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Alumnus Makes Important Gifts to the Mount

dellarattaRaphael Della Ratta, C’92, Provides Funds Supporting the University’s College of Liberal Arts

A member of the Mount St. Mary’s class of 1992 is honoring his alma mater, along with a legendary University faculty member, through a series of gifts to the University’s College of Liberal Arts.

Raphael Della Ratta, vice president of Della Ratta Inc. Commercial Management Company, in Silver Spring, Maryland, is providing $50,000 to endow a lecture series supporting the Mount’s common curriculum, the Veritas Program; $15,000 in seed money to back the University’s application to establish a chapter in the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society; and $10,000 to fund an endowed annual student prize.

“I am overwhelmed with the generosity of Raphael Della Ratta,” said Joshua Hochschild, Ph.D., dean of the Mount’s College of Liberal Arts. “His fondness for the Mount and recognition of our ongoing commitment to excellence in liberal learning inspired him to step forward when he saw what a help these initiatives would be to our campus.

“His gifts are indeed a financial blessing, but they are more than that … they inspire us in the high vocation that is the Mount’s educational mission,” Hochschild said.

The Ducharme Veritas Lectures will be an ongoing series designed to foster integration of learning in the Mount’s flagship liberal arts curriculum, the Veritas Program. The fund is named in honor of the University’s Emeritus Professor of English, Robert Ducharme, who taught at the Mount from 1970-2009, and served as English Department chair for 14 years.

The endowment will annually support one distinguished visiting lecturer, as well as a lecturer chosen from the Mount faculty — each chosen to help students understand how different disciplines are part of a common curriculum.

“The Ducharme Veritas Lectures will be a lasting component of the Veritas Program. By honoring Professor Ducharme, an architect of our original core curriculum and longtime champion of liberal learning at the Mount, the lectures acknowledge the continuity of Veritas with the predecessor core, and affirm our distinctive commitment to the integration of learning,” Hochschild said.

The Della Ratta Award for Excellence in the Liberal Arts is an endowed annual prize for a student who shows outstanding work in the liberal arts. The student will be chosen from the junior class and receive a $500 award and recognition for excellence in the Veritas Program and in coursework towards a major in the arts and sciences.

Finally, Della Ratta’s lead gift for the Phi Beta Kappa Fund will support the university’s application to establish a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

“Phi Beta Kappa is the national mark of distinction for excellence in the arts and sciences,” Hochschild said. “As this fund grows, and with the assistance of other generous alumni, it will support additional campus initiatives and programs helping us to receive and maintain this national distinction in liberal learning.”

Della Ratta was an English major and philosophy minor at the Mount, and serves on the College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board. Previously, he was a senior researcher and managed the Washington D.C. office of the Partnership for Global Security (PGS), a nonpartisan policy organization leading a global effort to ensure all nuclear material and facilities are secure. He introduced a biosecurity track to the world’s largest annual biotechnology industry conference and managed its execution from 2010-12.

He also published federal budget analyses and spoke at security conferences in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. 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 coverage of the security and dismantlement of weapons of mass destruction.

“The opportunity to serve on the College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board for the past two years provided me with the chance to reflect and take stock of my liberal arts education.” Della Ratta said. “It 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.

“And 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.”

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