Solid Marks From Moody’s
Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed Saint Mary’s Baa1 rating and upgraded its outlook from negative to stable. “An upgrade in outlook is significant as Moody’s has the entire education sector under a negative outlook,” said Pete Michell, vice president for finance.
Faculty Star Gazing
Four professors were honored at the 11th Annual Scholars Reception in February for their positive contributions to their fields and to the Saint Mary’s community.
Stunning Glass Venetians
A new studio glass exhibit opened in June at the Saint Mary’s Museum of Art, showcasing 72 works from a stunning collection by glass artist Dale Chihuly. The Venetians, on loan from the George R. Stroemple Collection, features large multicolored vessels for drinking or holding liquids, some inspired by perfume bottles, with hot-formed figurative sculptures of putti (chubby male children, usually nude and sometimes winged) and mythological creatures. Also in the collection are smaller but no less spirited vessels based on Venetian themes.
Brave, Courageous Acts
Brother Armin Altamirano Luistro, FSC, secretary of education in the Philippines, influenced a fundamental change in Philippine education and also played a brave part in the politics of that nation. He delivered the Convocation address and was awarded an honorary doctorate in educational leadership at this year’s De La Salle Week, the College’s annual celebration of our Lasallian mission and the life of the Christian Brothers’ founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle.
National Rugby Champs!
The Saint Mary’s rugby team won its first-ever USA Rugby Division 1A national championship with a 21-6 triumph over Life University of suburban Atlanta May 10 at Stanford’s Steuber Rugby Stadium. The Gaels used outstanding defense to prevail in a rematch of last year’s national final that Life rallied to win after SMC led at halftime. A national championship was far from head coach Tim O’Brien’s mind coming into the season. “We graduated nine starters from last year’s team, two of whom are now members of the USA national team,” he said. “We had quite conservative expectations. But the team’s love for one another and willingness to work in a cooperative and entrepreneurial environment were keys to a terrific season.”
NBA Champion Patty Mills
Former SMC star Patty Mills became the first Gael to play for a National Basketball Association championship team when his San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Mills provided a tremendous spark off the bench for the Spurs, with five three-point baskets and 17 points in the final game of the championship series. That came on the heels of scoring 14 points, with four three-pointers, in the previous game. Mills totaled 31 points in less than 34 minutes of playing time in the two games combined. During the regular season he led the Spurs in both games played and three-pointers made. The NBA championship adds to an impressive basketball resume for Mills, who led the Gaels to the NCAA tournament in 2008 and played in the Olympics for Australia in 2008 and 2012. Mills had the highest scoring average of any player in the 2012 Olympics, beating out four-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant.
Poise on the Mound
No matter how impressive the results, Cameron Neff isn’t the type of baseball player to stick his chest out and sing his own praises. Instead, the Saint Mary’s rising sophomore is letting his right arm do all the talking.
Hall of Famer Steps In
When the Saint Mary’s sand volleyball team found itself in need of a coach just a few months before the 2014 season, Gaels indoor coach Rob Browning knew to look South. Thats where he found Mike Dodd, 1996 Olympic silver medalist, member of the Volleyball Hall of Fame and longtime coach to some of the best beach players in the country. He came north from his home in Southern California to coach a Gaels team that had enjoyed a tremendously successful first season under then-head coach Brent Crouch in 2013.
Jeffrey Brown, chief correspondent for arts, culture and society on PBS NewsHour, and his spouse, Paula Crawford, an artist and associate professor of painting at George Mason University, visited campus in March as Woodrow Wilson fellows. Their visit gave members of the community the chance to turn the tables on the veteran journalist and ask him questions, and the couple participated in panel discussions on the value of a liberal arts education and the intersections of art, poetry and practice. The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program, administered by the Council of Independent Colleges in Washington, D.C., brings prominent nonacademic professionals to campuses across the United States for seminars, workshops and lectures. Saint Mary’s has participated in the Visiting Fellows program for 20 years.
This spring a series of six events celebrated the diversity on the Saint Mary’s campus. The Arabian, Asian and Latino Cultural Nights, The Bash (for LGBTQIA), Lu’au and Expressions of Blackness drew enthusiastic crowds of friends and family, who enjoyed food, entertainment and thought-provoking reflections on historical milestones, customs and contemporary issues. These annual celebrations are sponsored by the Intercultural Center.
Reveling in Dance
It began with a generous offer of a ride to dance rehearsal 17 years ago. Fresh out of graduate school at Mills College, Dana Lawton caught a lift with CatherineMarie Davalos, who at the time was putting together the dance program at Saint Mary’s. After discovering that Lawton had an M.F.A. in dance, Davalos offered her a job. Lawton accepted right away and immediately began teaching ballet—using a boom box. Seventeen years later the boom box is gone, but Lawton remains on campus blazing new roads for dance at Saint Mary’s.
A License for Action
Leon Panetta, former secretary of defense and director of the Central Intelligence Agency for President Barack Obama, addressed 764 graduating seniors Saturday, May 24, at the 2014 undergraduate commencement ceremony. “Your education is a license to action, not an excuse to sit back and do nothing,” said Panetta, whose public service career spans more than 50 years. “Your Seminar education made you think and now you have to act. Changes in our democracy I am afraid are not going to happen from the top down. It’s going to happen from the bottom up. And you’re it.”
Road Map for the Future
In February, Saint Mary’s embarked on a five-phase process to map the College’s future strategic direction. The process is designed to galvanize the College community around a compelling vision and future possibilities for continued intellectual vibrancy, financial strength and innovation. The project will engage the College community in defining a five-year plan that specifies goals, initiatives, outcomes, measures, resources and a framework to move the College toward achieving its aspirations. The steering committee for the planning process conducted open listening sessions for faculty, staff and students, facilitated by The Napa Group, a consulting firm. Town halls and other forums will be held in fall 2014 to review the draft strategic plan, which will be finalized by December 2014. “I continue to be impressed with the way our community is coming together in support of this important initiative,” said President James Donahue. “Together, we are creating a road map for our future.”
SEBA Joins Elite Group
In January, the School of Economics and Business Administration (SEBA) achieved an important milestone when it was awarded AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation. With this honor, SEBA joins an elite group of business schools recognized as representing the highest international standard of instruction and scholarship in business education. Less than 5 percent of the world’s business programs have earned AACSB accreditation.