Mount St. Mary's University

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Mount St. Mary's University
Mount St. Mary's University Seal.svg
Latin: Universitas Sanctae Mariae Ad Montes
Motto Spes Nostra (Latin)
Motto in English
Our Hope
Established 1808
Type Private
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Endowment US$47,605,000 (2014)[1]
President Simon P. Newman
Academic staff
98 full-time, 58 part-time
Students 2,240 (2014)[2]
Undergraduates 1,741 (2014)[3]
Postgraduates 499 (2014)[3]
Location Emmitsburg, Maryland, United States
Athletics NCAA Division INEC, ECAC
Nickname Mountaineers
Mascot Emmit S. Burg
Affiliations ACCU
Mount St Mary's University Logo.svg

Mount St. Mary's University, also known as The Mount, is a private, liberal arts, Catholic university in the Catoctin Mountains near historic Emmitsburg, Maryland.

The undergraduate university is divided into four schools: the College of Liberal Arts, the Richard J. Bolte School of Business, the School of Education & Human Services, and the School of Natural Science and Mathematics. The university has more than 40 majors, minors, concentrations and special programs, including bachelor's/master's combinations in partnership with other universities.

The university also offers seven master's degree programs and five postgraduate certificate programs.

The campus includes the second largest Catholic seminary in the United States, where future priests study in the Ordination/Master of Divinity program. Lay students can pursue a Master of Theology Arts at the seminary.

Mr. Simon P. Newman is the university president. The seminary's rector and president is Monsignor Andrew R. Baker. The chancellor of the seminary is the current Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Most Reverend William E. Lori.


The entrance sign to Mount St. Mary's University.

Mount Saint Mary's was founded by French émigré Father John DuBois.[4] In 1805, Father DuBois bought land near Emmitsburg, Maryland on the mountain that Catholic colonists had christened “St. Mary's Mountain," and laid the cornerstone for Saint-Mary's-on-the-Hill church. Parishioners from two local congregations built a one-story, two room log cabin for Father DuBois, and that cabin was the first structure of Mount Saint Mary's.[5] The church was completed in 1807.[6] Father DuBois first opened a boarding school for children.[7] Then, in 1808, the Society of St. Sulpice closed Pigeon Hill, its preparatory seminary in Pennsylvania, and transferred all the seminarians to Emmitsburg.[8] This marked the official beginning of Mount St. Mary's.[7][9] Father DuBois was appointed president of the college and his first class graduated in 1808. Father Simon Bruté, whom President John Quincy Adams called "the most learned man of his day in America",[10] [11] joined Mount St. Mary's as teacher and vice-president in 1812.[12] The small faculty of Mount St. Mary's strove to offer a full high school and college course to lay students and potential priests and developed Mount St. Mary's into "one of the most important ecclesiastical institutions of the country." [13] DuBois Hall, named for Father DuBois, was completed in 1826 in what had been a swampy thicket on the mountain.[14] The first charter for a university was obtained in 1830. Until the early 1900s, Mount St. Mary's also acted as a boarding school. Some remnants of the boarding school, such as Bradley Hall (one of the oldest buildings on campus), still exist.

Saint Joseph College History and Merger with Mount Saint Mary's[edit]

Elizabeth Ann Seton, founder of the Sisters of Charity and the first native born United States citizen to be canonized as a saint,[15] came to Emmitsburg in 1809. She lived on the campus of Mount St. Mary's while her own school was being built.[16] For a while, she lived in the same log cabin that had been built for Father DuBois.[5] In June 1809, Mother Seton established Saint Joseph's Academy and Free School for girls, the first free Catholic parochial school in the United States.[17] This school is considered to be the foundation of the entire Catholic parochial school system in the United States.[18][19][20] Mother Seton wrote classroom textbooks and trained her Catholic sisters to become teachers,[21] and accepted all students regardless of ability to pay.[22] Saint Joseph's Academy and Free School developed into Saint Joseph College High School (1890-1946), Saint Joseph's High School (1946-1982), and Saint Joseph College (1902-1973), a four-year liberal arts college for women.[5]

