More than 20 Dominican Sisters of Hope attended Mount Saint Mary College’s 14th Annual Leadership Gala Reception, honoring the Dominican Order, on Friday, December 1.
Mount Saint Mary College’s 14th Annual Leadership Gala Reception on Friday, December 1 celebrated the religious order that founded the college: the Dominican Sisters of Hope.
The sisters were honored with the Joseph A. Bonura Award for Leadership Excellence, which recognizes individuals or organizations whose professional accomplishments, service to the community, and leadership reflect the same commitment to quality, concern for neighbors, and shared prosperity that have exemplified the career and character of local restaurateur Joseph A. Bonura.
The Dominican Sisters of Hope have devoted their lives to living and preaching the Gospel message of Hope. The sisters are committed to actions for justice and fostering the Dominican charism. In the tradition of Saint Dominic, they focus their lives on prayer, study, ministry, and community.
Sr. Catherine McDonnell, OP, Prioress, accepted the award on behalf of all the Dominican Sisters.
“Over the years, Mount Saint Mary College has offered an education that leads our students down a deep and rewarding path,” said Sr. McDonnell. “But there is more. In our Dominican way of thinking, a college experience needs to be an opportunity to recognize one’s individual talents, and go beyond the basics for a genuine search for truth.”
Sr. Joanne Boneski OP ’65, a member of the Mount’s Gala committee, then honored William Kaplan, a Newburgh-based philanthropist and businessman, and the Kaplan family.
“We, the Dominican Sisters of Hope, owe you a huge debt of gratitude,” said Sr. Boneski about William Kaplan and the Kaplan Family. “You are a very important part of our legacy, aiding us to continue providing a quality education to all students, because they are our future leaders.”
The honor was accepted by Kaplan’s daughter, Joan Kaplan, Executive Director of the William and Elaine Kaplan Family Private Foundations.
Fr. Gregoire Fluet, Interim President of the Mount, then announced that the Dominican Sisters have committed $1 million to endow and name the college’s Campus Ministry, now known as the Dominican Sisters of Hope Campus Ministry. The endowment will be used to fund vital efforts, such as the Student Emergency Needs Fund, the annual Toy Drive, Ministry retreats, and more.
Michael Horodyski, president and CEO of Wallkill Valley Federal Savings and Loan and board chair at the Mount, revealed two additional endowments, both scholarship funds. The first is the Sr. Ann Sakac Endowed Scholarship, named after the college’s fourth and longest-serving president. This scholarship was established with a $100,000 gift from Penny Ducker, Class of 1973, and will be used to support new incoming students with financial need and the academic aptitude.
The second is the Sr. Leona Deboer Endowed Scholarship for Nursing, named after a seminal Professor Emerita of Nursing. The scholarship was created by an anonymous donor to support new incoming Nursing students, with financial need and the desire to serve our community through nursing.
In addition to these gifts, the Gala raised more than $100,000, which will be used to support the Dominican Sisters of Hope Empowerment Scholarship. Established by the sisters, this scholarship is awarded to academically strong female students with financial need.
Nikki Khurana-Baugh, vice president for Advancement at the Mount, noted that Mount scholarships provide an affordable, values-based education to thousands of deserving students, many of whom are among the first in their families to attend college.
To donate to any of these funds, please contact Khurana-Baugh at 845-569-3216 or Nikki.Khurana-Baugh@msmc.edu.
Khurana-Baugh thanked the local leaders who sponsored the event, including The William & Elaine Kaplan Family Private Foundation; Advance Testing Company, Inc.; the Bonura Hospitality Group; Catania, Mahon & Rider, PLLC; The Padre Pio Foundation of America; Marlboro Group International; Mental Health America of Dutchess County; PKF O’Connor Davies; Wallkill Valley Federal Savings and Loan; and the many other local businesses and friends that sponsored the event.
More about the Dominican Sisters
The Dominican Sisters of Hope have committed their lives to living and preaching the Gospel message of Hope.
Founded in 1995 from communities in Newburgh, N.Y., Fall River, Mass., and Ossining, N.Y., they are now based in The Center at Mariandale, with sisters living in nine states and Puerto Rico.
The Dominican Sisters of Hope express their core values by living interdependently with all of creation, committing to actions for justice, and fostering the Dominican charism. In the tradition of Saint Dominic, they focus their lives on prayer, study, ministry, and community. While traditionally teachers and nurses, the sisters are everything from gymnasts to beekeepers to poets, and more.
In 1883, four Dominican Sisters established Mount Saint Mary Academy in Newburgh. In 1959, Mount Saint Mary College became a four-year institution. Sr. Ann Sakac, OP, served as the president from 1976-2008, and Sr. Agnes Boyle, OP, served as the VP of Academic Advancement for 30 years. Other sisters served as faculty, and many earned their degrees from the Mount. The sisters continue to minister to students, as the college continues to bring life to the sisters’ legacy and mission. The Dominican Sisters of Hope are proud to honor the heritage of the founding of Mount Saint Mary College.
In 2018, the Dominican Sisters preserved 34 acres of the Mariandale property, conserving a nearly one-mile stretch of shoreline along the Hudson River. The retreat center and the land make Mariandale a source of healing for body, mind, and spirit, as well as a place of refuge for all of creation.