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Grateful Grad: Daniel Sinnott, C'77

Office of Alumni Engagement

I only applied to two colleges; the Mount acceptance letter was followed by a rejection letter from the other college. Decision made. Divine intervention? Some would say the Mount “chose” me for my college experience. 

dan-sinnott_gratefulgrad-in-text.jpgQ. Tell us about yourself.

A. I was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. My father was a steel worker and my mother was a nurse. After attending Catholic grade school and high school, I followed my parents’ plan that I would go to college. At that time, half of the guys I went to high school with went to work at Bethlehem Steel and the other half went to college.

I only applied to two colleges; the Mount acceptance letter was followed by a rejection letter from the other college. Decision made. Divine intervention? Some would say the Mount “chose” me for my college experience.

Q. What is a lesson you learned at the Mount that has impacted your life?

A. When I arrived at the Mount I was “lost and afraid” with little to no confidence. At the time I was unsure why, but I now realize it was because I had experienced a childhood trauma that had a significant impact on my life. My freshman year was difficult in many ways, especially academically. My first semester GPA was “south of a 2.0,” and I thought about quitting.

But the small campus size and closeness of the student body enabled me to form so many close friendships and gave me the confidence to keep trying. By the end of the second semester of my freshman year, things began to improve academically and personally.

Fast forward to my senior year graduation; a time when I reflected on how I was fortunate to be part of multiple intramural championships, shocked my family to this day having graduated with honors and formed many lifelong friendships that all helped to form a solid foundation for future personal and professional success.

Q. Who was your favorite professor?

A. Professor Ed Ryan, who was the head of the Spanish Department and my advisor for all four years. I met Professor Ryan on my first day of freshman year orientation. While registering in the old “airplane hangar” gym I was shocked to learn I was registered as a math major. Imagine being nervous to begin with and now being informed I was enrolled as a math major, not one of my strongest academic skills. I was ready to turn around and go home.

I was then introduced to Professor Ryan who immediately calmed me (and my parents) down, and he began to work his magic on getting my course schedule completely overhauled. From that day forward we developed a very strong relationship that over the years continued to grow.

Professor Ryan was not afraid to offer his support and share his opinion when he thought I was messing up or not working hard enough. I can still remember him looking at me over his glasses and saying, “Is that the best you could do?” His words are still motivating to this day! At that time, Professor Ryan saw more in me than I saw in myself, and I remain eternally grateful for his quiet yet impactful influence in my life.

Q. What is your favorite Mount memory?

A. There is no one memory that stands out, but what stands out the most is the lifelong friendships that were created and still exist to this day from my Mount experience. For example, I remain connected with many of my friends from the Mount, which often surprises others who ask, “You are still connected with your college friends?”

Whether it is getting together for an annual fall golf weekend in the Poconos, reconnecting with fellow Mounties at the annual Kidney Open golf tournament I co-sponsor, visiting with Mount friends while summer vacationing at the Jersey Shore or now making annual “road trips” to visit with recent Mount retirees in North Carolina, staying connected with my Mount friends has become a priority filled with retelling a few stories while also creating many new memories.

Q. Tell us about your career and your current position.

A. After graduating with a dual degree in social welfare and sociology and a minor in psychology, I began my healthcare career as a hospital social worker in a Catholic Hospital outside of Philadelphia. I fell in love with the whole mission and purpose of Catholic healthcare, especially with helping those in need.

My career path was influenced when my boss, a nun, one day said, “Get the hell out of here.” My first thought was How I was going to tell my mother I just got fired by a nun? I later learned from my boss that her real message to me was to go get whatever education I need now before life got too complicated. That direct conversation led me to pursue a career in hospital administration.

Around that same time, I set a career goal to become a hospital CEO by the age of 40. After getting my MBA in Health Administration from Temple University in Philadelphia, my health administration career began back in Catholic healthcare. By the age of 39, I became the CEO of St. Agnes Medical Center in Philadelphia.

For the past 28 years, I have been a CEO of either a hospital or my own consulting business, Sinnott Executive Consulting. I am presently semi-retired while still helping first-time CEOs that must turn around their organization’s financial and operating performance.

Q. Why do you support the Mount?

A. The Mount is not for everyone, but for those who give it a chance —it can have a tremendous impact on the rest of their lives. The small size of the student body, the religious environment and location all combine to create a unique learning environment for both academic and personal growth. Because of my great experience at the Mount, I consider it a “sacred” place.

I remember telling my wife when we were first dating that if anything bad ever happens to me, she will find me at the Mount up in the Grotto praying. The first place I went after my kidney cancer surgery was the Grotto, and I was driven there by a fellow Mount grad. My time at the Mount was foundational in my life, and I consider each donation to the Mount as an “investment” into the life of someone who has yet to realize their full potential.

Office of Alumni Engagement