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  • Gabrielle Hendricks

Creativity with New Trustees Members

Gabrielle Hendricks

In October of last year, Mount St. Mary’s University voted in seven new Board of Trustees members. As the Mount is nearing the end of the Spring 2024 semester, the members will become more active and acquainted with the Mount. Readers should become acquainted with them as well.

The seven new Board of Trustees members include Thomas Beck, Meredith Cordisco (C’03), Sister Ellen Dauwer, Sister Melanie DiPietro, Bishop Juan Esposito-Garcia, (S’08), Thomas Harrington (C’78), and Msgr. Rick Hilgartner (C’90). The new members are a mix of alumni, lay people and religious leaders.

 Each member has a different educational and career background and a variety of experiences. Mount St. Mary’s Chief of Staff Elizabeth Monahan shared that the members were elected due to their broad range of experiences that include “organizational leadership, higher education, financial management, regulatory authority and canon law.”

The new members were voted in at a unique time. They started under the leadership of President Timothy Trainor but will soon be under the leadership of President Elect Jerry Joyce. Trainor had good words to share about the new members who he will work with during his last days at the Mount. He said, “Our new board members bring a very diverse set of professional and lived experiences to our board that will provide fresh perspectives to how we address opportunities and challenges the University faces.” 

Diversity creates creativity, and the different specialties the board members have can bring the Mount creativity. This creativity is in ways of how to fundraise and advocate for projects, promote religious life and engagement.

Trainor also had words of encouragement for the new board members. He expressed, “I encourage our new board members to speak their minds and share their expertise as we all work in the best interests of student success and furthering the mission of the Mount.” The board members were elected to promote student advocacy and meet the community’s needs. Their actions and willingness to put themselves out there and use their skills will ensure success for students and the broader campus community.

From the words of Monahan, it seems the trustees will in fact invigorate the campus community. Monahan said, “The new trustees are energetic and passionate about sharing their expertise. They are open to the views of others and are committed to supporting the mission of the University.” Many of the trustees are alumni and are passionate about giving back to the school that helped shape them. And other non-alumni trustees want to assist in producing young scholars and advocating for their needs.

Board member Dauwer, a Sister of Charity in Chicago was offered the opportunity to join the board through her organization’s connection to the Daughters of Charity in Emmitsburg. Dauwer has been in higher education for many years and has worked with both traditional and non-traditional undergraduate students. Dauwer shared, “I think I can offer my gifts and experiences in a couple of ways. I have experience on the academic side so right now I am on the Student Success Committee of the board and we’re helping to look at new offerings of majors and minors.”


Dauwer's double background in religious and educational life is what the Mount is all about.  Dauwer “values the ministry of higher education in all its diversity.” A passion for education in its variety is what the Mount needs as it grows.

Like Dauwer, Hilgartner has a passion for education and religious life. Hilgartner is not only a Mount alumnus but was a former Chaplin and Director of campus ministry at the Mount from 2005 to 2007.

He has a long history at the University, he was a freshman the year before the ARCC was built. Hilgartner sees the Mount as being central to his formation and wants to share that great formation with the younger generation.

Hilgartner’s connection with the Mount and his background can help the University achieve academic and religious goals. He stated, “As a faith-based institution, we want to support people living ethically, living morally, living justly and living a path of holiness. It is something I want to be able to contribute to.”

The Mount extends a warm welcome to the new Board of Trustees members and is looking forward to their contributions to the community.


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