Bob McAndrews ’32 was in the first College class to go through all four years in Moraga, and recalls his “absolute thrill coming out of crowded downtown San Francisco to the beautiful, open Moraga campus, dominated then, as now, by the Chapel tower.”
The 96-year-old acknowledges some things were tough: “We had to slog between buildings in boots because roads and pathways weren’t finished and the winter was exceptionally rainy.” Still, he excelled; he was valedictorian, Collegian editor-in-chief and a varsity debater who bested Stanford’s team.
His accomplishments in Moraga almost didn’t happen.
Bob McAndrews '32.
McAndrews, valedictorian at the Brothers’ Sacred Heart High San Francisco, had planned to attend St. Ignatius College (now USF) so he could live at home and save money.
The Brothers kept McAndrews from the clutches of the Jesuits by arranging a scholarship and work-study job for him at SMC. That intervention has paid remarkable dividends — over the past 75 years, he’s been one of the College’s most successful and loyal alumni.
After graduation, McAndrews worked for SMC football coach Slip Madigan in 1933 and 1934, hyping the Galloping Gaels cross-country train trips to take on Fordham.
“Bob has always been a word person, a writer,” says Jack McClenahan ’66, SMC’s Southern California development officer. “He’s outgoing and jovial — born for PR work.”
McAndrews also coached debate team members, including future San Francisco mayor Joe Alioto ’37.
In 1936, McAndrews became an announcer for NBC radio in San Francisco, introducing live dance bands. He transferred to NBC’s Hollywood headquarters in 1939, where he worked before serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
In 1940, his former debate student Carl Shuck ’35 invited him to dinner, where he met Shuck’s cousin, Adelina. They married in 1943 and have three children — sons Peter ’65 and Mike ’68, and daughter Julie.
After the war, McAndrews was general manager for KBIG radio in L.A. and later worked in public relations, retiring as senior vice president of the California League of Savings Associations in 1983. He and Adelina now live in Dana Point.
In this 75th anniversary of the Class of 1932, family and friends started the Robert and Adelina McAndrews Family Endowed Scholarship in their honor with a $420,000 endowment.
“This endowed scholarship is of great worth, not only for the McAndrews family, but for the College, as it will allow more students like Bob to come here,” Brother President Ronald Gallagher says.
“Bob is the most gracious guy and is extremely loyal to Saint Mary’s,” says Joe Siler ’62, a friend of the McAndrews family. “He still comes to virtually every Saint Mary’s event that’s in driving distance from Orange County.”