Skip Navigation

Our History

The Mount image

1789 Pope Pius VI Makes the United States a Diocese

The history of Mount St. Mary's University begins in the creation of Maryland, founded by George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, as a refuge of religious freedom. Catholic immigrants flock to the new colony, and in 1789 the pope designates Baltimore the seat of the newly created U.S. diocese.

1793 Establishment of the Elder Congregation

Aloysius Elder sells a parcel of land to John Carroll to establish a church for the English Catholics near Emmitsburg, MD. James Hughes builds St. Joseph's Church in Emmitsburg to serve the mostly Irish Catholic population.

1794-1805 John DuBois' Vision

The Rev. John DuBois flees France and becomes pastor of Frederick, MD. In 1805, he lays the cornerstone of Saint-Mary-on-the-Hill, uniting Emmitsburg's Irish and English congregations. He buys the first parcel of land for what will become Mount St. Mary's Seminary.

1808 DuBois Appointed President of the College

John DuBois is named president of the Mount. His first class graduates.

1809 Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity

Elizabeth Ann Seton arrives with a small group of young women to establish a school in Emmitsburg. They live with Father DuBois for six weeks, beginning a long relationship between the two schools.

1812 The Guardian Angel of the Mount

The Right Rev. Simon Gabriel Bruté joins John DuBois, teaching divinity and philosophy and serving as the spiritual advisor to the Sisters of Charity.

1825 DuBois Hall Rebuilt and Dedicated

1830-70 The Influence of Mount St. Mary's

Several Mountaineers establish Catholic colleges throughout the United States: In 1841, Bishop John Hughs opens St. John's College in New York (now Fordham University) Hughes selects fellow Mount alumni, Rev. John McCloskey to serve as its first president. In 1870, the Most Rev. John D. Loughlin creates St. John's University in Brooklyn.

1842 John Hughes, Son of the Mount, Named First Archbishop of New York

John Hughes is one of the many sons of the Mount who will go on to hold high religious office in the Catholic church.

1843 Bruté Hall Built

1843 Famed Composer Comes to the Mount

Henry Dielman arrives at the Mount to teach. Among his many achievements are inauguration marches for William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor, a quickstep for Andrew Jackson, and a funeral march for the Marquis de Lafayette.

1858 Last Slave Freed

The Mount's president and council vote to free the last slave owned by the college.

1858 Jubilee Celebration

President McCaffrey opens the Jubilee Celebration with the following words:

"The seed they planted then,--the seedling, which they nursed and watered with their sweat and tears, is now indeed a noble tree, whose fruits are known, and not unhonored, throughout the world."

1865 Lincoln Assassinated

At least one Mountaineer is in Ford's Theatre the night of Lincoln's assassination, performing as part of the cast of "My American Cousin."

1871-91 College Athletics Go Intercollegiate

The first intercollegiate baseball game is played. In 1891, the first intercollegiate football game is played against Gettysburg College.

1875 John McCloskey, Son of the Mount, succeeds Hughes as Archbishop of New York and is appointed as the first American-born Cardinal.

1875 Stone Replica of Lourdes Built

With the grotto that Father DuBois dedicated almost 70 years ago in need of repair, Father Watterson builds the stone replica.

1881 College Declares Bankruptcy

Following years of debt due to poor real estate deals and plummeting enrollment during the Civil War, the college is forced to declare bankruptcy. It pays off the receivership by 1882.

1870-1900 Barbeques

During the late 1800's, an event known as the Barbeque flourishes on campus. It commences with the reading of the Barbeque paper, which pokes fun at students and faculty. Afterward, everyone processes to what is now known as Echo Field, where an ox or calf is roasted. Events during the Barbeque include greased-pig chasing, greased-pole climbing, three-legged races, tug of war, mile races and sometimes a minstrel show. After the festivities, the campus observes three days devoted to spiritual exercises.

1894 Buildings Expanded

The college council votes to give the Church on the Hill to the local parish and elongate St. Vincent's, located in what is now Barrett Hall. Two stories are added to McCaffrey Hall.

1900 Work Starts on Echo Field

Due to the growing popularity of sports, Father Bradley asks permission to create an athletic field and on Nov. 10 the field is dedicated.

1906 Cornerstone Laid for the New Seminary Building,
McSweeney Hall

1908 Centennial Anniversary

The college celebrates its 100th anniversary: "The secret of this is, I suppose, in the noble-hearted faculty which conserves and holds sacred the traditions of the saintly founders of the College. We tender to-day our heartiest congratulations to the Very Reverend Rector and to the faculty. The sister colleges bow in homage to-day to beautiful Mount St. Mary's, surrounded by her noble band of children, and crowned a queen of colleges with the golden diadem of a century."

1915 Movies Come to the Mount

Monsignor Bradley purchases a new motion picture machine for the college, which is installed in the gymnasium to hold viewings once a week.

1916 New Sport

The men's tennis team plays its first intercollegiate match.

1919 New Club

The Knights of Columbus are granted permission to form a council on campus-the first and longest standing council at a Catholic college.

1921 Babe Ruth Visits the Mount

On May 7, Babe Ruth makes his second visit to the Mount. Tradition holds that he was discovered on Echo Field years earlier in a game between his team from a Baltimore industrial school and the Mount.

