Tim Trainor, Ph.D. • Interim President
Retired Brigadier General Tim Trainor most recently served as Dean and Chief Academic Officer at West Point. Dr. Trainor graduated with a bachelor of science from the United States Military Academy (USMA) in 1983, has an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke, and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering from North Carolina State University. As an engineer officer in the US Army, Tim served in operational assignments around the world including Germany, Honduras, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Riley, Kansas and Sarajevo, Bosnia. He deployed to Basrah, Iraq in the summer of 2007 and worked with the UK-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in helping the provincial Iraqi leaders improve their infrastructure revitalization plans.
Tim is a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Management, and a member of the American Society of Engineering Education. He was named the Engineering Manager of the Year for 2011 by the American Society of Engineering Management, and is a Past President of Epsilon Mu Eta, the national Engineering Management Honor Society. Tim taught courses in engineering management, systems engineering and decision analysis.
Tim is married to Colonel (Retired) Donna Brazil, Ph.D. who led the Psychology program at West Point until 2013 and now provides educational services in leadership development. They have a daughter Cory, who is currently a lieutenant stationed in Hawaii, son Danny, who is currently a lieutenant at the US Army Flight School, and Zach who is a junior class Cadet at West Point.
Q & A with Dr. Tim Trainor
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Suffern, New York, and attended Don Bosco Preparatory High School, a Salesians of St. John Bosco Catholic school in Ramsey, New Jersey.
While attending the United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, I met my wife, Donna Brazil. We both graduated in 1983 and we got married in 1984. Donna was also a career Army officer and retired in 2013 at the rank of colonel after 30 years of service. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and led both the leadership program and the psychology major at West Point.
We have three great children: our daughter Cory is 25 and serves in the US Army as a lieutenant with a specialty in engineering; our son Danny, 23, is also a lieutenant in the US Army and is now training to fly helicopters; and our son Zach, 21, is starting his third year as a cadet at West Point.
Q: Why did you choose higher education as a path?
Donna and I were fortunate to have the opportunity to obtain our graduate degrees while in the Army and be chosen to teach at West Point. We both fell in love with teaching and were lucky enough to return to West Point later in our careers to serve at a higher level. I enjoy working in a collegial, intellectual environment with colleagues who are collectively committed to helping people achieve their dreams through education.
Q: Tell us about the role of Catholic faith in your own life.
Being Catholic is foundational for me. I see service to others as a fundamental part of being Catholic and that is, in large part, why I served in the Army for so long. The Catholic Church has been a source of strength, continuity and social connection in many ways for my family.
Donna and I have been active in Most Holy Trinity parish at West Point since we were cadets. We have been Eucharistic Ministers since our cadet days, taught Sunday School as cadets and later when on the faculty, served for a time on the Parish Council and led various other programs. We were married in that church, Zach was baptized there, and our kids have also been active in the parish as altar servers, attending and later helping out in Sunday School classes, and participating in the choir.
Q: How do you view the role of the Mount’s Catholic Identity?
I was attracted to the Mount because of its strong Catholic identity and I value it. We, as educators, have the wisdom and guidance of the Church as expressed through Ex Corde Ecclesiae and these principles are foundational to who the Mount is and what it does.
Q: Why did you leave your position at West Point?
My position as the dean and chief academic officer was a term-limited position of five years. I was extended for a sixth year but it was time for me to retire to create opportunity for others to move up and bring their ideas and energy to the Academy.
Q: Why were you interested in taking the interim president position at the Mount?
As I was transitioning from the Army, I wanted to continue my career in higher education and was looking for a values-based institution similar to West Point—I found such a place in the Mount. Both West Point and the Mount are committed to liberal arts education, and both have strong core curriculum programs. They also both have exciting majors that prepare people to serve others in a global society. I saw the opportunity to lead the Mount as a good fit for my interests and experience, and I am excited by the promise for its future.
Q: What will be your first priority when you arrive on campus?
My first priority is simply to engage and learn. I plan to talk with faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and other constituents of the Mount to learn more about this great place and to discover what they believe are the opportunities and challenges facing the institution. I will then work collaboratively with various groups to set priorities for the future.
Q: What do you feel is the relationship between liberal arts and the professional majors?
The liberal arts provide the foundation for people to be critical thinkers and creative problem solvers. Through the liberal arts, people can discover self—who they are and where they fit in service to others in the global community. The professional majors then build on the liberal arts education and prepare people for the world.
Q: How will you help move the university forward?
The Mount is fully committed to its mission of educating all of our students for personal and professional success. I am looking forward to carrying this message to all those who know and love the Mount. I also look forward to engaging with students, faculty and staff in setting priorities and generating ideas and opportunities for future areas of growth.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in this new position?
I am most looking forward to meeting the people who are the Mount—the students, faculty, staff, seminarians, alumni, trustees and others stakeholders in our beautiful community. I am also looking forward to learning more about the rich tradition and history of the university and getting immersed into the exciting campus life.
Q: Where will you live?
Donna and I will be fortunate enough to occupy the beautiful Houston President’s house. We look forward to having our children join us there for holidays and other family gatherings.
205 Bradley Hall • (301) 447-5600 • email@example.com
June Miller • Executive Assistant to the President