By Erin Hallissy
Michael Leonard decided to enroll at Saint Mary’s after he heard Brother Martin Yribarren playing the organ when he walked into the Chapel. Years later, his friends led him into the Chapel on his 21st birthday because they had arranged for Brother Martin to serenade him again.
“Saint Mary’s was one of the last school I visited” as a high school student, recalls Leonard, a senior majoring in accounting and minoring in politics. He felt a “deep connection” with the traditions of the College. “I liked the intimate atmosphere,” he says. “I wasn’t overwhelmed. I instantly found niches.”
Those niches have included Campus Ministry, the Program Board, Habitat for Humanity, and announcing baseball games. As a freshman, he met Brother Glenn Bolton at an A’s game, and later worked for him in events and planning in the Soda Center. Leonard is also active in recreational sports, particularly dodge ball, softball and bike riding.
Volunteering is also an important to Leonard, who says he was raised with the ethic of giving back and found Saint Mary’s fit his desire to do so.
“It wasn’t drilled into me – it’s just what we do,” Leonard says. “That’s what I like about the mission statement here: “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.”
Leonard is also serious about work, which he started young in friends’ restaurants in his hometown of Monterey. Last summer, Leonard did a full-time internship at Deloitte & Touche, and he has been offered a job there after his graduation in May 2008. Leonard, who has received a Wilder Trust scholarship, is also considering graduate school, but he has always enjoyed working.
“I liked the responsibility,” he says. “It’s nice to know you’re depended on for something.”
Leonard also enjoyed the opportunity to study abroad in Rome, where he did well in classes but also jumped at the chance to travel to different parts of Europe, including Ireland. He admits his College days have been pretty full.
“I’m definitely stretched for time,” he says. “Everyone has pointed that out.”