1922 The Mount Is Accredited

Shortly after the formation of the Middle States Association's Commission on Higher Education, the Mount receives accreditation. The college boasts 23 faculty members, 13 instructors and 481 students working towards degrees in four areas of specialization.

1936 Prep School Discontinued

The last class of students in the prep department graduates.

1938 Father Flanagan Honored

At commencement ceremonies, Father Edward Flanagan, graduate of the class of 1906 and founder of Boys Town, is made a Doctor of Laws.

1939-45 World War II

At least 727 Mountaineers join the armed forces, 48 of them as chaplains.

1941 "Keep 'Em Flying!"

Facing dropping enrollment, the college initiates a CAA-War Training Service School for flying specialists.

1943-44 Anchors Aweigh

A Navy V-12 deck officers school is established, bringing nearly 400 men to the empty rooms on campus.

1946-48 Service Recognized

In honor of its service to the armed forces training programs, the school is presented with a 3-inch/ 50-caliber anti-aircraft gun from the USS Detroit-a ship credited with one downed and one assisted downed aircraft during the battle at Pearl Harbor. Two years later Memorial Gym is built and dedicated to the alumni killed in World Wars I and II.

1958 Political Leaders at the Sesquicentennial

The Mount hosts two leading political figures-Robert Kennedy, who spoke at graduation, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who addressed the graduating class.

1961 Cogan Student Union Opens

1961 DuBois Medal Established

1st recipient: James L. Rowley, director of the United States Secret Service

1964 Coad Science Hall Dedicated

1965 Improvements at the Grotto

The Pangborn Memorial Campanile is dedicated at the grotto and Cardinal Shehan of Baltimore proclaims the site a Public Oratory.

1965 Bruté Medal Established

1st recipient: Joseph M. Fitzgerald, prep class of 1935, college class of 1939

1971-75 Roemer v. the Board of Public Works of Maryland

In 1971, Mount St. Mary's begins a journey to the Supreme Court that challenges its long-held association with the Catholic Church. The case contests the constitutionality of a Maryland statute providing monetary assistance to colleges and universities. The Supreme Court rules in favor of the colleges and statute.

1972 Women Admitted

The traditionally all-male college admits women for the first time. In 1974 the women's basketball team is established.

1981 The Final Four

Friday classes are canceled and 12 buses take Mount students to Springfield, Mass., where they create the biggest crowd the national college basketball tournament has ever seen.

1983 Restoring the Past

As part of the festivities celebrating 175 years of Catholic education at the Mount, the John Hughes cabin is restored.

1988 Mount Goes Division I and Athletics Explode

The Mount moves up to Division I status within the NCAA. To complement the booming athletics department, which boasts Olympic gold medalist Peter Rono, the college razes the old farm and barns to open the new Knott ARCC.

1994 Knott Auditorium Dedicated

1995 Mother Teresa Returns to the Mount

Twenty years after her first visit to the Mount, Mother Teresa returns to spread her message of prayer and love for Jesus Christ. "I am very happy to be here because I know that after I go back this seminary will become like a powerhouse of prayer for us, that we may not spoil God's work. …" Mother Teresa

1996 Mount 2000 Begins

Run largely by the seminarians, Mount 2000 is a Eucharistic retreat designed to encourage participation in the Catholic Church among today's youth.

1999 Expansion to Frederick

Expanding its academic offerings, the Mount Professional Accelerated Studies program is initiated at the new Mount in Frederick building.

2004 University Status

The Mount achieves university status, beginning a new era of academic excellence.

2008 Bicentennial Anniversary

The college celebrates its 200th anniversary.

Yesterday and Today

The life of today's student differs greatly from that of the young men who arrived in Emmitsburg 200 years ago. As the second largest Catholic seminary in the United States, Mount St. Mary's Seminary continues to work toward the goals set forward by Pope John Paul II in his Pastores Dabo Vobis #42: "A seminary should be a spiritual place, a way of life, an atmosphere that fosters and ensures a process of formation. …" In our community, early student life revolved around academics and religious development, with few student organizations.

Today, the Mount offers more than 70 clubs and honor societies, as well as service learning portions of the curriculum designed to enable students to give back to their college and community.

The early college limited recreation for students to Wednesday and Saturday afternoons and condoned walking the grounds only. Today, the university participates in Division I of the NCAA. Students play on 20 varsity men's and women's teams, a signature team for men's rugby, more than 23 intramural sports teams, and 13 club-level teams.

More than two hundred years ago, six professors taught a core curriculum that took seven full years to complete and offered no specialization. Today, the college employs 114 full-time faculty members to teach our intergrated and sequenced core curriculum.

The future of Mount St. Mary's University lies within the foundations of its past. As Charles Hodges, valedictorian of the class of 1958, stated: "The future that awaits us is as boundless as our vision and our imagination, as rich and as full as our spirit, as rewarding and gratifying as our courage and skill will make it. Armed with these weapons, we will wrest success from its challenge. We are well prepared to make our way … for here we have learned responsibilities, an obligation to our parents, our college, our country, our God."

16300 Old Emmitsburg Road | Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Map & Directions | | 301-447-6122
Frederick Campus | 5350 Spectrum Drive | Frederick, MD 21703
Map & Directions | | 301-682-8315