Fall 2013 Report Shows Continued Media Recognition of SMC Faculty

Fall 2013 Media Coverage Report: Aug. 26 to Dec. 31, 2013

Highlights at a Glance:
  • The PBS NewsHour interviewed English Professor Brenda Hillman about her new book "Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire." 
  • The Daily Beast reached out to Saint Mary's political economist Jack Rasmus for insight into the issue of economic inequality, a focus in the recent NYC mayoral race.
  • CBS This Morning Interviewed Communication Professor Rev. Mike Russo about Pope Francis' Mission Statement
  • A CNBC report on a planned vehicle milage tax in the state of Washington carried an interview with School of Liberal Arts Dean and Politics Professor Steve Woolpert.  
  • The Wall Street Journal reported on a New Writer in Residency Award for English Professor Lysley Tenorio
There were 1,274 media mentions about Saint Mary's during the fall 2013 semester. Saint Mary’s faculty continue to be highlighted in the media for their academic scholarship and as expert sources for journalists reporting on issues in the news. Overall, the number of media mentions about SMC are lower than last year at this time (1348). The drop off is mostly attributable to the number of campus events related to the College's 150th annversary (Institutional News had 210 mentions this time last year, compared to 102 hits in fall 2013).  

Also, the numbers of faculty-in-the-news media mentions are lower; 159 this year, compared to 184 last fall. The higher number was due mostly to the the press coverage English Professor Lysley Tenorio received as a result of "Monstress," his critically accalimed collection of short stories that was published last year. Even so, the College still saw robust coverage of SMC faculty, with several prestigious national media mentions for Saint Mary's professors, as indicated in the above "Highlights at a Glance" examples. 

Media mentions about the College fall into the following news categories: Institutional News, Faculty in the News, Athletics, Students in the News, Alumni, Calendar Listings, Public Safety, Obituaries and SMC Mentions (miscellaneous references to SMC). Whenever possible, this report includes links to stories and to a comprehensive listing of all media mentions.
Media interest in the scholarship of SMC faculty members and their observations as expert sources continues to be strong. English Professor Brenda Hillman received attention for her literary work and new book "Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire." The Olivia C. Filippi Professor of Poetry at Saint Mary's and the director of the College's MFA Program in Creative Writing was named to the Longlist for the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry in November and garnered press interest from regional and national news outlets, including the PBS NewsHour

Communication Professor Rev. Michael Russo was sought out by CBS National News to comment on an 85-page Vatican document, called an Apostolic Exhortation, that outlines the direction Pope Francis believes the Catholic Church should be headed. Additionally, other faculty attracted national media attention for their scholarly perspectives. Political Economist Jack Rasmus was tapped by the Daily Beast, the online presence of Newsweek Magazine, for his thoughts on economic inequality, a political issue in the recent New York City mayoral race. 
Other notable media mentions during the fall term included robust regional coverage of SMC events and programs, such as the Contra Costa Times' coverage of the inauguration of President James A. Donahue as the College's first lay president. The Times' photo coverage captured the spirit and enthusiasm of the Saint Mary's event. Donahue connected with other East Bay media outlets in the fall too, including an interview in the upscale Lamorinda Book, part of Diablo magazine's coffee table city book series. He was also featured in the free community Lamorinda Weekly. 
Athletics continues to garner media attention. Several news outlets reported on the College's loss  of an appeal of the NCAA penalties levied last spring on SMC's men's basketball program. And while disappointed in the decision, Saint Mary's remains committed to excellence in its athletic programs, compliance with NCAA rules and the College's proud tradition of providing its students with positive, life-changing experiences. The College's Division I teams continue to perform at high levels; with both the men's, and women's, basketball teams posting competitive records.

