On Tuesday, July 4th, we celebrate the passage of the Declaration of Independence.

Mount St. Joseph quad with fireworks

Dear Mount Community:

On Tuesday, July 4th, we celebrate the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, on July 4, 1776 – marking the political separation of the then-existing thirteen North American colonies from Great Britain.  Still, the colonies would sacrifice thousands of lives over the next six-and-one-half years to secure its freedom from Great Britain.  As we celebrate this historic event, we have an opportunity to reflect on the Declaration of Independence, the freedom it portends, and its evolution over the past two-hundred and forty-seven years. 

“Freedom is not free” is a quote credited to Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Walter Hitchcock of the New Mexico Military Institute.  Perhaps, this idiom strikes us differently, more poignantly, after the events of this past week.  Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States issued multiple decisions to close out its term, as it does at the end of June each year.  Several of those decisions address diversity, equity, and inclusion, specifically in the college admissions process and in terms of the equal protection of the LGBTQIA+ community in our country.  While the outcomes of those cases are, perhaps, not surprising, they, nonetheless, mark a time in our country’s evolution when “freedom” may have never had so many different meanings to the wonderfully diverse citizenship we strive to achieve and celebrate, here, at the Mount. 

The Mount’s commitment to recruiting, retaining, and educating persons of color has never been more central to who we are as an institution of higher education.  This will not change as a result of any Supreme Court decision.  Likewise, the Mount’s commitment to the inclusiveness of the LGBTQIA+ community is unwavering. 

We will continue to invest in diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of the Mount’s operations in the coming academic year, and with an even more determined focus.  We will continue to recruit, educate, and employ persons who are underserved, and those who have been historically marginalized.  These efforts rest at the core of who we are as an institution, and, at this time in history, we are called to strengthen our efforts in order to maintain our commitment to our Catholic identity, our mission, and the values and heritage of our Foundresses, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. 

As you celebrate the 4th of July with family and friends, I hope you take time to reflect on what “freedom” means, as well as the sacrifices it has required and continues to require of so many of our citizens – and of ourselves.  Indeed, “Freedom is not free”; however, without exception, Mount St. Joseph University will pay the price – continuing to provide a beacon of freedom for all persons in our spheres of influence. 

Happy 4th of July!  May God continue to bless you and your families, Mount St. Joseph University, and the United States of America!



H. James Williams, Ph.D.