There was a long shared history between Saint Joseph and Mount St. Mary's. In 1815, Mother Seton sent several of the Sisters of Charity to manage the Infirmary at Mount St. Mary's.[5] As enrollment at Saint Joseph's Academy grew in the 1800s, some professors from Mount St. Mary's were added to the Saint Joseph's faculty.[23] And, since the campuses of the all female Saint Joseph College and the all male Mount St. Mary's were just a couple of miles apart, the schools historically depended on each other for social life.[24] In 1967, female students at Saint Joseph College began taking some classes at Mount St. Mary's, and men from Mount St. Mary's began taking some classes at Saint Joseph.[25] In 1973, with declining enrollment numbers and rising operating costs, Saint Joseph College closed its doors and merged with Mount St. Mary’s, which has been fully co-educational since then.[26]

World War II[edit]

During World War II, Mount Saint Mary's College was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[27]


Bradley Hall is the main Administration building

Mount St. Mary's University is located on a 1,400 acre campus in a rural mountain setting.

Students live in five new or completely renovated residence halls. There are also three apartment buildings where seniors (and some juniors) live in fully furnished apartments complete with bathrooms and kitchens. The student center and cafeteria are located in the recently renovated McGowan center.

Academic classes are held in the Knott Academic Center, the COAD Science Building, and the Borders Learning Center. The fine arts department is located in the newly renovated Flynn Hall, now known as the Delaplaine Fine Arts Center.

Bradley Hall is the campus administration building.

The ARCC, called "The Ark", is a sports and fitness complex available to students. It contains the Knott Arena, which can seat up to 5,000 people and is used for athletic events, special events and concerts on campus. On October 4, 2015, President Barack Obama spoke at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service at the Knott Arena. [28]

Entrance to the Delaplaine Fine Arts Center.

Students and faculty[edit]

In 2014-15 the university enrolled 1,741 undergraduate students and 499 graduate students, with a total of 2,240 students.

The student population is about 55% female and 45% male.

Of the 1,689 undergraduate students, 55% are from Maryland and 33% are from other Mid-Atlantic States. 33 total states are represented, as well as 13 foreign countries.[29]

Around 85% of undergraduates live on campus.

The student-faculty ratio 13:1, and 46 percent of classes have fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Mount St. Mary's include: Business/Commerce, Criminology, Biological Sciences, Elementary/Secondary Education, and Accounting. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 80 percent.[30]

For students who want to graduate early, the university offers a three-year degree option.[31]


Mount St. Mary's University was named one of the top 20 best regional universities by U.S. News and World Report's Best Colleges 2015.[32] The Mount was selected 19th of 138 universities in the Regional Universities-North Division. Additionally, the Mount ranked #3 for best colleges for veterans in the north region.

In 2013 BestColleges ranked Mount St. Mary's number 21 out of 262 Catholic higher education institutions in America, listing the university among the "Best Catholic Colleges."


Mount Saint Mary's Seminary enrolls on average over 150 full-time residential seminarians each year. They represent more than 25 dioceses from the U.S., as well as overseas. Students must be sponsored by a diocese or religious order before applying to study at the seminary. Some students are co-sponsored by the Archdiocese for the Military Services. It is the second oldest Catholic seminary in the United States, after St. Mary's in Baltimore. The seminary has "a solid tradition of excellence in the formation of candidates for the Catholic priesthood,"[33] and is well known for its more traditional theology, discipline and secluded rural setting.[7]

The seminary has produced over 2600 priests, and it is often referred to as the “Cradle of Bishops,” because 51 of its graduates have shepherded dioceses.[34] John Hughes, an early graduate of the seminary, was the first Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York. Class of 1826 graduate John McCloskey became the first American cardinal in 1875.

The seminary online blog On Mary's Mountain describes the daily life of the seminary community. Seminarians also write the Seminary Newsletter.

Catholic Identity[edit]

Mount St. Mary's has a strong Catholic identity, which is central to the mission of the university: "to cultivate a community of learners formed by faith, engaged in discovery, and empowered for leadership in the Church, the professions, and the world." All undergraduates complete the Veritas Program, a group of core courses that gives students a solid grounding in the Catholic intellectual tradition of liberal arts, theology and ethics.

Around 70% of students are Catholic.

The university is endorsed by The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, Catholic Colleges of Distinction, and The National Catholic Register's "Catholic Identity Guide".

