Mount community forms human chain, passes books to new library in Dominican Center

January 31, 2014

Newburgh, NY -

Procession of Books

Brett Bondar, Information Technology Support Center coordinator, leads the first book down the human chain with traditional bagpipe music. Photo by Lee Ferris.

Hundreds from the Mount Saint Mary College community – students, alumni, faculty, staff, friends, and neighbors – recently gathered to form a human chain, and passed 25 final selected books to the college’s new, state-of-the-art library.

The chain spanned from Aquinas Hall up the hill to the recently opened Dominican Center: new site of the Mount Saint Mary College Library.

James Finn Cotter, an English scholar for more than half a century, started the books off at the old library. Mount President Fr. Kevin E. Mackin, OFM, received them at the new library.

The selected tomes symbolize the breadth of the Mount’s academic programs, including arts and letters, natural and social sciences, philosophy and religious studies, nursing and transcultural service, mathematics, business, education, and more, appropriately including a dictionary and a Bible. Among others were “Luther’s Works” by Martin Luther, “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith, and “The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children” by Gloria Ladson-Billings.

The chain mirrored a similar event in Mount history, when students and faculty helped move the library contents from the Villa Madonna to Aquinas Hall.

Procession of Books

Nick Valentine, former Newburgh mayor, passes a book to a Mount Saint Mary College student during the procession. Photo by Mount Saint Mary College.

Passing the books were representatives of each of the college’s disciplines, including Sr. Marion Beagen, OP, and Sr. Pat Sullivan, OP, professor of mathematics, who have been members of the community since before the first book procession on another winter day in 1963.

Also on hand was Sr. Margaret Anderson, OP, of the board of directors of Newburgh Ministry.

The new library contains about 100,000 volumes, audio visual materials, and access to numerous databases of journals and other scholarly articles.

“The opening of the Mount Saint Mary College Library in the Dominican Center is a milestone in the history of Mount Saint Mary College,” explained Barbara Petruzzelli, Mount librarian. “The college will find this one of the best places on campus for authentic learning.”

The move was accompanied by the melodic skirl of the Mount’s resident bagpiper, Brett Bondar, Information Technology Support Center coordinator.

Procession of Books

Fr. Kevin E. Mackin, OFM, president of Mount Saint Mary College, hands a book to (left to right) Sr. Ann Sakac, OP, president emerita; James Finn Cotter, professor of English; and William Kaplan, businessman and philanthropist. Photo by Lee Ferris.

Students have been enjoying the new library since the beginning of January. It was first utilized by 94 Latin American students from International Business School – São Paulo in Brazil, who completed a three-week business course at the college.

Blessing of Books

Fr. Kevin E. Mackin, OFM, recently blessed the first dozen books placed in the Dominican Center’s new library. Photo by Lee Ferris.

Before Christmas break, Fr. Mackin blessed the first selected books, including “Transcultural Nursing Theory and Models” by Mount nursing professor Priscilla Sagar.

“I truly believe that Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation and past president of the New York Public Library, has captured what a library is,” said Fr. Mackin. “He said, ‘Above all else, the library constitutes an act of faith in the continuity of life. It represents – embodies – the spirit of humanity in all ages. Together with the museum, the library is the DNA of our culture.’ ”

Click here to view more photos from this event.