Highlights-At-A-Glance

  • 4,580 Media Mentions — the 2nd highest amount in four years, only surpassed by SMC’s 2010 Sweet 16 year.
  • “Monstress,” English Professor Lysley Tenorio’s debut collection of short stories, garners national praise from a multitude of news outlets, including the New York Times and NPR.
  • 484 Faculty in the News items — a 104% increase over last year’s media mentions of Saint Mary’s professors.
  • Three SMC teams win West Coast Conference Championships:
    • Men’s Basketball
    • Men’s Soccer
    • Men’s Golf

Overview

Saint Mary's College was mentioned in the news on more than 4,580 occasions between August 1, 2011 and May 18, 2012. Those news mentions include online and print stories, syndicated and wire service articles, coverage by broadcast TV and radio news stations and alumni career announcements picked up by various media outlets.   

There were 228 items under the Institutional News category, which reflected mentions that touched on academic and reputational concerns, such as alumnus, poet and Bay Area sports legend Tom Meschery delivering the keynote speech at the College’s 149th Commencement Ceremony or reports about College leadership supporting exemptions for Catholic institutions from federal guidelines at odds with Catholic values. Members of Saint Mary’s talented faculty were prominently featured in the media over the year, garnering 484 mentions. As in previous years news about Athletics made up the lion’s share of all Saint Mary’s media mentions with more than 1,300. Career announcements about Alumni drove the second largest amount of media mentions with over 1,000 hits.

Overall, the College had a very good year of media coverage. SMC faculty members are consistently being tapped for their expertise by news outlets at a much higher rate than they have been over the past four years. Additionally, a variety of academic offerings, such as the Trans Global Executive MBA Program and the College’s Jan Term garnered the attention of broadcast and print reporters alike. Also, Saint Mary’s talented students received coverage by local media outlets such as the Catholic Voice and the national wire service Getty Images for their commitment to SMC’s mission.

Saint Mary’s is increasingly receiving the attention it deserves as a result of media outlets independently recognizing the talented faculty and academic offerings at the College and through the use of tactics such as the development of a media plan that echoes the College’s marketing plan, consistent outreach to the media through ongoing advocacy and tools such as media training for professors and an updated faculty experts directory that is a genuine resource for local media.  Going forward College Communications will continue to use these successful techniques to promote Saint Mary’s within the Bay Area and throughout the nation.

This report summarizes notable media mentions over the academic year, beginning with Faculty in the News items, followed by Institutional News and lists remaining news categories of Athletics, Alumni items, Calendar Listings (which include exhibitions at the College’s Museum of Art), Public Safety, Obituaries, SMC Mentions (miscellaneous stories that carry brief references about the College) and Students in the News.

Faculty in the News

The College saw a significant upsurge in the number of Faculty in the News mentions over the course of the year. SMC faculty members were noted in the news 484 times from August 2011 to May 2012, a 104% increase over the same time the previous year.  The jump from last year’s 235 Faculty in the News mentions to 480 this year was a result of two factors:

  1. Saint Mary’s professors, such as Lysley Tenorio, whose new book “Monstress” has drawn national praise, and celebrated poet Brenda Hillman, continue to be profiled for their scholarly achievements in local and national media outlets.
  2. Consistent advocacy of SMC professors as expert sources for news organizations has paid off, with more faculty members being asked to weigh in on a variety on news issues, such as the global economy, the 2012 presidential race, the Arab Spring and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A large portion of the hits in this category were a result of the national news and regional media coverage of English Professor Lysley Tenorio’s new book “Monstress;” his critically acclaimed debut collection of short stories. Tenorio received more than one hundred media mentions and was prominently featured in national stories by the New York Times, LA Times, Boston Globe and a review of his book, and commentary from him, was heard nationally on NPR. Tenorio was also spotlighted in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle and other news outlets.

The literary talents of English Professor and celebrated poet Brenda Hillman also attracted national recognition. Hillman’s poem  “Till It Finishes What It Does” was featured in the New Yorker magazine and Slate Magazine spotlighted her piece “After a Very Long Difficult Day.”