National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes[edit]

Mount St. Mary's is home to the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, a Catholic pilgrimage site devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary that draws thousands of visitors annually. describes the Grotto as "a place of pastoral beauty and spiritual inspiration... situated high on the mountainside where nature displays itself in all its wild and picturesque glory" [35] The sixty acres of grounds include lush gardens, a pond, rosary paths, the Stations of the Cross, devotional areas, a scenic overlook, and St. Mary's Chapel on the Hill (also known as the Glass Chapel). Grotto water flows from taps located around a fountain pool, and chaplains are available to bless the water for visitors. Father John Watterson had the stone Grotto cave built in 1875 as a replica of the miraculous Our Lady of Lourdes in France.[36]

The Grotto was first established on St. Mary's Mountain in 1805 by the university's founder, Father John DuBois. According to legend, Father DuBois was attracted to a light on the mountain and found a blessed spot and sat down at the foot of a large oak tree beside a stream. He made a cross of twigs and fixed it to the tree to be the symbol of the holy work he was undertaking. This was the original Grotto.[8] Father Simon Bruté was an early steward of the Grotto. He created pathways throughout the grounds and attached crosses to the trees that now line the Stations of the Cross along the entrance.[37] Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton attended Sunday Mass at the Grotto chapel. The 1911 book The Story of the Mountain tells how Mother Seton would sit on her favorite rock at the Grotto and "invoke the divine blessing by reciting the Canticle of the Three Children, and none that heard her could ever forget the tones of that voice and the fervor of that heart, which in the midst of the wild scenery of nature called upon all creatures to bless and magnify their Creator."[8] Her rosary walks around the Grotto were re-enacted in 2005 to celebrate its 200th anniversary.[38]

In 1958, the Grotto was refurbished and made more accessible to the public by Father Hugh J. Phillips, who became known as the "Restorer of the Grotto". The Grotto was proclaimed a Public Oratory on December 8, 1965, by Cardinal Lawrence Shehan, archbishop of Baltimore. On November 27, 2007, Bishop Jacques Perrier of the Diocese of Tarbes-et-Lourdes in France visited the Mount St. Mary's Grotto and gave the gift of a stone excavated from the original Grotto in Lourdes, France, in order to "spiritually connect" the two places.[39]

Student publications[edit]

The Mountain Echo[edit]

The Mountain Echo is a print and online newspaper which reports on news and events at the university.

The earliest issues of The Mountain Echo appear to have been published in 1879 and 1880. According to a 1993 article by William Lawbaugh in The Mountain Briefing, these issues were printed on a hand-operated press by Professor Ernest Lagarde from his home. Early issues of the newspaper were four pages long, and reported on education, sports, and significant campus events. The issues also contained death notices, news from classes and alumni, campus changes, and personal and other advertisements. The 1878/1880 issues included poetry, literary works, and articles on the history of the College.

On October 28, 1923, the Mountain Echo was revived and Volume I, Number 1 was published, reporting on news and issues of concern to the College community.

The Mountain Echo was restructured during the academic year 1974-75, and was renamed The Mountain Review. The name was changed back to The Mountain Echo the following year.

By the 1995/1996 academic year The Mountain Echo was printing a 24-page issue on a biweekly schedule. That year the Echo also expanded into two other formats. Echo Online was the first incarnation of The Mountain Echo website. And Echo Weekly News with Vince Chesney was a radio show hosted by the newspaper's editor-in-chief on the college radio station, WMTB.

Lighted Corners[edit]

Lighted Corners, the Mount's award-winning literary and arts magazine, published its first issue in 1981. Lighted Corners is an annual, student-run literary magazine dedicated to art, fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and photography. Each year near the end of the fall semester, submissions are collected through email, which are voted on anonymously by staff. The editorial board makes the final selections, and then the staff spends the spring semester editing and putting the magazine together. Lighted Corners has won many awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA), the American Scholastic Press Association, and the Society for Collegiate Journalists. In 2015, Lighted Corners received a Gold Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, an honor reserved for the most distinguished collegiate publications.


Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers logo

Mount St. Mary's teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. The Mountaineers are a member of the Northeast Conference (NEC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis and track & field.

Mount St. Mary's defeated Sacramento State in overtime 58-57 to win the Division II championship at the 1962 NCAA College Division Men's Basketball Tournament.

