Brother Brendan Madden, FSC, Scholarship Counselor

by Ginny Prior | April 26, 2016

Brother Brendan is a dreamer. Twice a month, he attends dream interpretation groups that encourage self-discovery and reflection. But it’s his “day” dreams that have led to his biggest discoveries. Brother Brendan is known for being one of the founders of the Career Center at Saint Mary’s College—an idea he came up with as a graduate student at the school in 1979. “I noticed that only 18 percent of the students had lined up jobs,” he says of his class at the time. Today, with a full time program and staff of eight, he says the number is between 50 and 70 percent. “And the salaries are 10 percent higher for students who use the Career Center,” he adds.

It’s not just Saint Mary’s that benefits from Brother Brendan’s big dreams. He’s been to the Philippines more than 40 times, working with the 34 Brothers in 10 Universities that serve 90,000 students. In fact, it was here that he learned to love Durian, a custard-tasting fruit with a rotting flesh smell that permeated the room. “I came into the Brother’s house and immediately looked at my shoe,” he says. “I wondered what I’d stepped in.” Brother Brendan now calls Durian “a guilty pleasure” but draws the line at eating another exotic dish called Balut. “It’s the chicken embryo—or duck—still in the shell, just prior to being born.” 

To say that life has been an adventure is a grand understatement. Yet, Brother Brendan knew at the age of 12 that he wanted to serve God through education. Here at Saint Mary's College, he's taught all levels of Collegiate Seminar for 20 years and is now helping students find scholarships. “That’s fun. I’m working with the best and the brightest,” he says, adding that in the last five years, eight of his students have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships. And the vision he had for a Career Center in 1979 is still helping students achieve their life’s dreams today.