Additionally, a recent paper on consumer purchasing behavior research in the Journal of Consumer Research by SEBA Graduate Business Professor Andrew Wilson was the subject of several regional reports, including an expanded local interview on KGO Radio.

While the College’s Faculty in the News mentions soared this year because of the “Monstress” coverage of Tenorio’s talents (pun intended), a second look shows that even after parsing out coverage of “Monstress,” SMC Faculty in the News mentions were up significantly, by nearly 60%. These media mentions included highlights such as a national USA Today story featuring Economics Professor Kara Boatmen commenting on the growth of luxury boxes in N.F.L. stadiums. Another national hit was a CNN Online feature on Hip Hop that included an interview with Communication Professor Aaron Sachs.

Local coverage of our faculty was substantial as well, This week, SEBA Associate Dean Shyam Kamath was profiled by NBC Bay Area News as part of the station’s “Bay Area Proud” series, which profiles people and companies making a positive difference in the Bay Area and the world.

Earlier in the year, the Diablo Magazine’s January article “A Brighter Tomorrow,” which offered solutions for the nation from East Bay thought leaders, featured School of Education Dean Phyllis Metcalf-Turner, Economics Professor Jack Rasmus and Politics Professor Suzi Weissman.

In February KQED’s Forum show explored Syria’s future with Middle East Politics Professor Hisham Ahmed — who was also repeatedly called by several media outlets over the year to provide insight on the Arab Spring.

In its coverage of the “Occupy” movement, the San Jose Mercury News reached out to Sociology Professor Robert Bulman to provide historical insight on social movements in the country.  Additionally, School of Liberal Arts Dean Steve Woolpert is increasingly becoming a “go to” source on national politics for outlets such as CBS-5/KPIX-TV.

Other faculty members who provided assistance to reporters covering news issues and trends over the academic year included SEBA Professor Tomas Gomez Arias and English Professors Rosemary Graham, Robert Gorsch, Lisa Manter, and Denise Witzig.

Institutional News

The 228 items under the Institutional News category were articles that touched on the reputation of the College, its academic offerings or mission related concerns. These items included an entertaining interview on the NPR sports show “Only A Game” with alumnus, poet and Bay Area sports legend Tom Meschery about his career and nervousness about delivering the keynote speech at the College’s 149th Commencement Ceremony, the category also included the disappointing news that the College was not selected to host a 2012 Presidential Debate, and more upbeat academic stories, such as a Chicago Tribune spotlight on the efforts of SMC’s career office to provide etiquette training to jobseekers, the addition of the environmental education program River of Words to the Kalmanovitz School of Education’s new Center for Environmental Learning and the establishment of a Museum of Art at the College. Mission related issues also garnered media attention, such as a Bay Area News Group report about College leadership supporting exemptions for Catholic institutions from federal guidelines at odds with Catholic values.

Athletics

There were 1,320 news items this academic year for SMC Athletics. While the largest amount of those clips came as a result of the WCC championship winning men’s basketball team, SMC athletics had a phenomenal year overall with two other conference champions. The men’s soccer team clinched the program’s first-ever West Coast Conference title last fall and this spring, the Gaels golf team won its first-ever WCC title.  And stepping back to basketball, Junior Matthew Dellavedova garnered honors on the hardcourt and in the classroom, as the WCC Player of the Year and the first male athlete at Saint Mary’s to earn first-team Capital One® Academic All-America honors. The Gael rugby team also had a sterling year, undefeated in the Pacific Coast Conference, the team beat No.1 ranked Cal 20-18 and finished the regular season No. 2 in the country. This month, they defeated Utah 25-15 in the D1-A quarterfinals before falling to Arkansas State in the semifinals. 

