Dear Mount Community,
What an exciting semester it has been! It seems like virtually every week there’s a new achievement to celebrate. Whether it’s on the court with our men’s basketball program going to the NCAA Tournament, or Samantha Solis, C’16, Alyse Spiehler, C’17, and Brigid Flay, C’17, and their Fulbright success, or Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, C’12, and her historic acceptance into the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine department of neurosurgery, Mount students and alumni have been making headlines.
I thought it was important to revisit some of the discussions that took place during the forums we held last fall and in late February. During those sessions, we discussed highlights from 1st semester, how we have responded to issues raised during the Fall forums, and I had the opportunity to listen to you to determine what we’re doing well and what we can do better to make your experience at the Mount the best it can be. I heard good feedback about the new meal plan, but we still have some issues to address regarding food type and service. We are working on a campus email policy to try and reduce the volume of email, while moving important notices to other media forums. Our student activities programs are varied and strong, but we need to ensure these programs have the resources needed to support student development. Students are generally pleased with the exciting changes occurring in our academic programs, but we need to advertise these changes better and provide better support to our transfer and part-time students.
During the February forums I talked about our strategic imperatives for improvement, including:
– Growing total enrollment.
– Developing attractive, relevant niche academic and other programs.
– Improving the quality of academic, athletic and seminary facilities, and our utility systems.
Keeping true to these imperatives, we’re in the early phases of enhancements to our athletic programs, which will also positively impact other areas. As you may have seen last week, we announced the elevation of our women’s rugby program to full varsity status, as well as the hiring of Farrah Douglas, the team’s first head coach. Coach Douglas and the team will begin competition this upcoming fall as one of only seven NCAA Division I programs in the nation. We’re also proud of the return of men’s soccer, first as a club sport this fall, and then to Division I in the fall of 2018. But our plans don’t stop there. To attract even more high quality student-athletes to our beautiful mountain home, we’re going to be expanding the rosters of some other programs.
Regarding facilities, we are already assessing our aging utility systems and determining how to upgrade them. We are also finalizing plans for a three-year comprehensive fundraising campaign to improve and expand our academic, athletic, seminary and grotto facilities. To improve academics, we are also seeking to build a major addition to our Science Center that will house much needed state of the art labs and learning facilities. Our campaign will also seek funds to make needed repairs to the beautiful Seminary building, and to renovate St. Mary’s Chapel in the Grotto along with putting in additional devotional space. We’ll have more information on these exciting changes in the coming days, so be sure to watch for updates. While our utility system work includes our dormitories, I know we need to turn attention soon to other improvements needed in these facilities.
It’s our goal to make the Mount a premier institution of higher education in the mid-Atlantic region. We continue to look at new and revised academic programs to ensure our students are engaged in a curriculum that best prepares them for a changing world. As our Fulbrighters, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah and men’s basketball team have showed us, becoming a Mountie can lead to special things both in and out of the classroom. It’s my goal to make sure we keep moving forward towards continued success.