- by Mount Saint Mary College
Mount Saint Mary College students walking outside of Guzman Hall, where the Community Engagement and Wellness Center will be located.

New York State recently awarded a $1 million Higher Education Capital (HECap) matching grant to Mount Saint Mary College for the construction of a Community Engagement and Wellness Center on campus.

Under this program, New York State will contribute one dollar of support for every three dollars spent by the Mount, for a total of $1 million in grant aid.

The facilities made possible through the HECap grant program are intended to become centerpieces of their communities, and the Mount Saint Mary College Community Engagement and Wellness Center will be no exception.

The center will be located on the college's main campus in what is currently Guzman Hall. It will provide medical and educational services for low income individuals and families, including the uninsured. The center will offer workshops, family counseling services, fitness checks, immunizations, professional development events, and more for local residents. Once completed, the college expects the center to serve more than 4,000 residents per year. In addition to providing opportunities for area educators and professionals to volunteer their services, the center will also house the college's Desmond programing for adult enrichment.

The HECap grant comes just weeks after the college secured a $425,000 grant towards the wellness center from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of targeted communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services.

"Mount Saint Mary College is truly grateful to New York State and the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation for helping us to create the Community Engagement and Wellness Center," said Dr. Jason N. Adsit, president of the Mount. "We're excited to be giving the local community access to the care and education programs they need, while honoring our founding Dominican Sisters and their legacy of service."

Mount volunteers Veronica Malloy ‘17 (standing, center) and Christina Vakirtzis ‘20 (standing, left) teach a literacy course of their own design at the Newburgh Ministry, before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Mount prepares students for fulfilling careers and for lives of leadership and service. Recently, Dr. Adsit announced his vision for the Mount's future – one that involves a comprehensive, institution-wide commitment to service-learning and community engagement. With the goal of becoming the most community service-oriented college in the United States, the Mount will move into the future by embracing and amplifying the concept that is at its core: service matters. The Mount Community Engagement and Wellness Center will be a major part of achieving this goal by fostering care that is humanistic, empowering, and client-centered.

Compassionate care at the center will be modeled by Mount faculty and students. The college's School of Nursing will play a large role in carrying out the center's mission of aiding Newburgh residents who have little or no access to basic health care services. As the center develops, faculty and hundreds of students in the college's Business, Education, Social Sciences, and many other disciplines will also lend their skills to the program.

In the first 12 months of the project, the Mount is planning on completing the necessary renovations to Guzman Hall; collaborating with community partners like Montefiore St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital, the City of Newburgh, Newburgh Ministry, and more to identify critical areas of need; and developing a full programming map for the center.


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