President Plumb's Inauguration
All Together More: Saint Mary’s Inaugurates Richard Plumb as 30th President of Saint Mary’s College
Annaliese Martinez ’21, College Communications Staff Writer
On Friday, April 8, 2022, Saint Mary’s celebrated the inauguration of Richard Plumb, PhD, as the 30th President of Saint Mary's College. The Saint Mary’s community, joined by Plumb’s family, gathered in the Chapel to celebrate the Inaugural Mass with distinguished guests Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ and Reverend Larry Snyder, retired Vice President for Mission at University of St. Thomas, where Plumb served as executive vice president and provost for 8 years.
Students, faculty, staff, alumni, Christian Brothers, Trustees, and friends gathered on De La Salle Lawn for the installment ceremony. After opening remarks from Executive Vice President and Provost Corey Cook, Brother Christopher Brady, Brother Charles Hilken, Board of Trustees Chair Kevin Nagle, and Vice President for Mission Frances Sweeney, Plumb delivered his inaugural address around the event’s theme: All Together More. (continue below to read more and to view a video of Inauguration Day)
Scenes from President Plumb's Inauguration
“The inaugural theme All Together More is really a modern expression attributed to the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, who 24 centuries ago said, ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,’” began Plumb. “He knew something about synergy, which is really what I want to talk about here today.”
Plumb, who was a first-generation college student and earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Syracuse University, emphasized the importance of knowing students individually, an idea introduced by the founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, John Baptist de La Salle. “All of us are educators in that Lasallian tradition, whether we are in the faculty, the staff, the administration. All of us are dedicated to know our students individually, and to be able to help them. That is what inspires me at this college.”
Since the beginning of his term on July 1, 2021, Plumb has urged the College community to focus on a six-year strategic plan leading up to the College’s 2028 centennial in Moraga. Plumb spoke on inclusive excellence, innovation, and collaboration, and why these initiatives are vital for the College’s success.
“The strategic planning process currently underway has been extensive and collaborative with input from over 500 faculty, staff, and students and thousands of alumni. The initiatives that have served this through dozens of brainstorming sessions include: reimagine, reinvent, and redesign the liberal arts institution; disrupt institutional silos; innovate on-demand academic programs; increase collaboration; increase shared decision making; and increase accountability of each other,” shared Plumb.
“Embrace a creative and innovative spirit. Be willing to take risks. These are not status quo initiatives, rather they are a call to action. We have a window of opportunity in front of us right now. It’s time to seize the moment to go bold, and to position Saint Mary’s for a bright and thriving future.”
In her introduction, Sweeney shared why Plumb is best suited to lead Saint Mary’s: “A person of faith and vision with an optimistic spirit and solid work ethic, Richard has assumed this position of president here at an extraordinary time, as we emerge from a global pandemic and continue to face the multiple challenges of higher education in society today. We’re blessed that, at his core, Richard is an engineer, a problem solver, and a creative builder; a person who is more than ready to tackle difficult and complex issues; one who also appreciates the people, the programs, and the sustaining promise of Saint Mary’s. He has articulated a keen support for and intentionality towards our trifold liberal arts, Lasallian, Catholic mission as an integral part of our path.”
Members of the College community presented Plumb with gifts that represent Saint Mary’s liberal arts, Catholic, and Lasallian traditions. Academic Senate Chair and Professor Aaron Sachowitz offered three books: Emily Wilson’s translation of Homer’s Odyssey, Daniel DaFoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved; Staff Council Chair Britt Royer offered a print of the Virgin Mary, reflecting imagery associated with the Black Madonna of Częstochowa in Poland; and Associated Students President and Business Administration major Sarah Rosasco ’22 offered a gift on behalf of the Saint Mary’s student body.
Inauguration events also showcased the many talents of the Saint Mary’s community, with special performances by Plumb’s son and opera singer Sean Michael Plumb; SMC Glee, directed by Professor Julie Ford, and featuring Jalen Randall ’22 and Jesse Frank ’22; and Dance major Olivia Grimes ’24.
Saint Mary’s invites students, faculty, staff, and neighbors to celebrate the inauguration of President Plumb at Saint Mary’s College Community Day on Saturday, April 23, 2022, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.