Chris Gargano ('90)
Name: Chris Gargano
Year of Graduation: 1990
Hometown: Novato, CA
What is one of your fondest memories of SMC?
My fondest memories involve just being on the campus doing anything. That is the greatest campus in the country. I loved studying in the library, going to class in the early morning and of course playing baseball at Lou Guisto Field. I have tremendous memories with friends that I am still close with to this day.
Of the Communication Department?
Father Michael Russo and Ed Tywoniak were very inspirational to me and for different reasons. Father Russo taught me how to study and to retain information and why it is important. Ed was inspiring through his passion for everything that he did and still does. Ed taught me to simply “Go for it” in life. They are absolute treasures and again I am thankfully still in touch with them to this day.
What do you miss about SMC/college?
I miss the innocence of college. Not that it is easy, but that the real world is challenging and it’s hard to prepare a college student for that reality. I miss talking with so many different people who are in the exact same position you are in – college students. There is a tremendous sense of bonding.
What was the biggest transformation you experienced at SMC?
I realized that I had to work very hard to walk-on to the St. Mary’s baseball team my freshman year. I realized that the scholarship players were way better than I was and other walk-ons were as well. The only way to keep up was through hard work and a lot of it. That same transformation had to occur in the classroom with my studies. I got off to a slow start in college academically and I had to spend the next three years getting back on track. That was not easy. So, I learned what hard work can do.
All-time favorite class?
Jesus Figures in Film
Because we analyzed classic films like “Cool Hand Luke” and “On the Waterfront” and had to really study how the characters developed and why they did what they did. It was fascinating to see heroic acts and why people stood up for what they believed in no matter what the result. I learned so much from that class from an analytical standpoint and to stand up for what you believe in no matter what.
What was your first job out of college?
I was hired at KFTY-TV in Santa Rosa, CA as a Sports Reporter/Anchor.
How prepared were you for that job?
I wrote for the Collegian and coupled with my education I was prepared because I had learned how to tell a story, how to write, how edit etc. I benefited from being the General Manager at KSMC my Senior Year giving me an introduction to business and of course all the on-air work helped. But given all of this, it was still shocking at first how the real world worked. Not everyone cares how you are doing like they do in college. You have to succeed and or fail on your own.
How did SMC figure into your level of preparation?
I was at Saint Mary’s at a great time. We had a television truck and we televised football and basketball games. I was fortunate to be able to announce most of these games and this experience led to several internships at radio and television stations in San Francisco while at Saint Mary’s.
"As I look back, I have continually benefited from my education at SMC. Not just the first job, but every job because of the way SMC encourages students to think and communicate effectively. There has never been a single day that I wished I had attended another University."
What other jobs did you have between then and now?
It’s been a wild ride. I went from Santa Rosa to Salisbury, Maryland to Reno, Nevada to Portland, Oregon to St. Louis, Missouri back to San Francisco all as a television Sports Reporter/Anchor. That journey took 12 years. For the past 10 years I have worked for both the Oakland Raiders and now the San Francisco Giants.
What's your title now?
Senior Director of Marketing and Entertainment for the San Francisco Giants
What's the best part of your current job?
I love working with our great group (SFG Productions). We have the best young, talented producers and editors. They make coming to work fun. In fact, our Senior Editor and Producer is SMC grad Torin Simpson. He was a student of mine back in 2002 when I co-taught a Sports Journalism class with Father Russo. He was a standout then and he’s a standout now. We worked together with the Raiders and now again with the Giants. We have collaborated on several projects that I think we will both never forget. As I get older, my professional life becomes more about relationships and what can be accomplished together. That is what I enjoy most about my current job. We really try and push each other to create outstanding entertainment for Giants fans everywhere.
Other than work, what is your life about?
My life is about my family. My free-time is spent with family and friends.
What's your advice for current SMC students?
Work hard. There is no substitute for working hard. It is up to you to achieve success. Don’t rely on anyone else. If you are given an opportunity, realize it and take advantage of it by working hard. In the end, something given to you will never be as rewarding as something you worked for.
Don’t forget to find something you love and have fun doing it!