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Mount St. Mary’s Celebrates Expanded Knott Academic Center

Katherine Stohlman, C'19, and Donna Klinger

Cutting the ribbon

Symbolically cutting the ribbon on the newly expanded and renovated Knott Academic Center are, from left, Boyd Creasman, Frank Bolte, Tim Trainor, Raphael Della Ratta and Robert Bream.

Mount St. Mary’s University on September 9 formally introduced the expanded and renovated Knott Academic Center to the community, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The $9.1 million project, in the making since the summer of 2019, resulted in multiple collaborative learning spaces, new classrooms, technological upgrades, improved faculty offices, new flooring and lighting, the student-run Saxbys café and more.

ac-crowd-in-text.jpgVice President for University Advancement Robert Brennan, C’85, welcomed attendees and introduced President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., who thanked faculty, students, staff, donors, trustees and alumni leaders for coming to celebrate the fruition of the project. In his remarks, Trainor emphasized the collaborations that the improved building encourages.

“These collaborative learning spaces are where what I like to call intellectual collisions happen during informal interactions between students and between students and faculty,” Trainor said. “Meaningful mentoring also occurs, helping students on their path to leading lives of significance in service to God and others.”

In recognizing the Knott Academic Center’s completion as a “successful milestone” in the university’s commitment to improve the learning and living environment for students, faculty and staff, Trainor mentioned other recent and future projects, including the new Frederick Health Emmitsburg healthcare center on campus and the upcoming Coad Science Building expansion and renovation project, which will begin in Spring 2023.

ac-ribbon-commons-crowd.jpgTrainor went on to acknowledge the donors who helped make the improved Knott Academic Center possible, including the Bolte Family Foundation, whose foundational donation funded improvements to the business school facilities, named in honor of Richard J. Bolte, Sr. in 2011. Raphael, C’92, and Charlene Della Ratta gave generously in support of the College of Liberal Arts spaces and the John F. Donovan, Ph.D. Seminar Room; and Robert, C’75, MBA’86, and Susan Bream funded the Robert & Susan Bream Academic Commons.  Trainor also thanked contributing staff members and contractors for their hard work and dedication. A state grant and other gifts also supported the project.

ac-classroom.jpgFrank Bolte, C’87, representing himself and his six brothers who are all alumni, and Bream gave brief but impactful reflections on the role the Mount has played in their lives. Closing remarks were delivered by Barbara Marinak, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education, who praised the Knott Academic Center as a “space that redefines collaboration and engagement in higher education.”

ac-breem-commons.jpgFinally, Msgr. McLean Cummings, director of spiritual formation at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, gave a blessing for the Knott Academic Center. Trainor, Bream, Della Ratta, Bolte and Provost Boyd Creasman, Ph.D., came forward together to cut the ceremonial ribbon as the crowd clapped and cheered. The ceremony concluded with student- and faculty-led tours of the facility, with stops at the John F. Donovan, Ph.D. Seminar Room; a typical classroom with enhanced technological capabilities; Palmieri Center for Entrepreneurship; Saxbys student-run café; Honors Program suite; and Robert & Susan Bream Academic Commons.

Maryann Marotta of Marotta/Main Architects designed the 12,500 square foot addition and renovations to the original 49,074 square foot building, and Morgan-Keller Construction served as the general contractor. Morgan-Keller President and CEO Bradley Guyton is an alumnus, earning both a Bachelor of Science in business and finance and an M.B.A. from the university.

View more photos of the ceremony on the university's Flickr page.

Katherine Stohlman, C'19, and Donna Klinger