Seminar Program Honors Legendary Professor with Custom Classroom

Left: the Sacred Music Choir. Right: the family of Brother DeSales Perez.
More than 100 friends, family, students and former colleagues packed a Dante Hall classroom to celebrate the late Brother DeSales Perez during a Sept. 28 dedication of a new Collegiate Seminar room in his honor.

Brother DeSales, who taught Spanish at the College for four decades and directed Collegiate Seminar for 17 years, inspired legions of students to engage the great thinkers of the Western intellectual tradition. He was hailed for imbuing Seminar with intellectual vitality and bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines.

"We're all here because we love Brother DeSales," Seminar director Charles Hamaker said. "But we're really here because Brother DeSales loved all of us."

The new Seminar room in Dante 203 was refurbished this summer with a custom-designed octagonal table and 22 oak chairs. It includes paintings depicting scenes from Seminar staple and Brother DeSales' favorite Don Quixote and will soon include a portrait of Brother DeSales as well. It was made possible through an endowment that Brother DeSales, who died in 2003, left to Collegiate Seminar to provide for student enrichment.

To accommodate the overflow crowd, the dedication ceremony took place in an adjacent classroom. Seminar professors - including Theo Carlile, Bob Gardner and Brother Kenneth Cardwell - shared stories about how their longtime colleague fostered a spirit of intellectual inquiry and camaraderie in their lives.

"It was a great privilege and a rich experience for all of us to have known him," Carlile said.

Toward the end of the evening, Brother Martin Yribarren led the Seminar choir in a rendition of "Mozart Matriculates at Saint Mary's" - a Mozart composition featuring Brother DeSales' own lyrics honoring Seminar authors such as Lucretius, Aquinas and Hobbes.

Brother DeSales' sisters and brothers attended the ceremony and spoke of their admiration of his devotion to Seminar.

"We are deeply grateful to you for creating this memorial to our brother," said Albert Perez, Brother DeSales' youngest brother. "It's a fitting tribute to a man who was so integrally committed to the Collegiate Seminar and the well-being of his students."

-- John Grennan
Office of College Communications