Mother Leo Vincent Short, OP (1960-1964), the first president and co-founder of the college
Mother M. Leo Vincent Short (Sr. Kathleen Short), the Superior of the Newburgh Dominicans since 1959, was President and co-founder of the college with Sr. Mary Vincent Ralph who served as the first Academic Dean. Both had served in teaching and administrative capacities on the elementary and secondary levels and both were fully committed to making the fledgling college a success. Mother Short oversaw the very beginnings of the college's founding, including the charter that allowed the school to become a four-year institution in 1959 and opening the college up to lay women in addition to religious sisters, in addition to the school's first bachelor's degrees. She stepped down as college president in 1964, as the duties of being the president and Superior of the Newburgh Dominicans was too demanding, but she was chairman of the Board of Trustees until 1970. In 1971, the college conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon Mother M. Leo Vincent Short for her dedication to the college at its founding and beyond.
Sr. Mary Francis McDonald, OP (1964-1972)
Sr. Mary Francis, a native of Poughkeepsie, was involved with the Mount from its first days in the Villa, teaching classics and acting as its first Dean of Students. A scholar, whose work on the early church fathers had led to several volumes of translation, she expanded the faculty and the Board of Trustees; she also supervised changes in the core requirements and in the curriculum. She helped sponsor numerous ecumenical lectures, especially in the field of Judeo-Christian studies. As president, she met frequently with faculty and students in an ambiance that echoed the intimacy of the early days in the Villa. She was named Superior General of the order in 1971, and a new presidential search began. She received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Mount in 1984.
Dr. William T. O'Hara (1972-1976)
Dr. William T. O’Hara joined the Mount in 1972 as the college’s third president and a professor of Constitutional Law. Throughout his four-year tenure at the Mount, he oversaw the development of the Center for Community and Educational Services, a program that allowed adult students to attend classes on the weekends. The program was the forerunner to the college’s current continuing education program.
O’Hara also established the Business Administration program, began fundraising for a student center on campus, and was passionate about using the Mount’s research and educational opportunities to benefit the local community as well as its students.
O’Hara left the Mount in 1976 to become the fifth president of Bryant University in Rhode Island and professor of Management, a position he held until retiring in 1989. He passed away in 2018 in Rhode Island.
Sr. Ann Sakac (1976-2008)
Sr. Ann Sakac took the helm at the Mount in 1976, but she had been part of the college community since 1969 as a professor of English and assistant dean of students. Under her 32-year leadership at the college, Sr. Sakac oversaw much of the college's expansion from a fledging institution to a pillar of the community. Some of the highlights of her tenure at the Mount include the acquisition of the Desmond Estate, which is now home to the college's community education program; the development of the college's first master's degree program; the opening of the Kaplan Recreation Center and Hudson Hall; new dormitories in Sakac Hall and renovations to Guzman Hall; and the renovation and development of the Mathematics, Science and Technology Center in Aquinas Hall. Sr. Sakac stepped down from her role as president in 2008, but continues to be an important member of the Mount community.
Father Kevin E. Mackin, OFM (2008-2014)
Fr. Kevin E. Mackin, OFM was appointed the Mount's fifth president in July of 2008 from Siena College, where he had served as president for 11 years. Under Fr. Mackin's direction, the college purchased the Dominican Center, and launched “A Call to Excellence: The Campaign for the Dominican Center” in 2012, to raise $10 million for the transformation to a new, truly state-of-the-art library and living-learning environment. He also oversaw the establishment the Catholic and Dominican Institute, lowering the student-to-faculty ratio, renovation of athletic fields, and being ranked a Tier 1 Regional University by U.S. News & World Report.
On the academic front, Fr. Kevin established a new interdisciplinary major in technology and digital media, assisted the School of Business in receiving specialized accreditation, created a fully online RN to BS program, and introduced a Sports Management concentration. He also oversaw the transition of the Divisions of Nursing and Business into Schools. Fr. Mackin returned in 2014.
Dr. Anne Carson Daly (2014-2016)
Dr. Anne Carson Daly joined the Mount in 2014 as the college's sixth president. During Daly’s term, the Mount added attractive academic programs, increased enrollment, improved freshman-to-sophomore retention rates to an all-time high, exceeded yearly Advancement goals, increased on-campus residency to record levels, and launched a strong five-year Strategic Plan.
Citing family needs, Daly stepped down from the presidency in April 2016.
Dr. David A. Kennett (Interim, 2016-2018)
Following Daly's departure from the Mount, the Board of Trustees elected to hire an interim president while a more thorough search process could take place. Dr. David A. Kennett, a professor of Economics from Vassar College, began as the Mount's interim president in August of 2016 and remained through June 2018. Kennettsuccessfully navigated the Mount through the reaccreditation process for the prestigious Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The important project lasted for the majority of his two-year term, and required aid from the entire college community.
Dr. Jason N. Adsit (2018-present)
Dr. Jason N. Adsit began his tenure at the Mount in June 2018. He comes to the college from D'Youville College in Buffalo, NY where he was the Dean of the School of Arts, Sciences, and Education, as well as Director of the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program. He is energized and passionate about the Mount as he enters into his first academic year as president of the Mount.