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    The path to Commencement was paved with many memories during the 2015-2016 school year...the 90th in the history of L.A.'s Mount Saint Mary's University.

    Looking back at the Mount's unstoppable 90th year

     
    It's impossible to capture a complete picture of Mount Saint Mary's momentous 90th year...but we'll try. Below are some of the highlights from yet another dynamic, action-packed year at Los Angeles' only women's university. For a perspective straight from the newest group of Athenians in the Mount Alums family, check out the video: "Looking Back: Reflections from the Class of 2016.

    August 2015

    Welcome Week marked not only the start of the 2015-2016 school year but the beginning of a yearlong 90th anniversary celebration of Mount Saint Mary’s University’s founding. Festivities included commuter retreats, game days, orientation group reunions, movie nights, Athenian cafes, an AtheNEON Night workout dance party, welcome mass, a Mount birthday celebration and a special proclamation by the Los Angeles City Council.

    The University expanded its RN to BSN program to Mt. San Antonio College’s campus in Walnut, Calif. The partnership is meeting the growing demand of Mt. SAC alums seeking BSN degrees, which are becoming the nursing profession’s standard, while addressing the shortage of available programs in that college’s service area. 

    Mount Saint Mary’s Institute for Student Academic Enrichment (ISAE), established in 1988, received federal funding to continue the program for another five years. ISAE provides first-generation, low-income and disabled undergraduate students with counseling support and guidance, a peer mentor program, and events that enable students to gain valuable cultural enrichment and leadership skills. At the Mount, 82% of students are women of color, 98% depend on financial aid and approximately 50% are first-generation college students.

    The Mount expanded its research on women’s issues with publication of a Report on the Status of Women and Girls in Kern County. The study, conducted in partnership with the Kern Community Foundation and United Way of Kern County, looked at the issues and trends affecting the lives of the nearly 425,000 women and girls living in the county. Since 2015, the University has completed local-level gendered studies for Los Angeles County and the cities of Glendale, Los Angeles and Pasadena.

    September 2015

    At the Mount’s fourth annual Women’s Leadership Conference, more than a dozen women heroes – from rocket scientists, nonprofit heroes and acclaimed chefs to media personalities, business gurus and MacArthur geniuses – shared with more than 400 emerging women leaders their insights and lessons learned about succeeding, failing and rising again. The conference grew out of the Mount’s 40-year-old Women’s Leadership program, one of the oldest such programs in the nation.

    The Mount launched a new Master of Science in Health Policy and Management designed to prepare leaders and administrators to become health policy and healthcare system advocates. It complements a new “healthy living” track in the Master of Science in Nursing program.

    October 2015 

    More than 300 alums, students and friends of Mount Saint Mary’s marked the University’s 90th anniversary during a Homecoming 2015 celebration at the Chalon Campus. Attendees got an advance look at the Mount’s new community-wide wellness movement that will be centered by a new Wellness Pavilion, the first new construction at Chalon in more than 30 years. 

    November 2015

    Two titans of media and journalism – award-winning journalist Maria Shriver and award-winning writer, director and producer Shonda Rhimes, who has been praised for the well-rounded female characters she has created for TV shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How To Get Away With Murder” – engaged in a powerful conversation at the University’s Chalon Campus that tackled leadership, confidence and how to inspire a wave of “conscious idealists.”

    December 2015 

    The Mount’s Student Ambassador program marked its 25th year of helping middle and high school students aspire to higher education and navigate the college process from application to study habits, regardless of which college they decide to attend. Every year, the program helps more than 7,500 students, many from challenging neighborhood schools. Since 2008, the program has helped earn the University a place on the annual President’s Community Service Honor Roll. The Mount is one of only 114 schools nationwide recognized by the federal government for their commitment to community service and civic engagement in higher education.

    For one special evening, Mount Saint Mary’s Doheny Mansion transformed into the fictional Downton Abbey for a reception hosted by the University for local PBS affiliate KLCS and hundreds of guests. The event included a surprise appearance by actor Lesley Nicol, better-known for her portrayal as Mrs. Patmore in the “Downton Abbey” TV series. 

