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Raphael Della Ratta, C'92

Lives of Significance

Raphael Della Ratta, C'92

Distinguished Mount alumnus pays homage to his liberal arts education

It is often said that you can do almost anything with a liberal arts education, and Raphael Della Ratta, C’92, is living proof of that.

After graduating from Mount St. Mary’s University with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in philosophy, he embarked on a career that has woven through both the public and private sectors. Through it all, Della Ratta has always remembered the people and the place where his life of significance got its start.

Responsible oversight of WMDs

After graduating from the Mount, and subsequently earning a master’s in English literature, Della Ratta took a position with Exchange/Monitor Publications. From 1996-2000, Della Ratta was the managing editor of the Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor and the Chem-Bio Weapons and Defense Monitor – trade publications dedicated to the security and dismantlement of weapons of mass destruction.

During this period, he served as a senior researcher for and manager of the Washington, D.C. office of the Partnership for Global Security (PGS), a nonpartisan global policy organization leading a global effort to ensure all nuclear material and facilities are secure. Della Ratta also served on the Russian-American Nuclear Security Advisory Council (RANSAC).

From 2010-12, Della Rata introduced a biosecurity track to the world’s largest annual biotechnology industry conference and oversaw its implementation and execution. He also published federal budget analyses and spoke at security conferences throughout Europe, the United States and the Middle East.

Back to the family business

In 2012, Della Ratta returned to his family business, where he currently serves as vice president of both Della Ratta, Inc. and Commercial Management Company, in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“My liberal arts education has served me well over the past 20 years, by providing me with the analytical and communication tools to thrive in a variety of careers — from journalism and publishing, to policy advocacy, and now to financial management.”

Moving back into the private sector gave him time to reflect and take stock of his liberal arts education. It was then when Della Ratta decided it was time to give back to the place and the people who figured so prominently in his success.

Honoring Professor Ducharme and the Mount

In addition to serving on the Mount’s Liberal Arts Advisory Board, Della Ratta made a series of gifts to the university, honoring both the Mount’s College of Liberal Arts as well as a specific person who made a dramatic impact on his life.

Della Ratta’s gifts established the Ducharme Lectures – an ongoing series named in honor of Emeritus Professor of English, Robert Ducharme, Ph.D., who taught at the Mount from 1970-2009, and served as English department chair for 14 years.

“I can think of no other professor from my time at the Mount who has both provided such distinguished service to the college, and who had such a lasting impact on my intellectual development,” Della Ratta said. “It is my honor to provide Professor Ducharme with the recognition he so richly deserves, but might otherwise avoid.”

In addition, he established the Della Ratta Award for Excellence in the Liberal Arts – an annual prize for a student who shows outstanding work in the liberal arts.

On why liberal arts education matters

Della Ratta is quick to credit his liberal arts education for his success and he notes that he looks for liberal arts graduates today to fill positions within his company.

“I need people who can think. Who can look at a bunch of different dots, connect those dots, and not only say what the bigger picture is, but predict what the next picture’s going to be. That is certainly something I picked up at the Mount, as both a skill of my own and a skill to look for in my employees.”

Raphael Della Ratta is a stellar example of a life of true significance that began at Mount St. Mary’s University.