Ron Isetti says he’s never been happier. The professor emeritus of history who taught for 35 years at Saint Mary’s College has just published his latest book—On these Promising Shores of the Pacific: A History of Saint Mary's College.
“I get to do all the things I want to do,” says Isetti from his home in Palm Springs. “I love to read—I read. I love to write—I write.”
Isetti’s newest offering came out November 19 and is already selling well on Amazon. “We have a marketing plan with the publisher and a book signing at the college on the 27th of January,” says Isetti, who has been sending out postcards announcing the book.
It took five years to write this detailed account of SMC’s triumphs and challenges. Isetti, once a Christian Brother himself, used notes from his earlier book on the Brothers in California, plus archives at SMC, Mont La Salle and Rome. “Sadly, he says, the original 600-page manuscript had to be pared down to 200 pages for publication. “It was a difficult choice to make in retrospect.”
The big surprise, Isetti says of his research, was how close Saint Mary’s came to closing on several occasions. “There were two catastrophic fires, the great depression and bankruptcy. In 1950, football had drained the College dry and we could have gone down then.”
Looking at Saint Mary’s today, Isetti sees a beautiful campus, a distinguished faculty and a growing enrollment. “It looks very solid,” he reflects, “but you can’t let the present state tell how you look at the past.