09/23/05

Brother Ronald Gallagher FSC, Ph.D., was formally inaugurated today as the 28th president of Saint Mary's College of California in a ceremony that culminated a weeklong celebration of the school's liberal arts, Catholic and Lasallian traditions.

In his inaugural address, Brother Ron told hundreds gathered on the Chapel Plaza that he is optimistic about the future of Saint Mary's College and plans to undertake comprehensive reviews of curriculum and student life. Among the challenges the college faces, he said, is to keep the college affordable and its operations efficient.

Referring to the wind blowing on the plaza, Brother Ron said: "It was much more of an Irish day than I would have expected and I am excited by that."

Brother Ron's love for his ancestral homeland of Ireland was reflected in the ceremony's music. The Saint Mary's NightinGaels sang "The Deer Cry," an 8th-century Irish hymn, with Saint Mary's faculty members Dawn Foster-Dodson and Lino Rivera as instrumentalists, and alumni and sisters Elizabeth and Jillian Seagrave as soloists. A bagpiper led the recessional to a reception on De La Salle Quad following the ceremony.

Brother Vincent Malham, president-elect of Christian Brothers University who served as the inaugural speaker, said that Brother Ron is well-equipped for leadership of Saint Mary's. As vice chancellor of Bethlehem University in the turbulent Middle East in the mid-1990s, Brother Ron kept an "upbeat attitude" while working under extreme pressure, said Malham.

"Saint Mary's is indeed blessed to have you at the helm at this strategic point in the college's history," Malham said.

Participants in the ceremony also included Bishop Emeritus John Cummins, Brother Visitor Stanislaus Campbell, FSC, and Ray Larkin, chairman of the Saint Mary's board of trustees.

The establishment of a Lasallian Educator Fellowship Scholarship was announced at the ceremony in honor of Brother Ron's inauguration. The Lasallian Educator Fellowship, a program to educate teachers to serve in local Lasallian high schools, was initiated by Saint Mary's five years ago and has already prepared more than 30 teachers.

Other gifts symbolizing the college's core traditions presented to Brother Ron included a rare 1734 edition of "The Adventures of Telemachus, Son of Odysseus," and a cross from the Glenstal Abbey in Ireland.

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