Overview:

Saint Mary's continues to attract media coverage for its academic reputation and for the scholarship and expertise of its outstanding faculty. From mid-fall to the end of Jan Term 2013, there were 903 news mentions referring to Saint Mary's College.  

The media hits are a combination of national and local news stories about the College, its 150th anniversary year, reports about SMC athletics and the continued presence of Saint Mary’s faculty as expert sources for news operations. 

This report tracks media mentions from Oct. 13, 2012 to Jan. 31, 2013, including duplicate stories carried by affiliate news organizations.

They include calendar listings of numerous SMC events and press advisories about the career moves of Saint Mary’s alumni that were picked up by media outlets around the country.

Highlights:

  • The National Catholic Reporter covered Saint Mary’s inclusion in the prestigious 2013 edition of "Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges." The complimentary two-page color article "St. Mary’s of California on updated list of life-changing colleges" received a prominent position in the NCR’s timely November edition focusing on higher education.
  • The Associated Press story “Private colleges boom as Calif universities falter” spotlighted Saint Mary’s in an analysis story on the landscape of higher education in the Golden State, noting the College’s steady increase in enrollment over the past several years, along with other private nonprofit colleges, while the public system stumbles under the burden of the state’s budget problems. The story received widespread distribution in 57 news markets from New York to Portland.
  • Kinesiology Professor Deane Lamont was quoted, along with several other academics, in the national Bloomberg News article “Madoff on a bike.” An expert on the history of sports, Lamont spoke about Armstrong’s “win at all costs” perspective, including cheating, which puts Armstrong in the company of athletes of ancient times who sometimes sabotaged their competitors' efforts or cheated in order to emerge as victors.
  • The Contra Costa Times interviewed SMC historian Ron Isetti in a preview about the College’s black-tie soiree to commemorate its 150th birthday in its article “Saint Mary's College Sesquicentennial Gala a celebration of a particularly rich history, tradition.” The gala was also featured among the November don’t-miss events in Diablo Magazine’s “Be There” section.
  • Saint Mary's School of Liberal Arts Dean Steve Woolpert has emerged as a “go-to,” trusted and knowledgeable source on constitutional issues and national politics for news organizations such as KCBS radio, KGO radio and CBS-5-TV, with frequent interviews on issues such as whether Hurricane Sandy might delay the presidential election or the U.S. Supreme Court taking up the issue of gay marriage.

These highlights clearly illustrate continued national and regional media interest in Saint Mary’s academic reputation as a college that changes lives and our outstanding expert faculty.

While quantity does not equate with quality, there was a decrease in the number of news mentions from the same period a year ago. From Oct. 13 to end of January 2013, there were 902 total media hits about the College, a drop of 771 news mentions from the same time period last year. For example, out a total of 1,674 news mentions during the same period last year, there were 699 mentions about alumni career moves (most of these are press releases picked up by news organizations), compared with 200 this year. Athletic news hits were also higher during the same period last year, 383 compared to 240 this year, and faculty-in-the-news mentions were also down, with 178 last year at the same time, compared with 128 this year. 

The reduction in the numbers of hits is attributable to several factors. There appear to have been more career moves in the previous period for SMC alums. As for athletics, at the end of January last year, the men’s basketball team had a 21-2 record and were unbeaten in the WCC, compared with an 18-4 record and a 7-1 conference record by the end of this January. The difference reflects a bit more buzz about the team a year ago. The "Occupy" movement played a role in the number of times faculty at SMC were tapped as source experts last year. 80 of the 178 faculty-in the-news mentions dealt with the social movement. The absence, or hibernation, of the movement this year has generated fewer calls for SMC experts such as Professor Robert Bulman, who was called on many times to comment on the occupy movement's direction and impact.

News Categories:

These news mentions are categorized alphabetically into alumni news (which includes both news stories and career updates), news about athletics, calendar listings about College events, faculty-in-the-news items, institutional news (which focus on the College's reputation and mission), obituaries, public safety, SMC mentions (miscellaneous references to the College) and students in the news.