Institutional News: 102

In addition to almost 20 news mentions about the inauguration of SMC's new president, there was a good deal of news related to the institution's academic and Catholic mission. In October the College responded to media inquiries from several news outlets regarding decisions by Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University to end employee health insurance coverage of elective abortions. Saint Mary's response to those inquiries, then and now, continues to be that it is reviewing the essential benefits requirement under California law and, in consultation with SMC faculty, staff and administrators, will be examining the specifics of the benefits provided to our employees. Saint Mary's will continue to assess and develop its policies to reflect its commitment to its Catholic mission.

Other institutional news highlights included coverage of a new Saint Mary's academic offering. Dance Teacher Magazine reported on SMC's new MFA in dance program, which is designed with the working dance professional in mind. The graduate program offers two degrees: a master of fine arts in dance in creative practice and a master of fine arts in dance for design and production. The new program was also reported on by the Contra Costa Times. Another institutional story was about how Saint Mary's was dealing with problems arising from technical glitches with the Common Application, an online portal that hundreds of colleges use to intake applications from aspiring college students. KGO-TV interviewed SMC Senior Associate Director of Admissions Omar Zazueta about how the College addressed the Common App issue.

Faculty In The News: 159

In addition to the highlighted faculty in the news mentions above, the fall term saw many other occasions where Saint Mary's faculty shared their academic expertise with members of the media; commenting on a variety of issues, ranging from entertainment, media history, state incarceration policies, economic disparities and national political history and tragedy. An Arizona Republic story, which was also nationally distributed through the Gannett wire service, about the anniversary of the TV series "The X-Files," featured observations by Communication Professor Ellen Rigsby. English Professor Robert Gorsch spoke with KCBS radio about the 75th anniversary of the Halloween eve radio broadcast of "War of the Worlds," a 1938 CBS live radio show that caused a panic among thousands of people across the nation who believed that Martians had invaded the Earth. The San Jose Mercury News tapped Communication Professor Rev. Mike Russo about the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and how that tragic event forever changed the way television news was reported.  
School of Liberal Arts Dean and Politics Professor Steve Woolpert continued his strong presence as a political commentator with a national interview with CNSB.com about a planned vehicle milage tax in the state of Washington. The story was also featured on MSNBC.com. Woopert also penned an op-ed on the political game of chicken in the government shutdown that was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, first online prior to an agreement between Democrats and Republicans and then revised for the print version, after the political head-butting had thankfully come to an end. 

Other media mentions for SMC faculty included a story on the education website The Hechinger Report, about the effectiveness of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses). The report featured an interview with Communication Professor Dan Leopard. SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle's online portal featured a glowing profile of Saint Mary's education professor Raina León, a talented poet whose latest book "Boogeyman Dawn" was recently published. Dance program director Cathy Davalos was also interviewed about the College's fall dance production and the Saint Mary's new MFA in dance program in the Contra Costa Times.
Several professors from the School of Economics and Business Administration were tapped near the end the term for insight on business issues in the news. A San Jose Mercury News story about surviving a bad boss featured insights from SEBA management professor Nancy Lam.  Professor James Hawley, a corporate governance and public pension management expert, weighed in on a possible conflict of interest issue for the Windy City business and financial news outlet Crain's Chicago Business. Professor Jyoti Bachani's academic paper presentation on the Indian cultural tradition of Jugaad, or frugal innovation, was reported on by the Hindu Business Line. And SEBA global marketing professor Tomas Gomez-Arias spoke with KCBS news radio about the disturbing trend of increasing numbers of underage garment workers in Cambodia.
Athletics: 684 

Saint Mary's stellar athletics program continues to attract media coverage. This time last year, the number of media mentions athletics piled up was around 400. This fall's increase is a result of several factors, increasing coverage of the men's basketball program and its competitive record (14-5), follow-up reporting on the NCAA penalties on the men's program and Coach Randy Bennett and a good many stories about the chances of former Gael guard Matthew Dellavedova making it to the NBA and securing a spot on the Cleveland Cavaliers's roster.  And while the men's programs garners the lion's share of media mentions, the success of the women's team (16-3) has also generated a fair amount of reporting as well. 

