Mount St. Joseph University

Inauguration Mirrors the Mount’s Mission

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Sasha Feldmann

“The Mount lives a culture of ethics and service to others. Sure, building confidence academically and professionally is essential, but so is giving back to others—here and around the world,” according to the “Mission” page on the Mount’s website. Ever since the school was founded in 1920 by the Sisters of Charity, one of our principal core values has been just that: Charity. This focus is evident in campus-wide projects, sponsorships, Service Learning, and more. Our faculty and students are aware of an obligation to the public, and the next president of the university has taken that to heart. When Dr. H. James Williams is inaugurated at the end of April, he has chosen, in lieu of a party or banquet, to dedicate the event to a celebration of service.

Since Williams was named president of the Mount in March of 2016, he has been serving as president pro tempore, and will soon be officially welcomed. As I discovered on the Mount’s website, he has served as president of Fisk University and as business dean and professor of accounting at other schools. Aside from his career in education, he is known for having published in many journals, many focusing on accounting. He has been granted the Michigan Chronicle’s “Men of Excellence” award and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ “Annual Living Legends” award. He also served on several esteemed boards and councils, such as the Community Health Systems, Inc. and the Education Advisory Council. His careers have also included the legal professions, as he has earned two law degrees in addition to his M.B.A. and B.S. in accounting. Clearly, in addition to being highly qualified as a president, he is intimately familiar with the concept of service, and has magnanimously refused a great deal of ceremony and prestige to honor through events connected with his inauguration.

Mary Mazuk, Director of the Academic Advising Resource Center at the Mount and a member of the presidential inauguration committee, explained that the planned service day for the inauguration is “a demonstration of the Mount’s Mission.” One of the service day events will be facilitated by volunteers from the Bethany House. Bethany House Services is an agency of United Way, with 35 employees and about 500 volunteers. The organization’s primary mission is to assist homeless and at-risk women and children. They will be assisting the Mount in serving brunch, sorting donations, and other necessary tasks at Bethany House on the service day.
Habitat for Humanity will have a role, as well, working at a build in East Price Hill. Both of these service events will take place on April 29. On April 28, a check from The Summer Tree fundraiser for summer programs will be presented to Sayler Park officials.

 “In some ways, it is about the past, present, and future,” Mazuk noted. The Sisters of Charity founded Bethany House in the past (1983). A large number of students are currently involved with Habitat for Humanity. A need to help the children involved with the Sayler Park Recreation Center was also identified, and will continue to exist in the future. Mazuk, who coordinated the Summer Tree Program this semester, says it was modeled after the Christmas Giving Tree program in 2012, where a Christmas tree was set up in Seton Lobby and the Mount community had the opportunity to give gifts to families in need. Seeing its benefit, she had a vision for a similar program in the summer. The result of the tree fundraiser was an enormous success, according to Mazuk, who says of these displays of service, “The Mount mission is alive.”

Mount Saint Joseph’s mission statement tells us that members of the Mount community embrace “respect and concern for all persons,” “service to others,” and many other values. We do, indeed, and it is members such as Mary Mazuk and President H. James Williams that remind us of the Mount’s undying devotion to its mission.