Alumni: 200

Alumni media mentions were made up of news stories and press releases about developments in the careers of SMC alumni, with many of these items being duplicate press releases notices from mass distributions. Even so, several media mentions stood out, including a December editorial by the Sacramento Bee about Saint Mary’s alumnus Judge Troy Nunley '86, who was nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama. The editorial pointed out that the path to confirmation for Nunley, and other extremely qualified judicial nominees, was consistently blocked by the political gamesmanship of Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa.

The Contra Costa Times reported on a December traffic accident involving three Moraga firefighters, including Kelly Morris ’98, a nine-year veteran of the Moraga Fire Department. Morris, a former Saint Mary's standout hoopster, suffered injuries to her knee and foot. She and her two colleagues were reported as recovering from the accident.

In the area of alumni career moves, Microsoft announced that Tami Reller, an MBA graduate of Saint Mary’s and Microsoft’s chief financial officer and chief marketing officer, will assume responsibility for the business of Windows and would report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer after the exit of former president Steven Sinofsky.

Filmmaker Ryan Coogler '07, a former student at Saint Mary's, won the top prizes at the Sundance Film festival for "Fruitvale," a film he wrote and directed about the tragic killing of the unarmed Oscar Grant by a BART police officer on New Year's Day in 2009. While Coogler transferred to Sacramento State after SMC dropped its football program, Filmmaker magazine acknowledged his brief but important time at Saint Mary's in an article about "25 New Faces of Independent film."

Athletics: 240

The majority of the media mentions in this category were about the College’s basketball program as the men’s and women’s teams began their seasons in November, with around 166 mentions about SMC hoopsters. As expected with the start of the season, there were a couple of stories, in the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle, that revisited earlier speculations by ESPN about recruitment violations in the men's program. However, the exploits of the men’s team, in particular the standout play of guard Matthew Dellavedova, garnered more attention in the sports sections.

Calendar Listings: 106

“Spring Awakening,” described as a gripping musical by the Contra Costa Times, was one of many engaging public programs offer from mid-fall to the end of Jan Term. Notable calendar events included the Saint Mary's College Museum of Art exhibitions “The Art of the Cross," art professor Nyame Brown’s “John Henry's Adventures in a Post-Black World" and the "Missions of Will Sparks.” Additionally, the guest lecturers for the 2013 Jan Term Speaker Series were noted in several East Bay outlets, most frequently in the Contra Costa Times' Lamorinda Sun edition.

Faculty in the News: 128

Saint Mary’s faculty continued to be spotlighted in the media for their scholarship and tapped as expert sources for news organizations to help clarify issues for the public.

KTVU-TV visited the College twice in October to speak with Communication professor Cathy Glenn, director of the College's debate and speech team, and her students about the second presidential debate.  

English Professor Lysley Tenorio’s book "Monstress" continued to garner praise. It was noted by Slate magazine as one of the “Overlooked books of 2012” and by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the “Best books of 2012: 100 recommended books.”

Kinesiology Professor Deane Lamont was quoted, along with several other academics, in the national Bloomberg News article “Madoff on a bike.” An expert on the history of sports, Lamont spoke about Armstrong’s “win at all costs” perspective, including cheating, which puts Armstrong in the company of athletes of ancient times who sometimes sabotaged their competitors' efforts or cheated in order to emerge as victors.

There were nearly 40 media mentions in which the writings of Politics and Economics Professor Jack Rasmus were quoted in a variety of independent and alternative news outlets, including Indybay, Truth Out and the Huffington Post.

Biology Professor Vidya Chandrasekaran, who researches the effects of energy drinks, was interviewed by KCBS radio about the harmful impacts of energy drinks in the wake of an FDA investigation into Monster, a highly caffeinated beverage that has been linked to a number of deaths.

KGO Radio interviewed SEBA's Michael Hadani about the $2 billion campaign for the White House. An associate professor in the School of Economics & Business Administration, Hadani researches the impact of corporate money on elections and the resulting policies of politicians who take those dollars.

School of Liberal Arts Dean Steve Woolpert has emerged as a trusted and knowledgeable source for news organizations such as KCBS and KGO radio and CBS-5-TV, with frequent interviews on issues such as whether Hurricane Sandy might delay the presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court taking up the issue of gay marriage, and the constitutional right-to-privacy issues raised by a new surveillance system on MUNI.