Students in the News: 78

There were a number of media mentions about SMC students in their communities. Some were academically related, such as collection Bay Area News Group stories about several students, including SMC freshman Mykayla Macias, winning a $2,000 scholarship award for an essay on citizenship. However, the lion's share of these media mentions are the result of media outlets picking up around 66 press releases about the business efforts of SMC business student Dylan Sievers, the founder and CEO of an off road LED light company.

Alumni: 120 
There were a number of alumni in the news mentions. While most were public relations-generated notices regarding career appointments, there were some notable news items, including an important Sacramento Bee op-ed about the imperative need to support Cal Grants co-written by Saint Mary's alumnae Maria Elena Durazo. The 1975 SMC alumna was also featured in a Huffington Post slide show about Latino activists. Other alumni media mentions included a charming story in the Marin Independent Journal, which reported on alumnus and wine shop owner Greg O'Flynn who says in a profile article that the Christian Brothers at SMC were responsible for sparking his interest in wine. Two alums who had life threatening experiences in their pasts had channeled those experiences into career pursuits. The Turlock Journal reported on Ryan Lonergan who suffered a heart attack after playing basketball as a eighth grader. The story tells of Lonergan's efforts to make sure schools in his community have AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) located in them. In September the Sacramento Bee reported on Joyce Mikal-Flynn, a nurse practitioner who earned her doctorate at the KSOE, and her efforts to develop a new approach to rehabilitation after a person has a heart attack. The tri-athlete suffered a heart attack in 1990.    

Calendar Listings: 78
A variety of fall term campus events found the attention of calendar editors and reporters, including the following highlighted events. The performing arts department's theater production "And When We Awoke There was Light and Light," received a glowing review by the Contra Costa Times. A panel discussion about the legacy of Governor Jerry Brown was noted by the Sacramento Bee and San Francisco Chronicle. The Contra Costa Times also reported on a benefit concert held in the College's Chapel to support St. Martin de Porres elementary school, a community partner of SMC. The event featured the renown mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and the SMC Chamber Singers. Also, a CILSA sponsored lecture by former White House Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu drew coverage by the Oakland Tribune.


Public Safety: 5

There were a few minor reports about public safety issues during the fall term. In November there was a Lamorinda Patch story reported of an incident where foul odors were emanating from a package for a student; it was later determined to be spoiled food. In December, an individual, determined to be possibly homeless, trespassed on the campus and was arrested, the incident was reported in the Contra Costa Times' police blotter.

Obituaries: 24


Sadly, during the fall term there were quite a few media mentions about the deaths of individuals associated with the College. One of the most notable was Ronald P. McArthur, the founding president of Thomas Aquinas College. A Saint Mary's alumnus, McArthur died Oct. 17, he was 89-years-old. Jack Gregg Harrington, 89, of Paso Robles, passed away on September 1. A World War II veteran, Harrington attended SMC after enlisting in the U.S. Navy as an aviation cadet. He received his wings at the College and was commissioned as 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Marine Corps. In September there was also  a notice about the death of Jacquelyn Yvonne Gomez, an 85-year-old alumna, who earned a nursing degree from the College. She lived in Sonoma. Antoinette (Toni) C. Moran, 77, of Stockton died on September 17. Moran earned a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Saint Mary's. She taught for 30 years. Paul Guy Goodfellow, an alumnus died October 21 at the age of 81. He was a resident of New Orleans. A memorial service was held in late August for Susan Marie Kemble Randuch, a 51-year-old alumnus of the School of Science and a nurse who died August 21 from cancer. 
SMC Mentions: 24

About two dozen media hits contain miscellaneous references to the College. These news stories include a collection of articles from the Lamorinda Weekly which referred to Saint Mary's proximity to neighborhood establishments or events, Bay Area News Groups stories about high school athletic competitions at the McKeon Pavilion or traffic reports referencing the College as a landmark.

To view the entire report with all media mentions, visit the following link:http://ow.ly/thgqJ


For questions about this report contact Mike McAlpin, director of media relations at (925) 631-4222 or mdm5@stmarys-ca.edu.