Alumni

Career announcements about Alumni drove the second largest amount of media mentions with around 1,081 hits referencing Saint Mary’s. Alums of the College were recognized for their achievements in the fields of the arts, business, education, law enforcement and technology. Of the many announcements, several news items stood out, including a New York Times article and Fast Company online feature that offered perspectives from alumnus and CourseSmart CEO Sean Devine, and an Art Daily article on the appointment of alum Timothy Child as a VP with the J. Paul Getty Trust.

Calendar Listings

Including duplicated postings of the many campus events, performances, art exhibitions and programs at the College, there were 483 media mentions about various Calendar Listings of public events and offerings at SMC, ranging from Performing Arts Department productions such as the Fall theatre production of June in a Box to art exhibits such as the Comprehensive Keith: A Centennial Tribute at the new Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art.

Public Safety

There were 196 media mentions relating to public safety concerns over the year.  More than a third of those news items were related to reports of two sexual assaults on the College campus in September. Given the nature of the incidents, and the fact they occurred within two weeks of each other, media interest was very high.  However, as a result of the College’s focus on transparency, a student led rally to raise awareness against sexual assault (ably supported by the Women’s Resource Center’s Gillian Cutshaw and Sharon Sobotta), a consistent theme emerged in the overall news coverage which was Saint Mary’s was united in saying “no” to sexual assault.  It was also clearly articulated that the incidents were "relationship" acts of violence and there were no "institutional failures" in the College’s around the clock public safety service.  Importantly, stories that referenced the College’s history regarding sexual assaults a decade ago clearly reported on positive changes that have been made and commitments met at the College, such as the Women’s Resource Center and a 24/7 Sexual Assault Hotline.   

Other public safety items involved duplicate reports of area police blotters chronicling thefts of electronic gear from a cell tower located on the College campus and the thefts of several computers from an SMC classroom and other items stolen from vehicles in the area.

Obituaries

There were 358 media mentions referencing the deaths of individuals associated with the College. Most of the notices were about 77-year-old Patricia Disney, a former Regent and generous supporter of the College. Among her many generous gifts to the College, was an endowment for the academic lecture series, the Roy E. and Patricia Disney Forum.

Another notice was about the passing of Elaine McKeon. Mrs. McKeon and her husband, and former trustee, George R. McKeon generously provided financial assistance to the College over many years. The McKeon Pavilion, which opened in 1978 and is the home of the SMC Gaels, was funded by the couple.

The SMC community also mourned the loss of a dear member of Saint Mary’s faculty this year. In October, the Contra Costa Times reported on the death of Brother Donald Mansir, a 62-year-old beloved Saint Mary's professor.

SMC Mentions

There were 336 references to the College as a landmark, or as the location for local community events and regional prep sports competitions.

Students in the News

There were around 93 media mentions about SMC students, up from 50 the same time last year. Reports covered student involvement in academic programs such as a KGO Radio report and the Lamorinda Patch story on an SMC Jan Term trip to Cambodia, and mission related initiatives, such as “Border Crossing,” an effort organized by students in the College’s Mission and Ministry Center, to raise awareness of the barriers and borders many people in the world confront. The initiative generated media coverage by national wire service Getty Images, resulting in photos of SMC students on the Good Morning America (GMA) website and there was a good deal of local coverage too, with a KGO radio story and Spanish language news reports by Telemundo (Noticero 48) and Univision (Noticias 14).  

There were also reports about the uptick in student veterans on the campus of Saint Mary’s by KGO radio and the Catholic Voice.  Not surprisingly, the commitment to community service by students and former students of SMC attracted media attention. Locally, the Contra Costa Times spotlighted the volunteer efforts of the Verrips, a Moraga family with strong ties to the College.

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The Office of Media Relations helps to advance the reputation of Saint Mary's by actively promoting the College, its academic programming, faculty expertise and student achievements to news organizations and external audiences.  For more information about how SMC connects with the media contact Director of Media Relations Mike McAlpin at 925-631-4222 (office), 925-878-9535 (cell) or by e-mail at mdm5@stmarys-ca.edu.

 

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