December saw a fair amount of media mentions about Saint Mary's with 208 various news and calendar notices. Even as the fall term ended and the College paused for the Christmas holiday break, there were a number of news stories about Saint Mary's alumni, notable Faculty in the News mentions and upcoming campus events, such as the Jan Term Speaker Series featuring Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor for President Bill Clinton.
Saint Mary's Honors Program Director Mary Volmer received a very special Christmas present with a New York Times Dec. 24 review of her novel "Crown of Dust." The Gaels run in the NCAA Sweet 16 was highlighted in two Bay Area media outlets - KNTV-TV (NBC Bay Area News) and the Contra Costa Times - as one of the most memorable stories of 2010.
Faculty in the News
The most notable of the 11 Faculty-in-the-News items in the month was a Dec. 26th New York Times Sunday Book Review of "Crown of Dust," written by Honors Program Director Mary Volmer. Other instances of the press showcasing insight from SMC faculty on current events included the Stockton Record reaching out to Norris Palmer of Saint Mary's Theology & Religious Studies department for his perspective on the rising pop culture interest in zombies. KGO News Radio tapped SEBA professor Kara Boatman for commentary on President Obama's deal with Republican leaders to keep the Bush tax cuts for all income earners, including the wealthy, for two years in order to extend unemployment benefits for out of work Americans for 13 months. And as a result of a content sharing agreement, a November Catholic Voice article about images of Our Lady of Guadalupe in popular culture featuring perspectives from Modern Languages professor Maria Luisa Ruiz was picked up by the Catholic San Francisco.
Including multiple calendar listings and as a result of a Contra Costa Times story that was picked up and distributed throughout the various Bay Area news Group outlets, there were 85 campus event news mentions during the month of December. The lion's share of the media mentions were about the Jan Term Speaker Series, which is headlined by former Secretary of Labor of President Clinton and now a professor at UC Berkeley Robert Reich.
28 press releases about alumni career moves and new appointments were picked up by the College's' media monitoring service during the month. A notable new assignment was the appointment of Saint Mary's Trustee George Schmitt as the Chief Executive Officer of MB Technology Holdings, a developer of wired and wireless communications technologies.
Alumni in the News
There were 25 alumni-in-the-news mentions in the month. Most of them were duplicates of a Contra Costa Times story about Elena Bicker '85, executive director of ARF, Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek; and a regional story out of Pennsylvania in the Scranton Times Tribune about Maureen McGuigan, '02. An alumna of SMC's Creative Writing Program, McGuigan is the deputy director of arts and culture for the county office serving Scranton.
There were 21 miscellaneous media mentions about the College during the month. Most of them were news stories or online postings about the Lamorinda area and included references to the geographical location of SMC. The rest listed the campus as a location for a non-College related event.
There were 18 institutional news mentions during the month. These news items encompass administrator interviews, guest speaker-related stories, mission-related articles and stories about the reputation of the College. The category also includes high profile articles relating to the loss of an SMC community member, and that was the case with the majority of the news mentions about the California Supreme Court denying the appeal of a second-degree murder conviction for a San Francisco woman whose dogs fatally attacked Saint Mary's Lacrosse Coach Diane Whipple in her apartment building hallway on Jan. 26, 2001.
Of the 17 athletics-related media mentions during the month, the most notable were two Bay Area news reports (NBC Bay Area News and the Contra Costa Times) about the Gael's amazing journey to the Sweet 16 last March. The rest of the mentions referred to the schedule of the men's basketball team. A few other mentions were about the women's basketball and volleyball teams and those originated as news postings on the websites of opposing WCC college teams.
Sadly there were two notices of passing for SMC alumni during the month. 53-year-old Theresa Jane Ritelli, a skilled surgical nurse lost a battle to cancer. And 70-year-old George Alessio Riccomini, a lifelong resident of Mount Shasta, also died after struggling with the disease.
An online recap of local events that made the Lamorinda police blotters in the year listed one traffic accident in front of the College.
Director of Media Relations