- by Mount Saint Mary College

Mount Saint Mary College’s Dominican Scholars of Hope (DSH) recently continued their mission of service by donating $500 to the Academia San José in Puerto Rico, a fellow Dominican school. 

Mount Criminology major Kim Uszacki of Staten Island, N.Y., a sophomore, presented the check to Mount Trustee Sr. Constance Koch, OP ’71 on Tuesday, October 6. The donation will be sent to the Academia San José in Puerto Rico, a school the DSH adopted more than a year ago as an ongoing recipient of their fundraising efforts.

The DSH program is spearheaded by Charles Zola, assistant to the president for Mission Integration, director of the Mount’s Catholic and Dominican Institute, and associate professor of Philosophy.

 The scholars raised the money for Academia San José through a series of Krispy Kreme donut fundraisers held on the Mount campus. Though the exact use has yet to be determined, the donation will be put towards the needs of the students. For example, the last contribution the Dominican Scholars made to the school went to help defray the cost of their yearbook.

 The Mount has a long history with Academia San José. The principal of the school is Sr. John Christian McCabe, OP, who taught Latin and History at Mount Saint Mary Academy in Newburgh in the early 1960s. (The academy was one of the precursors to Mount Saint Mary College.) In addition, Irene Nunnari, a popular professor emerita at the college, had taught at Academia San José before coming to the Mount in 1966.

Rooted in the values of the Judeo-Christian and Dominican heritage of the college, the Dominican Scholars of Hope is a nonacademic living and learning community for highly motivated Mount students. Following in the footsteps of St. Dominic de Guzman, the DSH are steeped in the Dominican tradition of service. Under Zola’s leadership, the scholars have donated thousands of dollars to local charities and spent many hours volunteering in the local community. They strive to follow the four pillars of Dominican life: study, spirituality, service, and community.

Zola said he is “very proud of this group of students. They have shown a special interest and desire to integrate the Dominican pillars more fully into their college career.”  

The recent Dominican Scholars’ donation was part of Founders Week at Mount Saint Mary College, which celebrates the legacy of St. Dominic de Guzman and the Dominican Sisters of Newburgh. The event is sponsored yearly by the Catholic and Dominican Institute.

“As a sign of our gratitude for the sacrifices they made, we remember and celebrate the Dominican Sisters who founded the college, as well as the sisters who are still with us and carry on that incredible legacy of the search for truth,” explained Zola, “Without the Dominican Sisters, there would be no Mount Saint Mary College.” 

St. Dominic made innumerable contributions to Christianity more than 800 years ago, all while living a simple, joyful life. The Dominican Sisters, who are from the religious order Dominic inspired, established Mount Saint Mary College as a four-year institution more than 60 years ago. Now, more than 18,000 graduates and six decades later, the Mount continues its rich tradition of academic excellence and dedication to service.

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