Alumni Awards

More than 150 alumni, family and friends were on hand Saturday, April 28, for the Alumni Association’s annual awards ceremony. As part of a tradition that goes back to 1959, the Alumni Board of Directors selected five deserving recipients, including the Alumnus of the Year, Joe Crane ’53. The other award recipients were Rev. Caesar Caviglia ’50, Cindy Cooper ’96, Professor Chris Jones and Derek Smead ’02. In addition, John Arnaudon ’81 and Miles McAfee (posthumous) were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame.

Alumnus of the Year:
C. Joseph Crane ’53

Joe Crane ’53, who died Saturday, May 19, gave a lifetime to serving Saint Mary’s College, his community and the church. During more than 50 years in financial services, Joe found time for leadership on numerous community boards — as director of the Business Council, Inc. of San Joaquin County; vice chair of the St. Joseph’s Medical Center Board of Trustees; chair of the Better Business Bureau; president of the Yosemite Club; director of Goodwill Industries, Inc.; director of the Hanot Foundation and more.

Crane also served as president of the Saint Mary’s College Board of Regents and dedicated himself to supporting his alma mater, serving on the Alumni Board and hosting events. A mentor for Stockton-area students attending Saint Mary’s College, he established the C. Joseph Crane Endowed Scholarship Fund in 1996 to help graduates of Saint Mary’s High School in Stockton heading to Moraga. More recently he established a second scholarship fund to cover additional financial needs. “I truly believe I owe everything I have to Saint Mary’s,” Crane said. He generously supported the same opportunity for today’s young Gaels.

Signum Fidei Award: 
Rev. Caesar Caviglia ’50 

Father Caviglia ’50 has been described as the most powerful man in Nevada politics. Born to Italian parents who immigrated to the Nevada mining town of McGill, Father Caviglia went on to serve as a priest in the Diocese of Las Vegas. Now retired, Father Caviglia, who once also served as president of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, was named the 2011 Nevadan of the Year by the state’s Board of Regents. He is credited with founding Henderson Community College of Southern Nevada, where the main building on campus is named in his honor.

Meritorious Service award:
Cindy Neander Cooper ’96

While she was serving on Saint Mary’s Alumni Board of Directors, Neander made it her business to find out what alumni events and activities were most important to Gael graduates. She quickly learned that the Beer and Wine Festival, which had been discontinued, was something they sincerely missed. Given the Christian Brothers’ rich tradition of winemaking and the notable Saint Mary’s alumni presence in the winemaking industry, she thought it was high time to bring back the cherished event. With her leadership, the Summer Wine Festival revived the tradition, and the annual event has raised more than $100,000 for the Alumni Legacy Scholarship Fund over the past seven years. Neander has built the highly attended Summer Wine Festival into one of the most successful community events each year, increasing alumni engagement, building College visibility in the community and supporting the educations of future Gaels.

G.O.L.D. Award:
Derek Smead ’02 

Derek Smead is passionate about Saint Mary’s and the College’s mission. As a member of Saint Mary’s Board of Regents and the advisory council for the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art, Derek has been instrumental in supporting the College’s critical priorities. As president of the Walker Foundation, Derek has helped identify funding to support conservation and collection activities at the Museum of Art and developed a robust internship program in honor of Brother Cornelius, who acquired the paintings that now form the core of Saint Mary’s considerable William Keith collection. Derek’s efforts have also supported marketing and outreach efforts for the museum and the funding of student scholarships. The Walker Foundation also supports Mission and Ministry and was a key sponsor of “Mary in the Modern World,” a Saint Mary’s conference on the Blessed Mother. Derek is the founder and principal at Sustaina Beverage Group, LLC, and co-founder of Apollo Enterprise Solutions, a web-based debt-management company. As a young alumnus building a successful career, he has always made time to contribute to the future of his alma mater.

De la Salle Award:
Chris Jones 

Since coming to Saint Mary’s in 2003, Professor Chris Jones, chair of the department of mathematics and computer science, has made significant contributions to student life and learning. In the best Saint Mary’s tradition, Chris devotes himself to a student-centered approach to teaching and mentorship, serving as a student resident director for more than eight years and developing learning communities to enhance students’ academic success. He founded and directs the Science Living-Learning Community, which, in concert with the Honors Community in Assumption Hall, has made great strides in student retention rate. Chris also created and directed the Student Math Center, an evening tutorial program designed to help students succeed in lower division math courses, and last year he and Professor Wewei Pan launched the College’s first summer math camp for gifted high school students. Meanwhile, he also finds time to coach the women’s club soccer team.

Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee:
John Arnaudon ’81, Football 

John Arnaudon lettered in football from 1978 to 1981 and is sixth all-time at Saint Mary’s in reception yards (1,522) with 90 career receptions. In his senior season he had 39 receptions for a total of 552 yards and four touchdowns. In 1980 against Santa Clara in the Little Big Game, Arnaudon had his best game, catching eight passes for a total of 92 yards. He also combined with Terry Cottle on the longest pass reception in school history at the time. He finished his college career with 10 touchdowns.

Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee (posthumous):
Miles McAfee, Baseball Coach 1973–80 

Miles McAfee, who coached the Gaels from 1973 to 1980, was one of the first African Americans to serve as a Division I head baseball coach and remains the alltime leader in wins for the Saint Mary’s baseball program. He coached five players who went on to the majors. His career record in eight seasons at Saint Mary’s was 215 –188 –7 including a Northern California Baseball Association (NCBA) and West Coast Conference record of 104–107–1. McAfee coached the 1977 squad to the best program record in history at 41–13, ultimately finishing second in the NCBA.