By Alex Nemec, marketing communications specialist
Marquette’s Campus Ministry office was practically a second home for new Assistant Director of Campus Ministry for Liturgical Music Andrew Mountin during his undergraduate and graduate careers on campus.
Andrew’s mother Susan Mountin was the former director of Campus Ministry and he and his two brothers all attended Marquette.
After Mountin completed his bachelor’s degree in 2012 and master’s degree in 2015, he served briefly as a high school theology and music teacher. After his teaching stint, Mountin worked for campus ministry offices in rural Minnesota at St. John’s University, in downtown Los Angeles at the University of Southern California and on the east coast at Fairfield University in Connecticut.
Here in a Q&A, Mountin talks about why he decided to return to his alma mater and how he envisions enriching the liturgical music program.
What made you want to return to Marquette?
I am in this career because I worked as a student assistant for Rachelle Kramer and spent many hours on campus in the Campus Ministry office either working or just hanging out with friends. The time spent in the office nudged me toward the ministry world and working in the church. I just happened to have a skillset for music, and it became a nice way to pair that gift with that calling. I have always envisioned this job as a great one because of the program and wherever I went I wanted to try and build something similar. It’s exciting to come back to the school I have a deep love and pride for as an alumnus, but also to take over a program I was a part of building.
What have you learned at your previous career stops you want to implement here on campus?
It’s interesting because they’re all different cultures from small and rural to sprawling and urban. When you’re working in Catholic campus ministry, there is a lot that is the same in all those environments. I think the biggest takeaway for me is an importance to giving the benefit of the doubt to the community and congregation. I don’t want to assume they can’t handle something, whether that’s musically or theologically. Always believing that they’re coming to the church for a reason, and they have a desire to be there and a desire to be deepened in their experience. The question for me is how do I provide that?
How are you looking to leave your mark on the program?
It’s a mixed bag right now. At the forefront is trying to return our participation numbers to what they were pre-COVID. We used to have about 100 students in the liturgical program before the pandemic and now we’re at about 20 or 30 — so there’s definitely room for growth. But looking into the future, I’d like to build out the program and strengthen the educational side of it. I’d love to have a program where students can get individual instruction in specific instruments like one’s voice, piano, guitar or even organ if we can involve the Church of the Gesu. One of my dreams would be offer instruction in composition to a few students every semester. Working with students with the goal of producing something and help the student to submit it for publication. It would be great for Marquette to become a place seen as contributing to the church’s liturgical music catalog.
What sets Marquette apart from other universities you’ve worked at?
One of the biggest things is Marquette is old enough to have its history and be aware of it, but also be a university where there are new strides being made every day. I love that this is a place that holds those two things together. This understanding of tradition never graduates. That importance, but also a desire to innovate and see where the future is going and be leaders in the development. That’s something the church really needs right now.
Favorite movie: “Miracle”
Favorite book: “I am America (And so can you),” by Stephen Colbert
Favorite place on campus: The Al McGuire Center
Favorite place to study as an undergraduate: Outside of Campus Ministry in the Narthex
Favorite food: Chocolate chip cookie dough frozen custard