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Reading It Forward: The Mount St. Mary's University Book Award

In recognition of the Mount's mission to graduate ethical leaders who lead lives of significance in service to God and others, alumnus Daniel McMahon, Ph.D., C'80, recently proposed, and the Mount established, the Mount St. Mary’s University Alumni Book Award.

book-award-thumbnail.jpgThe book award is designed to reward and inspire a rising or current service-oriented junior who is in the top 15 percent of the class at his or her high school to continue to serve others. The program, coordinated by Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Peter A. Dorsey, Ph.D., presents Mount alumni with an opportunity to demonstrate a legacy to serve others and read it forward to potential Mountaineers. 

“The alumni book award gives alumni the chance to connect with their high school and introduce prospective students to the Mount by recognizing the student's commitment to learning and service, two things that the Mount teaches so well,” said McMahon, principal of Dematha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. As an alumnus, McMahon recognizes the purpose of the Mount’s mission for the betterment of humankind. He designed the book award to embody the Mount’s vision of living lives of significance. It places value on a recipient’s intellectual achievements and desire to serve others.

Matthew Taylor, a junior at Dematha, is the first recipient of the Mount Alumni Book Award. He was awarded with Simon Winchester's The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World. Winchester’s book examines the historical narrative of the human condition through development. McMahon hopes that books awarded through this program will provide insight into the human condition as a means to encourage the recipient to pursue a life of service. 

“Dan has developed a great idea that will allow Mount alumni to spread the good news about all we do at Mount St. Mary’s," said Dorsey. "I encourage Mount graduates to inquire about starting an award at their own high school alma maters.” Mount alumni are encouraged to reach out to their high schools and inquire about the opportunity to sponsor any junior that falls within the award’s criteria. Next, the Mount alum can propose a book for the recipient to receive. Dean Dorsey has offered to lend a helping hand. Once everything is in place, the award can be integrated into the high school’s academic honors ceremony. 

For more information, contact Peter Dorsey at