Media Coverage Report: August 28 to October 12, 2012


There were around 700 news mentions —including duplicate stories carried by affiliate new organizations— referencing Saint Mary's College between Aug. 28 and October 12, 2012. This report reflects a variety of media mentions about SMC since the start of the fall academic term.

The media hits are a combination of news stories about the College, its 150th anniversary year, reports about SMC athletics and notices about the academic excellence of Saint Mary’s faculty and their representation in various media stories as source experts for news operations. The mentions also include calendar listings of SMC events and recent press advisories about the career moves of SMC alumni that were picked up by media outlets around the country.


  • USA Today’s College section featured an opinion piece by Saint Mary’s Associate Professor David Bird. A Spanish professor and the director of the College’s honors program, Bird argued that just as colleges create programs to support students with learning needs, academic programs that challenge gifted students are extremely important.
  •  The San Jose Mercury News covered the Sept. 12 kick off of Saint Mary's 2012 Creative Writing Reading Series. It featured a special reading and celebration of poetry by two of Saint Mary's very own, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass and former Golden State Warrior, poet, author and teacher Tom Meschery.
  • An ESPN news report speculating about recruitment violations in the College's men's basketball program generated a slew of reports. In response, the College acknowledged that the NCAA and the College have been working cooperatively on a matter related to the men's basketball program, and to respect the integrity of that process, the College would issue no further comment at the time.

News Categories:

As mentioned above, there were around 700 total media hits during the past month and a half. The news mentions are categorized alphabetically into alumni news (which includes news stories and career updates), news about SMC athletics, calendar listings about College events, faculty-in-the-news, institutional news items (which focus on the College's reputation), obituaries, public safety, SMC mentions (miscellaneous references to the College) and students in the news.

Alumni: 106

These media mentions were made up of news stories and press releases about developments in the careers of SMC alumni. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Troy L. Nunley moved a step closer to serving on the federal bench, after a mid-month Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. SEBA graduate business alum Felix Gonzalez was named vice president, strategic initiatives and business development, electronic security for Diebold, Incorporated and Erin Freeman, another SEBA graduate, was named Head of Communications for Farmers Insurance.

Athletics: 253

The lion's share of the media mentions in this category (225) centered on an ESPN report speculating about recruitment violations in the men's basketball program. In response to the reports, the College acknowledged that the NCAA and the College have been working cooperatively on a matter related to the men's basketball program. To respect the integrity of that process, the College has no further comment at this time.

Calendar Listings: 58

With the sesquicentennial underway, there were many calendar listings about the engaging free programming offered at the College, including the kick off of Saint Mary's 2012 Creative Writing Reading Series; which featured a special reading and celebration of poetry by two of Saint Mary's very own, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass and former Golden State Warrior, poet, author and teacher Tom Meschery.  The close of the Museum of Art’s exhibit The Nature of Collecting was also one of several listings about happenings at the College.

Faculty In The News: 79

Saint Mary’s faculty continued to be spotlighted in the media for their scholarship and tapped as expert sources for news organizations to help clarify issues for the public. For example, KGO News radio spoke with Communication professor Cathy Glenn, director of the College's debate and speech team, about what President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney were likely to try to accomplish in the first of three presidential debates.

SEBA economist Kara Boatman was interviewed by CBS-5/KPIX-TV about the California and national jobs picture going forward past the 2012 general election.

Politics professor Ron Ahnen was interviewed by the Contra Costa Times about his thoughts about proposition 34 — the California ballot initiative that would replace the death penalty in the state with a sentence of life in prison without parole.

CBS-5 also sought out politics professor Steve Sloane for his perspective on an ethics complaint against Oakland’s city attorney for seeking campaign support from city workers through departmental emails.

USA Today College published an opinion piece on the need for honors programs in institutions of higher education by Saint Mary’s Assoc. Professor David Bird.  A Spanish professor and the director of the College’s honors program, Bird argued that just as universities and colleges across the nation create programs to support students with a variety of learning needs, there is also an important need to establish academic programs that challenge gifted students.

Readings by English Professor Lysley Tenorio from his new book Monstress garnered attention in a variety of media outlets around the Bay, in particular for his involvement in LitQuake, San Francisco’s October literary festival.

Politics and economics professor Jack Rasmus continued to be quoted on the nation’s economic health by a variety of independent and alternative news outlets including Indybay and Truth Out.

Institutional News: 94

There were many institutional highlights in this category, including a slew of calendar listings about the College’s Oct. 6th public festival and open house Gaelebration.  Normally event listings are positioned under Calendar Listings. However, given the institutional and reputational aspects of Gaelebration, those media mentions, of which there were many, are included in this category. Gaelebration listings were noted in the Contra Costa Times on several occasions, by the Catholic Voice, KTVU-TV, KGO radio and in online outlets across the bay. 

The Contra Costa Times offered the glowing editorial “Public is invited to join the party at Saint Mary’s” to recognize the College’s 150th anniversary and encouraged readers to attend the College’s free public open house and festival.  The opinion piece also noted the contributions the college has made as a pivotal institution of higher education in the Bay Area. The commentary appeared in a more than a half dozen Bay Area News Group newspapers, including the Alameda Times Star, Argus, Daily Review, Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times and the Tri-Star Herald.

The College's 150th was also the subject a column by Contra Costa Times writer Tom Barnidge; who interviewed Brother Raphael Patton about SMC's academic traditions and history and Communication Professor Shawny Anderson about Saint Mary's inclusion in the important guidebook Colleges That Change Lives (see below). Barnidge's column 150 years later, Saint Mary's is still going strong reflected SMC's ongoing efforts to create educational opportunities, challenge students and relevancy after 150 years in the Bay Area. 

SMC's inclusion in the prestigious 2013 edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges also received media coverage. The newly revised guidebook praised Saint Mary's educational approach as "powerful" and "a mechanism of change." Saint Mary's is the only Catholic college, and the only California institution of higher-ed, in the history of the 40-school list. SMC's inclusion in the guidebook was noted by KGO radio, the Catholic Voice and the national religion wire service, the Catholic News Service.

Obituaries: 2

Robert Langston, age 66, the city treasurer for Benicia, California died in late August after a fighting a battle with cancer. Langston earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College. Robert Jue, 63, died in his Oakland home on Oct. 7 after a 16-month battle with kidney cancer. Jue had recently retried from teaching at Montclair Elementary School. Born and raised in Oakland, he attended UC Davis and received a master's degree in educational leadership from Saint Mary's.

Public Safety: 9

The conviction of Danville resident and former SMC student Pornthep Suvanasarn for exposing himself to a 5-year-old boy while working at a 24 Hour Fitness in Moraga was covered by the Bay Area News Group's East Bay news outlets, resulting in nearly a dozen mentions.

SMC Mentions: 90

There were just over 90 miscellaneous references to the College in press releases about new cell service in the East Bay and calendar listings about non-SMC related events held at Saint Mary's, as well as references to wildlife around the vicinity of the college.

Students in the News: 9

Tiffany Wagner, a 20-year-old St. Mary's College student, volunteered at a fundraising event for Republican vice presidential candidate Congressman Paul Ryan. Wagner was briefly interviewed by the one of AOL's East Bay Patch outlets about her impressions of the visit by Ryan. Other news mentions included a couple of stories about a student who tried to commit suicide as a teen and has moved on to pursue an academic career at SMC.

Read the full report. For more information about media coverage of Saint Mary's, please contact College Communications at (925) 631-4222 or