Maria Elena Durazo ’75, long a force for worker rights, left her post as head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor to become the general vice president for immigration, diversity and civil rights at UNITE HERE, a national labor union primarily for workers in hotels, food service, casinos, and gaming. Durazo was born to Mexican immigrant farm workers who traveled the West Coast with their 10 children to work in the fields. She went on to build a career as a major political leader and fearless advocate for workers and immigrants.
Two Gael classes will celebrate significant milestones at Reunion 2015, July 17–19 on the SMC campus. The class of 1965 marks 50 years since graduation and the class of 1990 will celebrate their 25th anniversary. They are among the classes with grad years ending in zero or five who are particularly encouraged to attend this year. But all alumni are welcome. The weekend promises a range of activities, including a tour of the new Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center, a dance, golf, and a Golden Gaels luncheon for alumni who graduated in 1955 or before. Highlights of the weekend are the family BBQ and dinner on the Chapel Lawn.
Washington D.C. Gaels joined forces with the San Miguel School and alumni from Lasallian colleges and universities throughout the country on a day of service for the Lasallian Spring Into Action initiative. San Miguel school students worked hand in hand with the alumni volunteers packing lunches for the homeless and doing maintenance and cleanup projects at the school. “The best part of the service day was interacting with alumni committed to the Lasallian mission from a variety of Lasallian colleges and universities, and with the students of San Miguel to serve the most needy in D.C.,” said Alisa Macksey ’00.
NFL referee Pete Morelli ’73 was honored at January’s Pro Bowl with the League’s Art McNally Award for “exemplary professionalism, leadership and commitment to sportsmanship on and off the field.” Morelli—the president of St. Mary’s High School in Stockton, Calif., his alma mater—began his officiating career working high school games and went on to officiate in the Big West and Western Athletic Conferences until an NFL scout discovered him refereeing a game between Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara.
Success by the Bay
The San Francisco Alumni Chapter launched this year under the leadership of Tom Piro ’98 and Napala Pratini ’12, hoping to gather and connect Gaels in the City by the Bay. In April they hosted a successful event attended by more than 100 young alumni and current seniors, who came out to hear distinguished alumni Jason Shellen ’96 (Pinterest), John Koller ’95 (PlayStation) and Shayna Olesiuk ’99 (FDIC) speak about their journeys after college. The evening included dinner and libations, courtesy of NerdWallet, Pratini’s employer, an online source for information, insight and consumer-driven advice about personal finance.
Lasallian to the Core
Karin McClelland ’90, the director of Mission and Ministry since February, embodies the Lasallian tradition. McClelland and her roommate, Brenna Fitzgerald, were the first Lasallian Volunteers from Saint Mary's, developing a dropout prevention program in Bronx schools. McClelland eventually became director of the National Lasallian Volunteer Program, doubling the program's size and helping establish the Lasallian Scholars Program. She found her way home to SMC three years ago when she joined the Mission and Ministry team.
Two Gaels have written books to help others manage important life challenges.
Water Ski Champ
Brian Detrick ’11 began water skiing when most kids start preschool: “I was only 4 and got into competitions. I qualified for the Western Regional Championships my first year,” he said.
Plane Crash on Campus
The pilot might have been showing off, tipping his wing to the campus. It was May 2, 1944. Saint Mary’s was one of the nation’s colleges where the U.S. Navy set up pre-flight training schools during World War II.
What Matters Most
Leadership teacher Maura Wolf, M.A. Leadership ’06, has just published What Matters Most: Everyday Leadership at Home, at Work and in the World, a collection of 42 vignettes designed to prompt readers to reflect on daily life issues.
DonAndre Clark ’14 is one of the lucky ones. As one of 10 Saint Mary’s alumni playing professional baseball, Clark signed with the Kansas City Royals and played last year for a farm team—the Idaho Falls Chukars.