On March 18, 2008, the Mountaineers defeated Coppin State University in the play-in game of the NCAA Tournament. This win was Mount Saint Mary's first as a Division I school in the NCAA Tournament.

Babe Ruth was discovered at Mount St. Mary's by Joe Engel, a student and baseball player at the school, when the St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys of Baltimore (which Ruth attended) team came to Emmitsburg to play. Engel informed minor-league Baltimore Orioles manager Jack Dunn of Ruth and his prodigious pitching ability.[40]


In 2008 the University adopted a master plan for the future,[41] much of which has already been completed:

  • The creation of Founders Plaza to memorialize Father John DuBois in the front of Terrace (Completed)
  • The construction of a Residence Hall for 180 students on North Campus - Bicentennial Hall (completed)
  • Renovations and additions to the Terrace (Completed, Fall 2010)
  • The Delaplaine Fine Arts Center/Theatre and renovations to Flynn Hall (Dedicated, Fall 2010)
  • Addition of a Visitors Center to the Grotto (Completed Spring 2013)
  • Addition of a new area of Residence Halls - a new form of living. The Cottages (Beginning Summer 2013)

Notable people[edit]


  • William J. Collinge, author Historical Dictionary of Catholicism, The A to Z of Catholicism
  • Germain Grisez, French-American philosopher of ethics
  • Father Leo Patalinghug, seminary professor and chef, founder of Grace Before Meals, a movement which seeks to strengthen families and communities around the dinner table
  • Jim Phelan, basketball head coach until 2003. Phelan had 830 career wins (currently 14th on the all-time list), and coached a college basketball record 49 seasons at the same school.[42] At the time of his retirement, Phelan had coached more NCAA games than any other coach in collegiate history.[43] He was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.[44]


Connection to Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College in Indiana[edit]

Main article: Simon Bruté

French missionary Simon Bruté spent two decades as teacher and pastor in the formative years of Mount St. Mary's. He was considered "one of the foremost scholars in America", and he had a great deal of influence on the Catholic Church in America. [51] [52] In 1834, he was appointed the founding bishop of the Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana. In 1832, Father Stephen Badin of Indiana purchased 524 acres of land surrounding two lakes near South Bend, Indiana, and when he retired in 1835 he deeded the property to the Diocese of Vincennes. It was Father Badin’s dream that a school would be established there.[53] Bruté visited the South Bend property and described the land and the lakes as "a most desirable spot, and one soon I hope to be occupied by some prosperous institution."[54] In 1836, Bruté traveled to France seeking funds and priests for his diocese, and one of the priests he recruited was Father Edward Sorin, the founder of Notre Dame. [55][56] After Bruté's death in 1839, his successor, Bishop Hailandière, offered the 524 acre South Bend property to Father Sorin for the purpose of starting a college. The school was founded in 1842 as “L’Université de Notre Dame du Lac” (The University of Our Lady of the Lake).[57] and grew to become the University of Notre Dame and its sister school Saint Mary's College.

