In Its Sesquicentennial Year, the College Confers More Than 1,100 Degrees
At commencement ceremonies in its sesquicentennial year, Saint Mary’s College of California heard addresses by two inspirational alumni – Troy Nunley ’86, who grew up in a rough area of San Francisco and was confirmed this year as a U.S. district judge, and Bob Ladouceur MA ’89, who set a standard for leadership in high school football coaching.
During the undergraduate ceremonies, attended by thousands of family members and friends, the College conferred more than 650 bachelor’s degrees, along with 30 associate of science degrees in the Pre-Nursing Program operated in conjunction with Samuel Merritt College in Oakland.
SMC President Brother Ronald Gallagher welcomed the graduating class of the 150th year of Saint Mary’s College, telling them, “You are the reason that we have been recognized as a College that changes lives.” He added: “If you take one thing with you, let it be that each person is sacred and should be treated as such. That is the foundation of our Lasallian mission and is a message sorely needed in the world today.”
Introducing Nunley, Provost Beth Dobkin noted that he had grown up in Hunter’s Point, a San Francisco neighborhood where he sometimes had to lie on the floor to avoid stray bullets from gun battles in the streets. But his dream of being a judge was nurtured during childhood visits to San Francisco courts, where his mother worked as a probation officer.
Nunley credited Saint Mary’s Collegiate Seminar program with helping him acquire the gifts of critical thinking and deliberation so necessary to his current position. Saying that his humble upbringing had created in him a desire to give back to his community, he urged the new graduates to do the same.
“My entire career has been guided by the Lasallian tradition of service to the community,” he said. “I continue to be active in my parish, I coach, and I mentor. My service record represents my gift back to my parents, teachers, and counselors.” He concluded by telling the graduates, “Go back to your respective communities, find a need and fill it.”
At the graduate and professional studies commencement on Sunday, May 27, the College conferred 467 degrees, including 5 doctorates and 139 master’s degrees from the Kalmanovitz School of Education, 219 master’s degrees from the School of Economics and Business Administration, and 76 master’s degrees from the School of Liberal Arts, plus 19 bachelor’s degrees in leadership and organizational studies and 9 in performing arts.
Ladouceur, who rose to national recognition with a record 151-game winning streak as the head football coach at De La Salle High School in Concord, told the graduate students, “Saint Mary’s is the place where I learned how to learn; the discipline of learning.”
He emphasized that education is a path, not a goal, and said that “after 38 years of being associated with the Lasallian schools,” the meaning of his path “always was, and always will be, education with a higher purpose.”
Rahul Chachara, who received his master's degree from the Trans-Global Executive MBA Program, is already putting that approach into practice. He is working on a plan that will provide jobs for farmers in Africa and a sustainable food source for the ever-growing population of India.
Chachara, who works in high tech, said it will be a big shift for him, and one he looks forward to eagerly. "I chose Saint Mary's because I wanted to add that social aspect to my education and do some good," he said.