    January 2016

    Global Athenian Cafés, movie nights and game days welcomed back nearly 3,500 students to the Mount’s spring semester. Events included a campus welcome and city tour for Chinese exchange students and a kick-off of Campus Ministry’s 'Jubilee Year of Mercy' that includes Mercy Mondays, a prepackaged meal kit distribution program for the University’s homeless neighbors.

    Before a crowd that included guests, alums and students, pioneering journalist Cokie Roberts, an Emmy® Award-winning Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductee, provided insights from her career as a political commentator at NPR and ABC and as an author, and shared her thoughts about how ordinary people can become unstoppable in accomplishing the extraordinary.

    February 2016

    In commemoration of the Mount’s 90th anniversary, the University launched the CSJ Institute to preserve and advance the visionary work of the University’s founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The Institute could eventually become the primary home for national resources related to the CSJ heritage.

    Seniors Jordan Abrams ’16, Sydnei Jones ’16 and Dahlia Maldonado ’16 joined an advocacy effort organized by the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) to preserve current state funding for the “Cal Grants” program. The Athenians conducted interviews with media and met with legislators to explain the importance of Cal Grants, which especially aid first-generation and low-income college students, including many students at the University. The Mount is an AICCU member school.

    Cultivating the country’s next generation of environmental leaders was the focus of Mount Saint Mary’s conference, “Critical Teaching in Action: Environmental Education and Social Justice.” About 150 students, educators and community activists attended the event, which featured 16 interactive workshops that focused on the intersection of environmental education and social justice issues, such as clean water, food, energy and waste. The Mount’s Center for Cultural Fluency and the Elementary Teacher Preparation program launched the biennial conference in 2008.

    March 2016

    Mount Saint Mary’s put a new bounce in its step with the addition of a club basketball team to its sports offerings. With basketball, soccer and volleyball teams now in place, the Mount is building a women’s athletics program that will complement the University’s widely recognized academic programs and help expand course offerings and programs in physical education that support lifetime health and wellness.

    The Mount released its fifth annual Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™ at a forum attended by nearly 1,000 people. The study sported two new features: a “then and now” focus analyzing women’s socio-economic progress over time and an analysis of women’s participation in sports and wellness, including organized sports at the collegiate and professional levels.

    April 2016

    Mount Saint Mary’s expanded its MSMU Online offerings with the addition of six new undergraduate degree and certificate programs in business management and accounting, computer science, criminology, entrepreneurship and gerontology. The online programs are open to women and men in 27 states and internationally.

    Mount Saint Mary’s annual President's “Invitation to Serve” sent nearly 140 volunteers across Los Angeles to support seven local community organizations, including a regional food bank, a special education placement high school, a transitional housing organization for women and children, and a beach cleanup program operated by an environmental nonprofit. The annual event commemorates the community service tradition of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

    With the Mount’s 90th year drawing to a close, the University presented Athenian, Laurel and Mary’s Day Awards to more than 530 students in recognition of their exceptional academic achievement, leadership and community service. Fourteen students received the University’s highest honor, the President’s Award. 

    For the fourth consecutive year, the University hosted the nonpartisan Ready to Run® campaign-training program, which is designed to encourage women to run for elective office, position themselves for appointive office, work on campaigns or otherwise become active in public service. Ready to Run featured more than 15 speakers, including state, county and municipal elected representatives. California ranks 20th nationally in terms of women’s state legislative representation and has the fewest number of women serving in the state legislature since 1998.

    Mount Saint Mary’s political science students presented to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti their policy recommendations for promoting gender equity for the nearly 2 million women and girls living in the city. Their recommendations were based on the findings of a five-part 2015 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in the City of Los Angeles prepared by the University for the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women.

    May 2016 

    Dr. Lucy Jones, who defied gender stereotypes to become one of the world’s most recognizable and influential seismologists, delivered the keynote address at Mount Saint Mary’s 2016 commencement ceremony held at the Shrine Auditorium near the Doheny Campus. A 33-year U.S. Geological Survey veteran, Jones’ work as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s science advisor led to the adoption of groundbreaking regulations mandating the retrofitting of nearly 15,000 high-risk structures in the city. This year, the University awarded 192 associate in arts, 647 bachelor’s, 213 master’s and 28 doctoral degrees.