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Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Kara Monahan

I graduated from the Mount in 2002 with a major in English and a minor in History. To this day, a well-worn copy of my freshman seminar book, Choices, sits on my bookshelf. That anthology represents for me the essence of my Mount experience—thoughtful engagement with a variety of sources about the important choices that shape our lives: education, values, and work. The Mount professors who facilitated discussions of these important choices through their various disciplines made a lasting impression on how I saw myself and my place in the world. After graduating in 2002, I embarked on a number of adventures, including teaching public school in a remote farming village in the north of Japan and earning a Masters degree in English from the University of Delaware. But, it was my college internship at Fort Detrick’s Office of the Judge Advocate General, which I found through the Mount’s Career Center, that ultimately inspired me to pursue a legal career. After graduating from Rutgers School of Law in 2010, I served as a law clerk for the Honorable Joseph E. Irenas in the District of New Jersey.

Currently, I am the Acting Deputy Assistant Director of the Health Care Division of the United States Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition in Washington D.C. In this capacity, I assist in the day-to-day management of the Division, which comprises more than thirty attorneys, paralegals, and support staff. The Health Care Division investigates potentially anticompetitive conduct involving physicians and other health professionals, hospitals and institutional providers, and pharmaceutical companies. I have also been involved with the FTC’s major pharmaceutical initiatives, including federal court litigations challenging anticompetitive pay-for-delay agreements, which delay access to lower-cost generic drugs.

I live in Takoma Park, Maryland with my husband Dan, who is also an English major turned antitrust attorney, and my two daughters, Maeve and Molly. -Kara Monahan, C'02

-Dr. Loveridge earned a B.A. in English language and literature from Westminster College, a small liberal arts school in Salt Lake City, Utah. He earned his Ph.D. in English with a focus in rhetoric from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. jordan loveridge

-Before beginning his graduate studies, Dr. Loveridge worked with the Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center. As the Off-Site Programming Coordinator there, he designed and facilitated community literacy workshops in partnership with prisons, women’s shelters, and refugee centers.

-At ASU, Dr. Loveridge taught a variety of courses—first year writing, public argument, professional communication, visual rhetoric and graphic novels, etc. He also helped to train new teachers entering ASU’s graduate programs to teach first year writing.

-While Dr. Loveridge trained in rhetoric, writing, and communication broadly, his area of expertise is the history of rhetorical theory. "So, in terms of my research, I consider myself more of an intellectual historian and a rhetorician." He focuses primarily on how classical rhetoric was understood and interpreted throughout the Middle Ages. More recently, he has become interested in how medieval thinkers grappled with the translation and reintroduction of Aristotle’s Rhetoric in the later 13th century.

-Dr. Loveridge is looking forward to the opportunity to work with students in more than one course. "In my previous teaching experience, it was relatively rare for me to teach a student more than once. At the Mount, I have much more of an opportunity to help students develop their skills in writing, rhetoric, and communication in the long-term."

-As a hobby, Dr. Loveridge enjoys cycling. "I am excited to have moved to a climate that is much more conducive to that sort of activity (it’s hard to bike too far when it’s 115 degrees outside)." He is also a fan of role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. "I met my wife playing D&D! I also enjoy board games (my favorite right now is Scythe), comic books, etc." Dr. Loveridge also loves to cook!

If you walk into Mount St. Mary’s University’s Knott Academic Center at night, you will be greeted by a soft blue light. firmament 1Looking up, you will discover the source of that light, “The Firmament,” a new art piece created by Nick Hutchings. Nick is an Assistant Professor in the Mount’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts. Paul Miller, graduate student associate for the College of Liberal Arts, recently interviewed Professor Hutchings about this amazing piece.

Q: How did the commissioning of the piece come about?

Hutchings: Originally, I proposed this to Karl Einolf when he was Dean of the Bolte School of Business a few years ago. He was supportive, but the project did not materialize at that time. Last year, Pete Dorsey, Dean of the CLA, asked me about art in the AC, and I told him about my original proposal. He was quite excited about the idea. He reached out to Karl Einolf about the Bolte School’s supporting the funding along with the CLA. Pete brought the project to the attention of Dr. Jennie Hunter-Cevera, the Interim-Provost, who brought it to the attention of President Trainor as well as to the Cabinet. I then proposed the project directly to President Trainor and to the cabinet. Everyone has been very supportive. It was a team effort.

Q: Did you collaborate with anyone else on the piece?

Hutchings: I had two student assistants who helped me construct the piece: Jodie McSparron and Jack Bonner.

