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MSMU President Trainor Announces His Retirement

Donna Klinger

Trainor video announcement

In a video message to the Mount St. Mary’s University community, President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., today announced that he will retire in the summer of 2024. Following much discussion and reflection, he and his wife Donna have decided to dedicate the next phase in their careers to spending more time with family and sharing their knowledge of leadership to help other organizations thrive.

“We will have been here eight years and accomplished much of what we set out to do—stabilize the university by growing enrollments, raising funds for critical projects and implementing a strategic plan to guide us to a thriving future,” Trainor said. “We did this together, as an incredibly strong and resilient community, and for that I will be forever grateful.”

Since August 2016, President Trainor expertly guided the university through two destabilizing periods: the leadership crisis that brought him to the Mount and the pandemic. While many colleges and universities experienced turmoil during the pandemic, the Mount retained its entire workforce throughout the period and had its largest first-year class ever in the fall of 2020. Undergraduate and graduate enrollment grew by 12% since 2016.

Other major accomplishments under President Trainor’s leadership include:

  • Addition of new undergraduate majors, such as data science, philosophy, politics and economics (PPE), entrepreneurship, cybersecurity and neuroscience, and graduate programs, such as applied behavior analysis.
  • Expansion of NCAA Division I athletic teams from 16 to 24 and a near doubling of the number of student-athletes. In addition, the university moved to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, resulting in greater competition and exposure for athletes and coaches and experiential learning opportunities for students through ESPN Broadcasting.
  • Investment in the university’s living and learning facilities and campus infrastructure by raising $80 million from donors, government and foundation grants and other benefactors. Projects have included the expansion and renovation of Knott Academic Center, renovation of the Tower apartment buildings, seminary facilities upgrades, and building of the Palmieri Activities Center, a two-story residential cottage, and an admissions welcome center.
  • Growth at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, resulting in the seminary’s recognition as the largest Catholic seminary in the country.
  • Partnerships that enable the university to bring new resources to students and the surrounding community. The Emmitsburg Urgent Care Center, in partnership with Frederick Health, provides health care not only to students but also local residents. The Daughters of Charity is a key partner in realizing the vision of the Graduate School of Health Professions, which will be located in a soon-to-be-renovated space at the Daughters’ Saint Joseph House in Emmitsburg. In addition, the Daughters are also providing space for the seminary’s Blessed Stanley Rother House of Formation.
  • Stewardship of the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, including a year-long refurbishment of the landmark Blessed Virgin Mary statue. The Grotto continues to draw hundreds of thousands of the faithful annually for devotion to Our Blessed Mother and quiet prayerful reflection.

“I continue to be in awe of the outstanding accomplishments that have been achieved under the leadership of President Trainor.  It has been a blessing to work with him to push our plan forward,” said Gracelyn McDermott, C’93, chair of the MSMU Board of Trustees. “I am also grateful for the opportunity to continue partnering with him through this transition to ensure that we continue our progress toward our vision.”

In his message to the Mount community, Trainor committed to remaining fully engaged as president until the summer of 2024. Over the next 16 months, the focus will be on reaccreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the introduction of new academic programs, planning for opening the doors of the Blessed Stanley Rother House of Formation in the fall of 2023 and the Graduate School of Health Professions in the fall of 2024, and construction of the expansion of the Coad Science Building and of the Rooney Athletic Performance Center and other enhancements to athletic facilities.

Trainor views the summer of 2024 as an appropriate time for the transition to a new president, noting that the university’s strategic plan ends in 2025. The next president will be able to learn from the reaccreditation self-study process and feedback from the Middle States reaccreditation in order to launch a collaborative process in academic year 2024-25 to develop the next strategic plan.

The board of trustees has engaged the services of Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive search firm. Russell Reynolds representatives will visit campus this spring to engage the Mount community in developing a position profile for use in advertising the position. The timeline calls for advertising and searching for candidates in the summer, reviewing and vetting candidates in the fall, and selecting the 27th president in the university’s 215-year history by the end of 2023.

“This will allow the new president to do some engagement with me and our community in the first half of 2024 before assuming the position in the summer of 2024,” Trainor said.


Donna Klinger