President H. James Williams, Ph.D., provides a reflection published in a Business Courier article on Climbing Higher at Mount St. Joseph University.

president H. James Williams standing and smiling in front of centennial fieldhouse indoor track

On September 14, 2020, while the COVID-19 Pandemic raged, we, at Mount St. Joseph University, quietly celebrated our Centennial Anniversary– a century of mission, education, and service to others. The Pandemic took loved ones, our sense of security, and our ability to come together, but it gave humanity something in return. It broke down longstanding barriers between peoples and provided new opportunities to lead, to innovate, and to serve one another in profound ways. I am proud to say that the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Mount St. Joseph University rose to serve their communities – with the “Heart of a Lion!”

Similarly, when our foundresses, the Sisters of Charity, arrived in Cincinnati in the early 1830s, a cholera epidemic raged in the City, killing on average 40 persons a day – many of whom were mothers and fathers. Regardless of religion and philosophy, the Sisters cared for these orphans with the few resources they had available. They were called to serve, and the Sisters of Charity served Cincinnati by providing hope to those children by caring for them during the epidemic and beyond, creating a legacy that lives to this day.

The Mount’s journey began in 1920 when the Sisters of Charity recognized a lack of opportunity and created the first Catholic college for women in the Midwest. Since then, the Mount has prepared generations of men and women as leaders in business, education, and health care, through innovative, mission-driven programs. Those individuals climbed higher and lifted others as they climbed.

2021 brought new challenges but also offered a period of reflection. For many of us, the status quo is no longer a desirable option. Some are being called toward new paths, some to new challenges, and some to take their careers to new heights. More than ever before, we recognize the need for leaders who serve their teams, their students, and their patients with compassion, integrity, and the “Heart of a Lion!”

Regardless of where you are called, I leave you with this challenge: serve those around you, encourage them, and offer hope. It is in this place of service that we can climb higher together!

Dr. Williams is the seventh president of Mount St. Joseph University, which offers 33 undergraduate, seven graduate, and three doctoral degrees.

This article ran in the Cincinnati Business Courier in November, 2021. View published version here.