Jan. 24, 2019 Board of Trustees Meeting Recap

The Saint Mary’s College of California Board of Trustees and the President’s Cabinet met on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, for their second gathering of academic year 2018-19. The meeting featured several informative reports to the board, including executive presentations from President James Donahue and Provost Margaret Kasimatis and group reports from Kasimatis and Vice Presidents Susan Collins and Lisa Moore; Office of Mission Vice President Frances Sweeney and Trustee Brother Gustavo Ramirez, FSC; and Athletics Director Mike Matoso and VP Sweeney. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Board and Cabinet members joined the Saint Mary’s Christian Brothers for a Mass, reception and dinner.

Meeting Highlights:

  • During his executive summary, President James Donahue reflected on the state of the College. Among his observations, he reported the institution’s financial health indicated a  stable picture. He noted the administration is cautiously optimistic about potential enrollments for fall 2019. Admissions has received 5,396 applications for fall 2019, an increase of more than 10% over the 4,488 received by this date last year. Additionally, philanthropic efforts have been strong and significant progress has been made in SMC’s comprehensive campaign, with $115 million raised toward a $125 million goal.

    The report included insights from Provost Margaret Kasimatis on the College’s academics. She provided updates on leadership transitions and faculty recruitment, reported on the development of new academic programs, and Academic Growth and Innovation Fund initiative. She also reported that two task forces, one on the Faculty Salary Policy and another on Shared Governance, have been formed and are doing their work.

    The president’s report also included an update on progress on the College’s strategic plan, noting major outcomes in each of the plan’s goals, including raising the college’s academic profile and distinction, supporting the student lifecycle, expanding responsibility for Lasallian higher education, prioritizing facilities and the College’s footprint, getting the message out about the College, and ensuring Saint Mary’s financial stability.

  • Provost Kasimatis and Vice Presidents Collins and Moore led a discussion of preliminary recommendations from the Business and Academic Resource (BAR) Task Force. Made up of five working groups, the Task Force examines key issues related to the long-term financial sustainability of Saint Mary's. The working groups include Traditional Undergraduate Enrollment, Graduate and Professional Programs, Expenses, Other Existing Revenue Sources, and New Revenue Sources. The presentation explored some of the key findings from the groups, which are outlined on the BAR Task Force webpage.

  • Office of Mission VP Sweeney and Trustee Brother Gustavo Ramirez, FSC, spoke about #300LaSalle, the tercentenary recognition of the death of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, and his educational legacy. The report noted that 2019 will be marked by a global celebration from Lasallian institutions. At Saint Mary’s, the Office of Mission and #300Lasalle planning team have four goals: to join our global family in celebrating the Lasallian educational legacy; to reflect on our own community, our values, our strengths and our challenges; to set a tone for future work in research, teaching, mission-integration and formation; and to affirm our diversity in understanding how we live Lasallian in the 21st century. In the year 2019-20, Saint Mary’s celebrates fifty years of women being enrolled, thirty years of the Lasallian Volunteer Program, and twenty years of CILSA; these anniversaries will be showcased as part of celebrating our Lasallian heritage today.  
  • AD Matoso and VP Sweeney delivered a report on the Athletics Oversight Committee (AOC) and Athletics Strategic Plan. The AOC was formed after SMC was impacted by 2013 NCAA basketball violations, which concluded successfully in March 2018.  The AOC was charged with developing a culture of best practices and oversight with all areas associated with athletics, especially compliance and student-athlete wellness and achievement. They also presented progress on the Athletic Strategic Plan. AD Matoso noted recent accomplishments, including having the best fall in the history of Gaels athletics, with men’s soccer being named WCC champions and reaching the Sweet 16 and highest ever national ranking for any SMC sport at #4. Additionally, men’s soccer coach Adam Cooper was named WCC coach of the year, and his staff was recognized as west regional, and national staff of the year by the United Soccer Coaches. Also, women’s volleyball had its first NCAA appearance since 2012. Marketing and Branding highlights included the launch of a new website, significant increases in social media engagement and media exposure with men’s basketball showcased live on national television through ESPN networks 31 times during the past three seasons and, regionally, 24 times.


  • During the Jan. 24 session, the Board passed a resolution approving recommended graduate tuition rates for FY 2019-20. The recommendations included increases for programs in the Kalmanovitz School of Education and the School of Liberal Arts. The increases are program specific. For more information, contact the graduate programs in the KSOE and SOLA.   


Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees is the College's governing body whose fiduciary duties and responsibilities are determined by the College's bylaws and other governing documents. The board's responsibilities include advocating for the College locally, nationally, and internationally; exercising appropriate oversight of the academic quality and fiscal health of the College; approving the annual budget; evaluating and advising the president of the College; and providing financial support, as well as leadership in fundraising, to sustain the College's mission and progress.