It's The Year of The GAEL! Saint Mary's To Celebrate 150th Anniversary

Jorge Gomez of Facilities Services installs one of many banners across campus announcing the Oct. 6, 2012 GAELEBRATION! The free public festival will celebrate the Year of the GAEL, Saint Mary's 150th anniversary.Saint Mary’s College of California is celebrating — no make that “Gaelebrating"— its 150th anniversary! During the 2012-13 academic year, the College will mark the Year of the Gael. Throughout the year, a host of free public events, forums and performances will take place at the College to honor Saint Mary's sesquicentennial.

It was 1863, in the wake of the California Gold Rush and in the middle of the Civil War, when Saint Mary’s first opened its doors in San Francisco. Since 1868, the College has been guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church’s oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching. Saint Mary's moved to Oakland in 1889 and operated there until 1928, when it relocated to its current location in Moraga.

Saint Mary’s 28th president Brother Ronald Gallagher said that throughout its history, the College has provided educational opportunities, spiritual direction and fostered a sense of service for the common good in thousands of students. "That continues today in our schools of business, education, liberal arts and science and it is the reason why our students are making a difference across the state and our nation,” said Gallagher.

The College will officially start its150th anniversary year with a Sesquicentennial Mass on September 15, 2012 to honor Saint Mary’s Catholic mission and Bay Area history. The public is invited to join us for a wonderful Mass celebrating 150 years of Saint Mary’s, featuring joyful music and with Bishop Emeritus and the Most Rev. John S. Cummins, DD, presiding. A reception will follow on the Chapel lawn.  

When:   5 p.m. Saturday, September 15, 2012

Where: Saint Mary’s College of California Chapel, 1928 St. Mary's Road, Moraga, 94556

Cost: Free, RSVP online at

Gaelebration! is the College's massive free public festival and open house from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on October 6, 2012. Attractions will include a campus carnival featuring children's rides and attractions – including a seven-story Ferris wheel – campus tours and interactive programs from various academic departments. Afternoon entertainment features performances by California acoustic soul band Alma Desnuda and the College’s music, theater and dance departments, along with athletic demonstrations, live bands and, of course, great food. Gourmet food trucks from Off the Grid will provide delicious offerings as Gaelebration fare. It's sure to be a "Gaelorious" time!

The fun-filled day will also feature acknowledgements of the College’s 150th anniversary from visiting dignitaries and proclamations from federal, state and local civic leaders.

When: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday, October 6, 2012

Where: Saint Mary's College of California, 1928 St. Mary's Road, Moraga, CA 94556

Cost: Free and open to the public.

More Info: Public transportation is encouraged. Campus parking is limited.* However, satellite parking will be available, with free continuous shuttle services at Lafayette BART, the Rheem Center in Moraga and the Moraga Commons Park. Gaelebration tents will be at each location. *Handicapped parking is available on-site.

Additional anniversary events include public lectures, performances and a series of free symposiums that underscore the College’s tradition of "Great Conversations" in its signature academic program, the Collegiate Seminar — where students and faculty explore together the texts of the world's greatest thinkers and timeless issues facing society. Held in fall 2012 and spring 2013, these public forums will examine contemporary concerns, such as wealth disparities and justice in American society and the importance of a liberal arts education to our democracy.

With the spectacular backdrop of San Francisco’s city lights, the gala Jewel of the Bay held on Treasure Island on November 3, 2012, is Saint Mary’s black-tie event of the sesquicentennial year. Proceeds from the gala will benefit Saint Mary's student aid.

The College launched a new website, Year of the Gael (, and will be rolling out new interactive features throughout the Sesquicentennial year. The public can also sign up for weekly updates to get the latest on new events, programs and performances. Come Gaelebrate with Saint Mary's during the College's sesquicentennial "Year of the Gael!


Michael McAlpin
Director of Media Relations
(925) 631-4222 office
(925) 878-9535 cell

About SMC
The Saint Mary’s College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For nearly 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church’s oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 3,800 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary’s College at and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.