History professor Carl Guarneri was tapped by KALW radio to weigh in on how Hollywood filmmakers portray history on the screen and the obligations of filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, who directed "Lincoln," Quentin Tarantino with "Django Unchained" and Katherine Bigelow with "Zero Dark Thirty" to reflect historical accuracy in their cinematic narratives. Guarneri was also a featured lecturer in area libraries, as many people were interested in hearing his perspective on "Lincoln" as the nation marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Catholic Voice, the newspaper of the Oakland dioscese, profiled Saint Mary's Sister Jodi Min, OP, in its Jan. 7, 2013, edition. Prior to leaving for a Jan Term trip to South Africa, Sister Jodi spoke with the Voice about her early interest in the Dominican Sisters of Oakford, her role as the Mission and Ministry Center's immersion program coordinator and her advocacy of fair trade products on the SMC campus.

Institutional News: 184

There were many institutional media mentions referencing either Saint Mary’s Catholic and Lasallian heritage or its standing as a leading West Coast institution of higher education, including news reports, partial news and broadcast advertisements noting the College’s 150th anniversary.  Below are several highlights of the category.

Two high-profile stories which were highlighted earlier fit into these areas: the November National Catholic Reporter story on Saint Mary’s inclusion in the prestigious 2013 edition of "Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges." The complimentary two-page color article "St. Mary’s of California on updated list of life-changing colleges" received a prominent position in the NCR’s edition focusing on higher education.

Tom Barnidge, columnist for the Bay Area News Group, offered a charming retrospective on Saint Mary’s in his article “150 years later, Saint Mary's is still going strong.” And the Contra Costa Times regular Sunday feature “Days Gone By” echoed the important history of the College in the article “St. Mary's College, celebrating its 150th year, started in 1863 when Archbishop Alemany pushed to create a boys school in San Francisco.”

Another national hit was the Associated Press story "Private colleges boom as Calif universities falter," which spotlighted Saint Mary’s in an analysis of the landscape of higher education in the Golden state. The article noted that, along with other private nonprofit colleges, SMC had seen a steady increase in enrollment over the past several years, which was due in part to the public system’s burdens as a result of California’s budget problems.

Jan Term academic offerings and programming were profiled in the Contra Costa Times article “Jan Term's' adventures in education: At Saint Mary's, rigorous classes between semesters test, enthrall students,” as was the lecture by Rev. Edward Branch, who participated in the special cultural event Soulful & Sacred: Celebrating the Black Catholic Experience

A Sacramento Bee editorial “University of Phoenix's political tale runs full circle” on the tax advantages sought out and provided to the University of Phoenix included a reference to the historical ties to John Sperling, the founder of the for-profit university and an employee of Saint Mary’s 35 years ago. The article notes criticism of Sperling’s operation of an adult education program at the College by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), noting that the program didn’t meet the governing body’s educational requirements. Sperling subsequently left the College, severing all ties to Saint Mary’s. The College has no connections to Sperling and none to the University of Phoenix.

Obituaries: 5

Two former teachers at SMC passed away in the past few months. Bill Redel, a former professor at SMC, died in December. He was 95 years old. Rev. John Francis Fahey, a former adjunct faculty member at Saint Mary's, died in October at the age of 88.

Public Safety: 6

There were several reports in the Bay Area News Group’s East Bay outlets about a suspicious individual who was questioned at the College. However, it was discovered that no crime had occurred. There was a valid report of attempted theft of a table from the College. Patch, the local community news website reported on a vehicle break-in that caused Moraga police officers to scour the trail outside of the campus. No students or other community members were involved.

SMC Mentions: 24

There were around two-dozen news stories with miscellaneous references to the College, such as rainfall in proximity to Saint Mary’s, Moraga merchants with sales information in the College’s colors and bird watching in the Lamorinda area.

Students in the News: 10

Ten stories noted students attending Saint Mary’s. The highlights of these mentions included a KTVU story on the second presidential debate, which featured perspectives from several SMC students and included quotes from Ruby Palmer Ghose ’15 and Evan Richardson ’14. Another story was about Anthony Villa, an SMC freshman and baseball player who is collecting T-shirts for a charity drive.

For more information about media coverage of Saint Mary's, please contact Media Relations Director Mike McAlpin at (925) 631-4222 or mdm5@stmarys-ca.edu.

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