SMC President Holds Reception in State Capitol to Honor Alumni Lawmakers

Brother Ronald Gallagher spoke about the Cal Grant Program and recent College developments with more than 50 Saint Mary's alumni at an Aug. 20 event at the state Capitol.Brother President Ronald Gallagher hosted a reception at the state Capitol in Sacramento on Aug. 20 to recognize state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata '67, D-Oakland, and Assemblyman Guy Houston '82, R-San Ramon, who are leaving office in November because of term limits.

Despite the state budget standoff, more than 50 Saint Mary's alumni from the Sacramento area managed to sneak away from fiscal negotiations to hear Brother Ronald provide an update on the College. Perata was unable to attend due to budget negotiations, but Houston and Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, were in the audience. DeSaulnier is the front-runner in the November election for the state Senate district that includes Saint Mary's College.

Brother Ronald told the group, assembled in a stately Capitol reception room, that 670 freshmen, a record number, have enrolled for the fall 2008 term. Brother Ronald also updated alumni on campus renovation news, including work that has been done to improve the cafeteria, Oliver Hall.

Guests at the Capitol reception included Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord (left) and Guy Houston '82, R-San Ramon (right)
The SMC president also reminded the group that the College is committed to educating all students who have promise. About a quarter of the incoming students are eligible for Pell Grants, fulfilling a goal of the College to remain attainable to students from lower-income backgrounds.

Brother Ronald said the College also relies heavily on the Cal Grant program to admit as many capable students as possible. He said it his hope and desire that the State Legislature will continue to fund, maintain and expand the Cal Grant program.

Following his address, Brother Ronald mingled with alumni ranging from the Classes of 1945 to 2008. They included many people who work as legislative staffers, senior consultants, lobbyists and in other government-related jobs.

--Erin Hallissy

Office of College Communications

Photos by Allyson Wiley '02