Saint Mary's Honored in "Colleges That Change Lives"

Saint Mary's College of California was honored in the prestigious higher education guidebook "Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change The Way You Think About Colleges" (2013 edition). The book praised Saint Mary's educational approach as "powerful" and "a mechanism of change." Read the full chapter on Saint Mary's.

"Colleges That Change Lives" is widely recognized as essential reading for college-bound students, and by discerning parents, to identify colleges that offer life-transforming educational experiences.

Saint Mary's is the only Catholic college, and the only California college, in the history of the 40-school list. "Colleges That Change Lives"  says the academic and spiritual mission of Saint Mary's is fundamental to its success with students, noting that "the Lasallian tradition fuels the college's perspective on teaching and learning: Education is powerful, and it comes with a deep responsibility to improve the world.”

Originally written by former New York Times education editor, the late Loren Pope, and now revised by Denver-based education journalist Hilary Masell Oswald, the guidebook highlights the attributes of exemplary, but often under-the-radar, colleges. Among the features the book champions as essential to student success in college, and ultimately in life, are low student-to-faculty ratios, engaged learning environments, undergraduate research opportunities and a focus on the liberal arts and sciences.

Saint Mary's is lauded in the publication for the rich diversity of its student population, which isn’t “the typical private-college crowd," its students’ “love for their community and a fierce sense of school spirit,” the educational impact of its required Collegiate Seminar program, which “helps students learn to read carefully, draw sharp conclusions, listen to other people, and disagree civilly," and the College's January Term –  “an intensive four-week session when each student takes only one class," often traveling abroad with faculty members for unique study opportunities.

Saint Mary's also receives high marks for the strength of its talented faculty, “educated at the country’s most renowned graduate schools: Princeton, Stanford, Brown, Harvard and Berkeley,” who are yet among the “precious few whose ideas about education align with the College’s mission.”

"Colleges That Change Lives" has sold more than 150,000 copies. For more information, visit the Penguin Book's website.


Michael McAlpin
Director of Media Relations
Office of College Communications
Saint Mary's College of California
925-631-4222 office
925-878-9535 cell

About SMC
The Saint Mary’s College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For more than 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church’s oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 4,100 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information, visit Saint Mary’s College at and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.