80 Years and Counting for Brother Mel and SMC: 1960-1969

By Erin Hallissy and Rich Davi

1970 - Women are admitted to Saint Mary's.


The rugby team steadily improved, ending with a 7–5 record, as it became “a sport of high interest,” according to the yearbook.


Justin Hall was opened, dedicated to Brother Justin McMahon, first provincial-vicar of the San Francisco District-Province (1868).


Another move for Brother Mel, who was assigned as principal of the boys’ division at San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno.


SMC President Brother Albert Plotz was killed with Brother F. Cornelius and Brother V. Julius in a car wreck in the Sierra Nevada. An all-male chorus was formed, directed by Monroe Kanouse and eventually recording an album of selected works. Basketball coach James Weaver resigned after seven seasons with a 110–67 record.


In the College’s centennial, the Saint Mary’s Associates developed a Great Teachers Fund to enhance academic quality by recruiting and retaining quality professors. Dennis Day, longtime Irish tenor for the Jack Benny Show, was honored at the first fundraising dinner (followed by other celebrities including Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Jimmy Durante and Danny Thomas).


Brother Mel named director and principal at Saint Mary’s College High and administrator of the residence grammar school, both in Peralta Park in Berkeley.


Crew began under the voluntary leadership of Ed Lickiss, coach of the Lake Merritt Rowing Club.


Construction got under way for a new library and dorms, part of the “Century II” program. “Peanuts” creator Charles Schultz was the commencement speaker.


Football returned as a club sport after a 16-year layoff. Spontaneous newspaper The Student was slipped under residence doors to inspire excitement over issues including the Vietnam War, the draft and other movements. New student organization SPAN (Students for Progressive Action Now) was formed to push proposed changes on curriculum, co-education and other issues.


Brother Mel invited to serve on the Board of Trustees at Saint Mary’s College. SMC letters cemented on hillside. St. Albert Hall library dedicated.


School of Education was established.


Brother Bertram, then provincial, persuaded Brother Mel to become the 23rd president of Saint Mary’s College, beginning a nearly three-decade era that brought vast changes to the school.


January Term was established to allow students to explore studies outside their major and around the world. Brother Kyran killed in car crash.