Q: What was your inspiration for the piece? Were there other artists that influenced you?

firmament 2

Hutchings: Alain Badiou wrote “through the visibility of artifice, which is also the thinking of poetic thought, the poem surpasses in  power what the sensible is capable of itself.” This work reflects on a series of concepts and questions about our existence in this universe and the boundaries of our understanding. These boundaries are framed by the context of our experience, and they shape our understanding of the universe and our place within it. The idea of the firmament, or vault between the seas as written in the first chapter of Genesis, informs the conceptual scaffolding of this artwork. In Genesis, it is written “And God said, ‘Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.’ So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it.” The firmament, also known as the Raqia in Jewish mysticism, is this boundary.

firmament 3Raqia translates as “to beat or spread out.” This is similar to the image of copper, beaten by a metalsmith, in order to spread out the material into large sheets. This vault, according to Genesis, is where stars of the heaven have been fixed. Similarly, in Dante’s The Divine Comedy, the eighth level of heaven is where the stars are fixed to the sphere above the earth. Thus symbolically, the firmament is the empirical limit of our universe, while the expanse references our known universe—or the space between the waters.

The artwork also echoes imagery of neural synapses in the brain and the elaborate connections between them. The billions of connections in the brain and how our thought emerges from them is a beautiful question, and I wrestle with a way to reflect on that image. While in quantum physics, string theory suggests that particles across the universe are tethered and interconnected. Is this similar to the connections between synapses in a brain?  Thus, can we theorize that the particles in our brains are tethered to the stars in the vastness of space? We are composed of the same particles that formed the stars and exploded in an age long ago. We are all made of stars. Thus the stars reach out towards us and we in return are tethered to them.

Q: Is there a particular response or emotion you want to provoke with the piece?

firmament 4Hutchings: Once I have created the work it is its own. That means interpretation will vary. Yet, I aim to place the  viewer in a  position of conscious engagement with the    artwork. Like writing a Haiku, I remove superfluous  elements from the art to speak in a more succinct and  powerful voice without sacrificing the poetic. This  artwork is a quiet interruption of the ‘noise’ of daily  life,  which allows the viewer’s interpretation to emerge and  grants a space for being present in relation to the artwork.

Q: How do you feel your piece contributes to the overall aesthetics of the Knott Academic Center?

Hutchings: The atrium of the Knott Academic Center is the precise space for the exploration of this artwork. It is my aim with this installation to contextualize a space for an aesthetic experience that reflects the ephemerality of presence yet leaves an indelible mark in the memory of one who experiences it. This artwork will be a wonderful center piece to all who visit our fine campus. Aesthetics can positively influence the way we feel about a space and the AC is in need of an aesthetic revival. It can also influence the way potential students receive the Knott Academic Center and help the community feel proud of our great university.

nick hitchingsQ: What are some ways we can promote the fine arts at our university? How might we encourage our students to consider majoring in the fine arts?

Hutchings: You do not have to be a major to be involved in our department. There are many opportunities for students to get involved in the VPA. From music ensembles, to chorale, to theater productions, to taking an art class and applying for the Simon Brute Juried Student Art Exhibit. The options and levels of involvement can be curricular, co-curricular, or extra-curricular.


                                                                                                                   Prof. Nick Hutchings                                                                                                                                                                                                


-Dr. Joshua Brown earned his Ph.D. from the University of Dayton, his M.Div. from Campbell University Divinity School, and his B.S. in Religion from Chowan University in Murfreesboro, more.

MSMU team at KROC 2017

For a week in June, Drs. Elizabeth Strauss, Denise Obinna and I met with 40 colleagues from five countries at Notre Dame University’s KROC Institute of Peace, and explored a range of topics in the 2017 Summer Institute for Faculty, “Teaching Peace in the 21st Century.” more.

Fr. Jim DonohueFr. Jim Donohue, chair of the depatment of theology, has been named the 2016-17 Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference Coach of the Year.

His longstanding work with club sports and the ice hockey team has been well documented and his ability to help shape the lives of Mount students is quite evident through the team’s numerous community service efforts.

Now the conference the team plays in has also recognized his efforts in a much deserved award. Congratulations Fr. Jim!

Five undergraduate students from the Mount presented their research at the 2017 Eastern Communication Association (ECA) Conference held in Boston from Wednesday, March 29 to Sunday, April 2.
Students were from the Media & the Catholic Church class of Brian Gilchrist, Ph.D., assistant professor from the department of communication.
These students had their research papers accepted by the Undergraduate Scholars Conference at ECA. What's even more impressive is that out of 165 undergraduates that submitted papers, the acceptance rate was less than 30 percent. Gilchrist noted that other conference attendees were very impressed by Mount students.
Congratulations to the following Mount students accepted to present:
Jennifer Blake
“The Eucharist is the Medium: Applying McLuhan’s Theories of Media” [paper presentation]
Hannah Chenard
“Michelangelo’s Media: A McLuhan Analysis of the Renaissance Artist”
[paper presentation]
Ellen Salvatore
“The Medium is the Renaissance: A McLuhan Analysis of Michelangelo’s Sculptures”
[paper presentation]
Chloe Cain
“The Medium is the Worship: A McLuhan Analysis of Black Catholic Identity”
[poster presentation]
Jordan Rodriguez
“McLuhan and Nazis: The Catholic Church’s Response to Nazism through Marshall McLuhan”
[poster presentation]
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