The Mount Saint Mary College community, distinguished local leaders, and friends of the college celebrated the inauguration of Dr. Jason N. Adsit, the Mount’s seventh president, on Friday, September 13.
Dr. Adsit began his tenure at the Mount on June 1, 2018, succeeding interim president Dr. David A. Kennett. The college’s Board of Trustees selected Dr. Adsit following a national search and valuable input from the Mount community.
Since taking the reins, Dr. Adsit has quickly become a fixture at the college. His vision for the Mount’s future is a comprehensive, institution-wide commitment to service-learning and community engagement. Students, faculty, and staff will participate in a broad array of high-impact practices related to service-learning across the entire institution. Professors will develop service-learning components within all academic programs, the college will increase meaningful connections with additional local service organizations, students will be given opportunities to engage in study abroad trips with a strong service component, and more.
Dr. Adsit joined the Mount family from D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y., where he served as Dean of the School of Arts, Sciences, and Education, as well as Director of the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program. As chief academic officer, Dr. Adsit oversaw all undergraduate and graduate programs in the School, including the departments of Biology and Mathematics, Business, Chemistry, Education, and Liberal Arts.
An accomplished author and speaker, Dr. Adsit earned a doctoral degree in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from American University in Washington, D.C.
An inauguration Mass was concelebrated that morning by Cardinal Timothy Dolan; Bishop Dominick J. Lagonegro, DD; Fr. Kevin E. Mackin, OFM, fifth president of the Mount; and Fr. Gregoire J. Fluet, college chaplain and director of Campus Ministry.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, greets Dr. Adsit at the Inauguration Mass on Friday morning.
At the inauguration ceremony that afternoon, college trustees, campus personnel, student leaders, and regional leaders such as William Kaplan, Newburgh businessman and philanthropist, and Sr. Ann Sakac, OP, fourth president of the Mount, were present in recognition of Dr. Adsit’s current and future service to the college.
Cardinal Dolan gave the invocation: “We are confident in your presence, Jesus… your presence we already honor on this beautiful, historic campus,” he said. “Your presence in our faculty, our Dominican Sisters, our board, our administration, so many workers, volunteers, and benefactors, especially our students. And in a particular way, we beseech your continued presence, your wisdom and guidance, upon our new president, Dr. Jason Adsit.”
Michael J. Olivette, vice president for Academic Affairs at the Mount, welcomed Dr. Adsit and the enthusiastic crowd: “Dr. Adsit’s inauguration celebrates the beginning of the Mount’s next chapter,” he said. “Under his leadership, we have embraced a vision for our future – to build upon the college’s long-standing dedication to service.”
Among those who offered words of encouragement to Dr. Adsit were Beverly Mennerich ’68,president of the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the Mount Alumni Association; Sr. Catherine McDonnell, OP ’69, prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Hope; and Nancy H. Blattner, president of Caldwell University.
“Dr. Adsit’s energy, enthusiasm, educational training, and experience make him the best person to lead this fine institution of higher learning,” saidNewburgh mayor and Mount alumnus Torrance Harvey MSEd ’03. “Human compassion and empathy are the hallmarks of leadership.”
Sr. Margaret Anderson, OP ’67, who serves on the Dominican Sisters of Hope Leadership Council, is the former vice chair of the Mount Saint Mary College Board and was co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee. She said that a great work ethic and a wonderful family life are close to Dr. Adsit’s heart. In attendance, she noted, were Dr. Adsit’s wife, Heather, and his five children – three boys and two girls – ranging in age from 5 to 11 years old. They all enthusiastically supported him in his journey to the Mount presidency, she said.
Edward Arnold, president of the college’s Student Government Association and member of the Class of 2021, thanked Dr. Adsit for his commitment to strengthening the Mount community.
“We look forward to the years ahead with you, Dr. Adsit, and to the opportunities your new leadership promises,” he said.
English professor James Finn Cotter offered Dr. Adsit gratitude for his leadership, his support of academic excellence, and his “lively wit and humor.” As the longest serving member of the Mount faculty, Cotter carried the ceremonial mace, emblazoned with the college’s motto, doce me veritatem (teach me the truth).
Cotter passed the mace to Dr. Kennett, who entrusted it to Dr. Adsit.
Anthony Liotti, vice chair of the college’s Board of Trustees, presented Dr. Adsit with the Mount Saint Mary College charter, which represents the college’s official right to educate students.
Charles P. Frank, chairman of the college’s Board of Trustees,praised Dr. Adsit for his leadership and vision for the future of the college.
“He is a man of thoughtful leadership, who handles adversity and pressure with a consistently positive spirit, and who inspires everyone to get in the boat and row with him with equal fervor towards a better future for Mount Saint Mary College,” said Frank. “His vision of bringing service to others into the forefront of all we do here at the Mount was a brilliant step, focusing everything we do on the central core of the Catholic foundation brought to us by… the Dominican Sisters who join us here today.”
Then, Frank presented Dr. Adsit with the Presidential Medallion and Chain of Office: “As we confer this medallion, Dr. Adsit accepts his role as president of Mount Saint Mary College and pledges to uphold and enhance the Dominican values that have helped the Mount and its students to thrive for the last 60 years,” he said.
Dr. Adsit thanked the many faculty, staff, students, and friends of the college who made the inauguration celebration possible, as well as the Dominican Sisters of Hope who founded the college 60 years ago this October, using as a guideline the four pillars of Dominican life: study, spirituality, service, and community.
To the students, Dr. Adsit said, “You're the reason why we exist, and why I get up every morning trying to figure out how we can make the best educational experience we can for you. Then I go to bed each night wanting to make it better for you the next day.”
Dr. Adsit reiterated the Mount’s dedication to service and community outreach.
“We are going to become the most community service-based college in the United States. We are going to do that,” he said. “When you’re in the service of others, you’re in the service of God.”
He added, “Pour yourself out. Light the lamp. Spark a change. Put yourself last and discover the authentic person who is revealed through your selfless acts of service. Because then you will find peace. Peace be upon all of you.”
James Finn Cotter (center), professor of English and longest-serving professor at the Mount, presents the ceremonial mace to Dr. Adsit (left) upon his inauguration as the college's seventh president. Dr. David Kennett, interim president from 2016-2018, passed the mace to Dr. Adsit to represent the handing over of the college's leadership.