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Phillips Library Receives $10,000 Grant

Richard D. L Fulton

Mount St. Mary’s University (MSMU) students began to move into their quarters in mid-August, preparatory to the coming school year.

Donna Klinger, MSMU executive director of Communications, announced on August 14 that the day was “move-in day for approximately 500 first-year and transfer students, and the returning students.”  The day also included faculty, administrators, and staff who assisted the students with their moving in.

The idea of having faculty aid in the moves, Klinger stated, was that it provided “an efficient, seamless process, and those moving in and their families don’t even break a sweat.”

The new students participate in the Expedition MSMU 2023 orientation program through Sunday, with classes beginning on August 21, she said.

 The move-in was staggered.  Those who moved into Sheridan Hall were scheduled to arrive at 8 a.m., while students scheduled to move into Pangborn Hall and McCaffrey Hall arrived at 10 a.m.  Sheridan Hall, she noted, underwent renovations this summer and has new flooring and furnishings.

In other MSMU news, Katherine Stohlman Pieters, writer and editor with the university’s Office of University Marketing & Communications, reported that the Mount Saint Mary’s University’s Hugh J. Phillips Library has been selected as a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions.

Pieters stated that, “The maximum award of $10,000 was given to the Phillips Library, in recognition of its status as a small institution whose collection and archives are of cultural and historical significance,” adding, “The grant will be used to improve the preservation of the university’s Rare Book Collection.”

Jessica Boyer, director of the Phillips Library, said, “I am profoundly grateful for the generous grant from the NEH, which will be directed toward enhancing the preservation of our university’s Rare Book Collection”, further noting, “This funding is a testament to the recognition of the historical and cultural significance of these invaluable texts.”

Boyer has been the director of Phillips Library since 2017. After having graduated from the Mount, she continued on to earn her master’s degree from Clarion University and her doctoral degree from Concordia University Chicago, Pieters said.

The grant will enable Phillips Library to purchase several hundred custom-fit archival preservation boxes, to house the library’s rare books, a collection that contains over 1,000 titles. The Mount’s Rare Books Collection includes volumes from as far back as the Early Modern Period, in languages including English, French, Latin, Hebrew, Welsh, and more. Most of the books are about literature, theology, and history, and some are the only copies within the United States or even the world.

Boyer noted that by preserving these rare books, the library is preserving the voices of the past, thereby fostering a deeper understanding of our collective history, literature, and culture.  “We’ll continue to provide researchers, students, and scholars with unprecedented opportunities to engage with these materials, enriching their academic pursuits and intellectual growth,” Boyer stated.

Monsignor Hugh J. Phillips, the library’s namesake, was a former president of Mount St. Mary’s College who was associated with the Maryland Catholic school for more than 80 years.  Phillips passed away in 2004.  According to The Washington Post, Monsignor Phillips was the last priest to have served as a full-time president of Mount St. Mary’s.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

Hugh J. Phillips Library, Courtesy of MSMU