Mount Saint Mary's, Notre Dame, and Saint Mary's College are each named in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with Notre Dame meaning "Our Lady', a term of endearment for Mary. And each school's motto focuses on Mary's attribute of Catholic hope. Mount St. Mary's: 'Spes Nostra' (Our Hope), Notre Dame: 'Vita Dulcedo Spes' (Life, Sweetness, Hope) and Saint Mary's College in Indiana: 'Spes Unica' (The Only/Unique Hope)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2014. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2014 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2013 to FY 2014" (PDF). 2014 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ The university's Latin name Universitas Sanctae Mariae Ad Montes Fundata Ab Joanne DuBois literally means "Mount St. Mary's University founded by John DuBois".
  5. ^ a b c d History of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church: Historical Highlights of Saint Joseph's Parish
  6. ^ "Our History - Mount St. Mary’s University". Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  7. ^ a b c The Archdiocese of Baltimore: Mount St. Mary's Seminary
  8. ^ a b c The Story of the Mountain: Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary: Mary E. Meline & Edward F. X. McSweeny Published by the Emmitsburg Chronicle, 1911
  9. ^ Spalding, Thomas W., The Premier See: A History of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, 1789-1989
  10. ^ History of Old Vincennes and Knox County, Indiana, Volume 1 p. 412 by George E. Greene
  11. ^ The Old Vincennes Cathedral and Its Environs p. 12 by Curtis Grover Shake
  12. ^ The Story of the Mountain: Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary chapter 4, Mary E. Meline & Edward F. X. McSween
  13. ^ Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999; (available online as "John DuBois: Hall of North and South Americans")
  14. ^ Laura Rich. Maryland History in Prints 1743-1900. 
  15. ^ "Biography of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton". National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
  16. ^ Spalding, Thomas W., The Premier See: A History of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, 1789-1989.
  17. ^ setonscene: about Mother Seton
  18. ^ Pittedu: Elizabeth Ann Seton
  19. ^ Mother Seton School: A Rich History
  20. ^ "National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton", The Journey Through Hallowed Ground
  21. ^ EWTN: ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON—1774-1821
  22. ^ Mother Seton School: A Rich History
  23. ^ St. Joseph College History, St. Joseph College Alumnae Association
  24. ^ Morris, Roger: Saint Joseph College is Dying"
  25. ^ Morris, Roger: Saint Joseph College is Dying"
  26. ^ Mount Saint Mary's University
  27. ^ Kelly, Jacques (2007-11-24). "Aloysius Carroll Galvin". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  28. ^ Barker, Jeff The Baltimore Sun "Rush of emotions as Obama honors firefighters in Maryland"
  29. ^ "Quick Facts About the Mount - Mount St. Mary's University, MD". Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  30. ^ US News & World Report: Education: Mount St. Mary's University
  31. ^ US News & World Report: Education: Mount St. Mary's University
  32. ^ US News & World Report: Education: Mount St. Mary's University
  33. ^ Catholic Review: Allentown priest appointed new rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary - See more at:
  34. ^ - See more at:
  35. ^ Things to See While in the Emmitsburg Area
  36. ^ Touched by a saint; National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes celebrates its 200th anniversary
  37. ^ History of The National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
  38. ^ Touched by a saint; National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes celebrates its 200th anniversary
  39. ^ NATIONAL SHRINE GROTTO OF OUR LADY OF LOURDES: Stone from Grotto of Lourdes, France
  40. ^ Tom Meany, 1948, "Babe Ruth: Big Moments of the Big Fellow"
  41. ^
  42. ^ Eisenberg, Jeff "No. 5 in the Untouchables: Jim Phelan’s 49 seasons at Mount St. Mary’s"
  43. ^ The New York Times: COLLEGE BASKETBALL; Phelan Coaches His Final Game
  44. ^ Legendary Mount Basketball Coach Jim Phelan to be Inducted into College Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday
  45. ^ "John Baer". Philadelphia Daily News. Philly Online, LLC. Archived from the original on 2009-08-17. 
  46. ^ "NBA/ABA Players who attended Mount St. Mary's University". Retrieved 2008-04-05. 
  47. ^ Kathy Orton (July 17, 2011). "Whatever Happened to ... the soccer pro who left to become a priest?". Washington Post. 
  48. ^ "madero". Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  49. ^ "After 50 Years, Mount St. Mary's Head Track and Field Coach Jim Deegan Announces Retirement". Northeast Conference. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  50. ^ Nouwen, Henri "Love in a Fearful Land" Orbis Books: Maryknoll, NY; 1985
  51. ^ Simon Brute' de Re'mur, First Bishop of Vincennes. By Sister MARY SALESIA GODECKER, O.S.B., Ph.D. St. Meinrad Historical Essays, St. Meinrad, Indiana, 1931. Pp. xliii + 441,
  52. ^ Indiana Catholic History: The Death of Simon Brute’ – June 26, 1839
  53. ^ University of Notre Dame Sacred Heart Parish: A Brief History
  54. ^ Reflections From the Dome: excerpt from the November 1935 edition of The Notre Dame Alumnus magazine on Notre Dame's history entitled, "Glimpses of an Early Notre Dame."
  55. ^ Rockne of Notre Dame: The Making of a Football Legend p, 24
  56. ^ Reflections of the Dome 2.8, excerpt about Father Sorin from Francis Wallace's Notre Dame: Its People and Its Legends...
  57. ^ University of Notre Dame Sacred Heart Parish: A Brief History

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°40′55″N 77°21′11″W / 39.682°N 77.353°W / 39.682; -77.353