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Mount St. Mary's President and Alumni Receive Fr. John McElroy Award

Donna Klinger

Fr John McElroy Award presentation

Fr. John McElroy Award recipients Matthew Warner, Marybeth Warner and President Tim Trainor pose with Michelle Corr, Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori, S'77, and Bill Milani.

Friends of Catholic Education recently honored Mount St. Mary’s University President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., with the Fr. John McElroy Award. Also receiving the award were Matthew and Marybeth Warner, graduates of the Mount St. Mary’s Classes of 1988 and 1989, respectively. The award is given annually to individuals whose actions and achievements have furthered Catholic education in Frederick County.

trainor-foce-award-in-text.jpgIn speaking about Trainor’s leadership in advance of presenting the award, Gracelyn McDermott, C’93, chair of the Mount St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees, shared insights about Trainor’s impact through his service as the 26th president of the Mount. “In my leadership role with the university’s board of trustees, I have had the privilege of working closely with Tim and enthusiastically attest to his impact on the university and the local community,” she said. “We are deeply appreciative of, as he would put it, the way the goodness of the university has spread during his accomplished tenure.”

Since coming to the Mount in 2016, Trainor has led the university through two destabilizing crises: the leadership crisis that brought him to the Mount upon his retirement as chief academic officer at the U.S. Military Academy and the pandemic. He will retire from the university in the summer of 2024.

While many colleges and universities experienced turmoil during the shutdown phase of the pandemic and laid off employees, the Mount retained its entire workforce throughout the period, regardless of whether their position enabled them to work remotely. This caring stewardship of the Mount community also helped the surrounding communities. In the fall of 2020, the Mount had its largest first-year class ever as high school students and their families showed their trust and confidence that the university could safely educate students on campus. Undergraduate and graduate enrollment has grown by more than 10% since 2016.

During Trainor’s tenure, the university has added new undergraduate majors in fields that meet the needs of area employers, including data science, cybersecurity and neuroscience, and graduate programs, such as applied behavior analysis. The Mount also expanded the number of NCAA Division I athletic teams from 16 to 24 and nearly doubled the number of student-athletes. In addition, the university moved to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), resulting in greater competition and exposure for athletes and coaches and valuable learning opportunities for students through ESPN Broadcasting.

The university also entered into 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 residents. The Daughters of Charity is a key partner in realizing the vision of the Graduate School of Health Professions, which will be in a soon-to-be-renovated space at the Daughters’ Saint Joseph House in Emmitsburg. The new school will include a physician assistant program that will help relieve the healthcare provider shortage. In addition, the Daughters of Charity community is also providing space for the seminary’s Blessed Stanley Rother House of Formation for seminarians in the propaedeutic stage of formation. Mount St. Mary’s Seminary is now the largest Catholic seminary in the country.

Trainor also led efforts to invest 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 the building of the Palmieri Activities Center, a two-story residential cottage, and an admissions welcome center. Current projects include an addition to and renovation of the Coad Science Building and the renovation of a wing at Saint Joseph House for the School of Health Professions.

Under Trainor’s presidency, the university also oversaw a year-long refurbishment of the landmark Blessed Virgin Mary statue at the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Grotto continues to draw hundreds of thousands of the faithful annually for devotion to Our Blessed Mother and quiet prayerful reflection.

The Mount is among the education institutions that the Warners have supported in Frederick County. The couple funded the Matthew and Marybeth Warner Pavilion inside Waldron Stadium and participated in other philanthropic efforts. Matthew Warner serves as president of R.W. Warner, which has built several campus facilities.

Bill Milani, president of the Board of Trustees of Friends of Catholic Education, and Friends of Catholic Education Executive Director Michele Corr presented Trainor and the Warners with their awards.

Donna Klinger