as a professor teaching English and core curriculum courses.
Mount colleagues Dr. Peter Dorsey, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and Dr. Indrani Mitra, Chair of the English Department, concur with Pugh’s sentiments:
“The history of Fr. John McElroy’s contribution to Catholic education is profound and fascinating and so it’s very fitting that Dr. Hinds would receive this prestigious honor.” Dorsey explained. “Her dedication to Catholic education at all levels and both near and far is unmatched, and she brings great wisdom, tremendous experience, and practical knowledge to any discussion or planning session about how to improve its delivery.”
“I believe this award is a great honor, not only for Dr. Hinds but for our University,” Mitra added. “Carol Hinds is a devoted supporter of Catholic education at all levels, and embodies its core values. At the Mount, Dr. Hinds is one of the most popular teachers and a constant source of support to students and faculty. To me, she is a friend, a mentor, and an inspiration. This award is a well-deserved recognition of her work. It puts her in the company of the most eminent members of the greater-Frederick community.”
Dr. Hinds joins as fellow recipient Mount Presidents Emeritus George R. Houston, Jr. and Dr. Thomas H Powell, who each received the McElroy award in 2003 and 2015 respectively, carrying on the Mount’s long-lived legacy of furthering Catholic education.
“It’s lovely, after something you’ve done your whole life, for people to say thank you. That’s what the award was,” Hinds appreciated.
Photo courtesy of Mount St. Mary’s University