80 Years and Counting for Brother Mel and SMC: 1990-1999
By Erin Hallissy and Rich Davi
1998 - Science professor Judd Case.
A major convocation on liberal arts was convened featuring Eva T.H. Brann, dean of instruction at St. John’s College, Annapolis, whose address, “Take No Thought for the Morrow,” created an academic stir. Women’s basketball posted a 21–7 overall record and won its second consecutive WCC title.
College had difficulties with Moraga officials in gaining approval for two new residence halls, with some council members suggesting “user fees” should be charged to help pay for a recreation facility for Moraga. A compromise resulted in no user fees and a formalization of existing College policy that its facilities be available to Moragans.
The first Professor of the Year event was held, honoring Professor Marguerite (Candy) Boyd from the School of Education.
Brother Mel received the Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Liberty award.
SMC moved all sports to NCAA Division I level; football became a Division I-AA sport for the first time since being dropped.
It was a big award year for Brother Mel, who was selected as Moraga Citizen of the Year and received the papal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal.
The work of the New Century Committee led to a new College mission statement from Brother Mel which affirmed the Catholic, Lasallian and liberal arts traditions on campus and called them “dynamic forces capable of ensuring a promising future.”
The MFA in Creative Writing program was founded.
Mary Garaventa Hall, the first new academic facility in 20 years, was completed.
Brother Mel retired from the SMC presidency after 28 years in the position. He also received the National Lasallian Educator Award.
In front of the Chapel, the Saint John Baptist de La Salle statue by Bruce Wolfe was dedicated.
Science professor Judd Case was part of a team that discovered fossils of a duck-billed dinosaur on Vega Island off the Antarctic Peninsula. It was the first such find of the dinosaur outside the Americas, supporting the idea of a land bridge between South America and Antarctica.
The “Spirit of Saint Mary’s” $150 million capital campaign was launched. A Mass of Celebration was held for the renovated Chapel. Women’s basketball advanced to its first NCAA Tournament. Women’s lacrosse was added as an NCAA Division I sport.