President Announces Facilities, Lauds Volunteers

Story by Barry Shiller


Blueprints for new academic and recreational facilities and plans for campus diversity and long-range planning highlighted Brother President Ronald Gallagher's first "State of the College" presentation in February.

The presentation attracted close to 200 members of the College and local community and marked the first anniversary of Brother Ronald's presidency.

"I found the experience very positive, and hope to do something like this on an annual basis," Gallagher said. Future presentations might shift to a different time of year to coincide with other major campus events.

In reflecting on his first year in office, Gallagher reaffirmed the College's Catholic, Lasallian, and liberal arts values. He expressed appreciation to faculty, staff, and students for their collegiality, dedication, and active involvement in Lasallian service projects.

"Since the founding of the Lasallian Volunteer program in 1981, 101 of 376 volunteers have come from SMC," he told the audience. "This year, through our Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Action (CILSA), over 1,500 students will contribute more than 47,000 hours of service with 60 organizations. This is extraordinary."

Gallagher presented renderings of Filippi Academic Hall along with an artist's conception for a new student health and recreation center at the current baseball complex. The new baseball field would be adjacent to Saint Mary's Stadium, which houses Gael soccer and lacrosse teams.

He also expressed concern over $12 billion in budget cuts to federal financial aid programs.

"I am very concerned about the growing gap between haves and have-nots," Brother Ronald observed. "A majority of college-eligible young people in the next decade will be underrepresented minorities, many first-generation college students. They will be the victims of these budget cuts."

Saint Mary's seeks each year to admit one-quarter of its undergraduates from low-income families. The College's 2006-07 financial aid budget is expected to reach a record $21 million.