To the Mount community

I first learned of the Mount’s magic many years ago from my sister Linda, when she came here from Tennessee to attend a summer institute for teachers.

What has struck me most since then is that the Mount is everything it claims to be. This special place is the message, the mission, the story it projects – there is no false veneer. In my seven years here, I have never peeled back to find a layer that wasn’t authentic.

The Mount is a unique and wonderful university, with important work happening here every day. Across campus, ideas are being generated, lessons shared and research undertaken that will profoundly affect our region, our country and our world for generations to come. Ours are endeavours of vital social importance.

For these and many other reasons, I’ve cherished my time at the Mount and am deeply grateful to have joined this inspiring community. And though on June 30 I will leave behind the daily trek to the office, I will always be a part of the Mount community and a champion for our university.

There is much I will miss, but I’ll miss the people the most – the wonderful students, faculty, staff, alumnae, Board of Governors members, donors, friends and supporters who make up the Mount community. You are extraordinary and know well how special our Mount Saint Vincent University is.

As I reflect on my time at the Mount, I think often of our colleagues from the Sisters of Charity—Halifax, whose drive to secure the Mount’s place in higher education in Nova Scotia is the reason we are who we are today. It’s been a joy to work alongside the Sisters these past several years as we continue to move the Mount forward.

Much has changed over the years, but important values have remained constant. In our strategic plan Mount 2017 we reaffirmed our commitment to the advancement of women, and at the same time recognized that the Mount’s focus on access and on a first-rate student experience is good for both the men and the women who pursue their education here.

With a strong institutional focus on teaching and learning, we continue to offer many exceptional academic programs, as well as to champion alternative delivery modes and experiential learning opportunities. Our faculty are leaders in their fields – teachers, mentors and researchers of the highest calibre who continue to put the Mount on the map.

The diversity of our student population is another one of our greatest strengths, composed as the student body is of mature students, distance learners, transfer students, recent high school graduates, and students from abroad. Our ability, through flexible access, to meet the higher education needs of these students is a hallmark both of our history and of our current importance in the Nova Scotia university landscape.

Over the past several years we’ve opened many new high-tech classrooms – well-equipped and modern facilities – through renovations in the Seton Academic Centre and the addition of the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre. We’ve also opened an Aboriginal Student Centre and an International Education Centre.

And we did it all on budget! The Mount’s legacy of fiscal prudence is notable and continues to serve us well. Despite challenging economic times, we’ve continued to expand services for students in areas most needed, as well as to expand our scholarship and bursary funds and keep our tuition among the lowest in the province.

It’s all about students, after all. Mount students have been my motivation since the day I arrived. Their passion for learning, for our community and for our world has fuelled my work every day. Many of my fondest memories of my time here have students at the centre – from cheering on our Mystics and sharing lunches in the Dining Hall, to celebrating student award winners and new graduates. Thank you for being the extraordinary students you are.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a thank-you for the graduate scholarship established by the Mount in honour of my husband Bill and me. We care deeply about Mount students and have long seen the need for greater investment in scholarship support for Mount graduate students. The total amount raised (more than $700,000!) far exceeded our wildest hopes. We look forward to continuing our connection to Mount students through this scholarship. Thank you.

At my installation address in the fall of 2010, I shared a story about warrior-hood that today still holds meaning for me. Just after my appointment to the presidency at the Mount was announced, one of my colleagues who was president of another Atlantic university gave me these words of advice about coming to the Mount: “You must be a warrior!”

Though I was first taken aback by that statement, as I learned more about the history of this wonderful institution I came to understand that I would indeed be joining a long succession of female warriors who have fought to realize a dream of education that is inclusive, just, and aimed at creating a better world for us all. I’ve reflected on those words again as I prepared to leave my post at the Mount. Over the past many years, we have continued our fight for all that the Mount stands for – equitable access, an entrepreneurial spirit, supportive teaching and learning environments, inclusivity, and respect for all. I know that you and future members of the Mount community will never put down the sword, but rather always fight for an outcome in which we deeply believe.

We have much to be proud of in our past, and an exciting future lies ahead.

My profound thanks to you all for your commitment to the Mount and for our many wonderful collaborations over the past years. I’m honoured to have served as your President and deeply grateful for my membership in the Mount community.

Yours sincerely,

Ramona Lumpkin, CM, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor