Lasallian Core Principles and Traditions


Lasallian Core Principles


The Saint Mary's College experience is guided by the Lasallian Core Principles.

  • Concern For the Poor and Social Justice
    We are in solidarity with the poor and advocate for those suffering from injustices.
  • Faith in the Presence of God 
    We believe in the living presence of God in our students, our community and our world.
  • Quality Education
    We engage in quality education together as students, staff and faculty by thinking critically and examining our world in light of faith.
  • Respect for all Persons
    We honor and respect the dignity of all individuals.
  • Inclusive Community
    We celebrate diversity and welcome all members of our community.


Students holding hands praying during mass

The Catholic tradition

Saint Mary's is dedicated to an understanding of the whole person, a dedication rooted in the College's Catholic tradition.

Every member of the SMC community is treated with dignity and has license to explore the tension between faith and reason, law and morality, individual liberty and social justice. Not everyone at Saint Mary's is Catholic, but everyone at Saint Mary's benefits from the College's Catholic tradition. We're a welcoming, searching, spirited educational community.

Students outside studying a tree

The Lasallian Tradition

At Saint Mary's we believe that teaching is a transformative practice, a belief rooted in our Lasallian tradition and the longtime stewardship of the Christian Brothers.

To teach—and learn—in the Lasallian tradition is to broaden the reach of education, promote social justice, and pursue scholarship in a community of equals. Saint Mary's students participate in a transformation of self and society, mind and spirit.

Students in class talking to a professor

The Liberal Arts Tradition

Saint Mary's College believes that an education grounded in the liberal arts tradition broadens and deepens the mind and spirit.

Our curriculum offers rigorous training in critical thinking, the careful use of language in writing and speech, and close examination, analysis, and discussion of essential texts in the arts and sciences. Our students become disciplined, expansive thinkers capable of exemplary scholarship and meaningful action.

The Core Principles Explained

"The Catholic tradition calls us to address the students' ultimate concerns: Why are we here? What are our obligations to one another and to ourselves? What is the meaning of our existence?"

Stephen Woolpert, Professor

Colleges That Changes Lives

Only Catholic college and only college in California with this distinction

"The Lasallian tradition is reflected in very concrete ways—in availability to students, careful listening, in seeking to find out what's going on with them not just intellectually, but personally, spiritually."

Carl Guarneri, Professor

Top 9 Best Schools for Veterans

Western Regional Universities – U.S. News & World Report: Best Colleges, 2023

"For teachers, the liberal arts tradition means imbuing students with a love of learning, helping them develop the intellectual habits of mind and skills so that they will continue learning after they leave Saint Mary's."

Gerald Brunetti, Professor

The Best 386 Colleges

The Princeton Review, 2023