80 Years and Counting for Brother Mel and SMC: 1950-1959

By Erin Hallissy and Rich Davi

1951 - Brother Mel at the Junior Novitiate at Mont La Salle.


Football was dropped for the second time after the season’s conclusion.


Brother Mel graduated as a philosophy major and was assigned to teach woodworking at the Junior Novitiate at Mont La Salle.


Brother Mel struck out for San Francisco, where he taught math and English at Sacred Heart High School.


For the fifth consecutive semester, The Collegian was named All-American by the Associated College Press. The Korean War draft reduced the student body by half, leaving only 400 students enrolled.


Brother Kyran Aviani, a noted artist, began teaching at SMC. An annual award is now given in his name to a graduating art major with an outstanding academic record.


SMC became a charter member of the West Coast Athletic Conference.


The Integral Program was established. Rugby returned to campus for the first time since 1914, when the Gaels switched to American football. In July, Brother S. Albert became the 21st president of SMC.


Brother Mel became the founding vice principal at La Salle High School in Pasadena.


The first full-scale bonfire rally in eight years was held, initiating a series of flaming rallies and the most successful basketball season in 10 years. On March 1, the remaining freight service on the Sacramento Northern Railway from Oakland to Lafayette ceased; the tracks were removed and the old roadbed from SMC through Lafayette was later converted to the popular Lafayette-Moraga trail.


Graduate summer programs in philosophy and theology were created. Philosophy was discontinued in 1962; theology in 1987. The Regents inaugurated the Executive Symposium, an overnight seminar to bring Bay Area executives to campus to discuss business topics. It remained an annual event until 1995.


Led by head basketball coach James Weaver and players Tom Meschery, LaRoy Doss and Joe Barry, the Gaels advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, losing to powerhouse Cal. SMC undertook a 10-year, $2 million expansion plan for the campus. KHSM was broadcast on a new 1,000-watt transmitter, reaching more of the surrounding community with programs in French and German and Brother Carl Lyons’ commentaries on Bach and Vivaldi.