- by Mount Saint Mary College
Sr. Ann Sakac's funeral Mass was celebrated at Mount Saint Mary College

Sr. Ann Sakac, OP, a beloved president of Mount Saint Mary College for more than three decades, was laid to rest on Tuesday, January 30.

A funeral Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Gregoire Fluet, Interim President of the Mount, and the Most Rev. Dominick John Lagonegro. Scores of professors, students, staff, and alumni of the Mount attended, as well as Sr. Sakac’s fellow Dominican Sisters and her friends from the community. A livestream of the event was viewed by more than 100 people.

Sr. Sakac “truly cared about everyone working at Mount Saint Mary College, and she cared about our families,” said James Raimo, former Acting President of the Mount, during a preceding prayer session. “She cared about everyone here – the students and the local community.”

Sr. Sakac began her time at the Mount in 1969 as a professor of English and assistant dean of students. She spent 32 years as president of the college, first as acting president from 1976 to 1977, then as president from 1977 to 2008. When she stepped down, Sr. Sakac remained devoted to the college she loved for the next 15-plus years.

During a reflection at the funeral Mass, Sr. Catherine Walsh, OP ’70, former professor of Communications at the college, discussed Sr. Sakac’s immeasurable impact on the Mount.

“Students often spoke of her interest in them and the attention she gave to them. None were excluded,” said Sr. Walsh. Sr. Sakac made it her top priority “to assist the development and growth of the college for the sake of providing an excellent education for its students. She fostered an atmosphere of inclusion. Her leadership had all of the college doing their very best. She exemplified the way we were to be as a college, how we were to achieve success.”

Over her three decades as president, Sr. Sakac oversaw much of the Mount’s expansion from a fledgling institution to a pillar of the community. Some of the highlights of Sr. Sakac’s tenure as Mount president include the development of the college’s first master’s degree program; a new residence hall called Sakac Hall, and renovations to Guzman Hall; the renovation and development of the Mathematics, Science and Technology Center in Aquinas Hall, and the opening of the Elaine and William Kaplan Recreation Center.

The Most Rev. Lagonegro praised Sr. Sakac’s love of God, her community, her fellow sisters, Mount Saint Mary College, and more.

“What a great, great woman,” he said. “It is her commitment to God, her commitment to the wonderful [Dominican] Sisters of Hope, her commitment to religious life, her commitment to the Mount, her commitment to Newburgh, and her commitment to her family in friends that we celebrate today.”

Sr. Margaret “Peggy” Murphy, OP, a Dominican Sister and retired Mount Religious Studies professor at the college, sang the Mount’s alma mater near the end of the Mass to honor Sr. Sakac’s legacy.

Sr. Sakac was buried in the Dominican Sisters Cemetery on the Mount campus.