Staying Home to Go to College

Community colleges make the grade for Valley students looking to save a little cash and prepare for their careers — without sacrificing the A-plus education


(page 12 of 15)

 Mount St. Mary College campus

Mount St. Mary College

By: Evan Sparling

In the heart of downtown Newburgh, nestled on 70 landscaped acres on two campuses, lies Mount Saint Mary College. Originally a teacher training institute founded by the Dominican Sisters, MSMC became a liberal arts college in 1959. While the education curriculum remains central to the school’s mission — one third of all students are enrolled in the education program — nursing and business are now the other two heavy-hitters at MSMC. Master’s programs are available in all three disciplines, and the Graduate School of Nursing continually turns up on lists of the best in the nation. The school recently renovated its nursing laboratories and erected a Mathematics, Science and Technology Center, which will help more teachers graduate with specializations in math and the sciences. Capital improvements to the tune of $75 million have already taken place. And the business school? The college’s new president, Fr. Kevin E. Mackin, who was appointed in July, has plans to raise its profile dramatically.

In fact, all eyes are on Fr. Mackin, who oversaw unprecedented growth at Siena College in Loudonville while he was president from 1996-2007. With the dismal economy, Fr. Mackin expects more adult learners to apply for admission, and the Mount has already adapted its curriculum to incorporate adult and continuing education students. They now offer nine accelerated bachelor’s degree programs, with most classes on the six-week schedule held in the evenings or on weekends. Adults seeking an enriching, not-for-credit learning experience can also enroll in one of the Mount’s L.I.F.E. programs, which explore the arts, history, music, and culture of the Hudson Valley. In recent years, applications — and acceptances — to the college have doubled; and while at one point it was considered a commuter school, 800 undergraduates now live on campus (another 800 undergrads commute), with much more student housing on the way. Says Fr. Mackin, whose curriculum plans include starting a criminal justice program: “We encourage skills of mind and habits of heart that will guide people through the challenges of life.”
330 Powell Ave., Newburgh. 845-561-0800;


Up next: Marist College


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