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From "Campus Mother" to Mother Seton

If you were to ask McDaniel College alumni and parents to describe Barbara Horneff, former associate dean of the first-year program, they would use words like legacy and loyal or a term of endearment like campus mother. Of her retirement from the college in March 2005, Theo Sebekos-Williams ‘07 said, "I feel as if she has empowered me. Through her wisdom I feel that I have a piece of her always with me."

To Becky Martin, women’s basketball coach at McDaniel College, Barbara Horneff was the "Mother Theresa" of campus.   That’s how Ms. Martin always introduced her to prospective student athletes and their parents. She deliberately chose that term to define someone who "worked miracles" by caring—treating each student as if he or she was the most important person in the whole wide world.  

Students and staff at Winters Mill had just one year, 2005-06, to get to know how much Barbara Horneff cared about working with them. For a dozen or more teachers in this Carroll County high school, Ms. Horneff had been their college academic dean. With one of them, Wes Winters, she agreed to serve as co-adviser to the WMHS Class of 2009. With Katie Tolliver, a student in her Algebra I class in fall 2005, she planted a lasting friendship. At the end of the academic year, Katie presented Ms. Horneff with the cross-stitched verse, "Everything is possible with God." Little did she know that this special stitchery would be among the first framed pieces Barbara Horneff would hang in her office of institutional advancement at Mother Seton School in August 2006. 

Ms. Horneff has been employed as an educator at several levels of learning for more than 30 years. Her career began with teaching three-year olds at the Christian Pre-School and third grade at William Winchester Elementary School in Westminster, MD. At McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College) for 22 years, she taught and supervised prospective teachers; coordinated and implemented student academic services for undergraduate students; and developed a nationally recognized orientation program for first-year students. In May 2004, she was chosen by graduating seniors to be inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, "the national leadership honor society that recognizes and encourages superior scholarship, leadership, and exemplary character."    

Ms. Horneff brings each and all of her teaching and learning experiences into the position of director of institutional advancement at Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg, MD. Of her personal and professional work ethic, she said, "I thrive in environments that give me opportunities to listen discriminately, to think creatively, and to solve problems efficiently and effectively with win-win outcomes. I have used good intuition, successful motivational strategies, and the empowerment of responsibility to develop exceptional leaders and to design award-winning programs." 

As she immerses herself in the mission of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Barbara Horneff will walk the walk and talk the talk—finding her spiritual center and in each task the necessary grace to fulfill her responsibilities in institutional advancement. On her wall hangs an old treasured stitchery made by her mother, Clara Schaeffer: "My day is complete; I heard a child laugh."   

Mother Seton would approve!

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