For more than 30 years, Professor Jerry Brunetti and the Collegiate Seminar Program have been almost synonymous. Brunetti brings a love of learning, not only for the texts but also for his students, to each Seminar class and on Nov. 6, 2013, those qualities were further recognized as he was awarded the DeSales Perez award for Excellence in Collegiate Seminar.
The DeSales Perez award was first awarded in 1996, when it was given to Brother O. DeSales Perez himself. Professor Brunetti, who first taught at Saint Mary’s in 1979 and in Seminar in 1982, is the 18th recipient.
Brunetti continued to return to the program because he genuinely loves it. He reflected these feelings throughout his acceptance speech, which lit up the entire room with his joy and warmth.
In particular, Brunetti expressed a great deal of fondness toward the faculty Seminar retreats, which took place on Russian River. It was there that faculty of all departments came together to discuss the important questions surrounding Seminar such as “Why are we reading this text instead of that?” or “How do we get quiet students to participate?” or even the more humorous question, “What do we do about an assigned reading that we can’t stand?”
“All of us came together to share our commitment to the liberal arts and specifically to our great books program” Brunetti said. “We gathered, we ate and drank, we laughed, we discussed, we shared, we learned; and we departed understanding better how to work with our wonderful students and how fortunate we were to be a part of this exciting venture: the Collegiate Seminar Program.”
He also spoke of the future of the Seminar Program and his experience teaching Seminar 2: Western Heritage and concluded that "Seminar is still very much Seminar. Its core is still students and a faculty facilitator engaged together in the exciting process of unraveling the mysteries of an important text."
When asked after his speech about his success in the program, Brunetti attributed much of it to his past and current colleagues. “To the extent that I’m successful, I’ve been doing the same things that others have been doing,” he said. “I really try to encourage students to introduce the reading as much as possible and we go from there. And it’s hard to predict where that might go, but that’s what keeps it interesting.”
Brunetti’s love for his students and Seminar shine through in his character and, just like his Seminar classes themselves, that’s what keeps it interesting.
By Alex Kummert ’15