SMC Response to Hurricane Victims

Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, Saint Mary's College of California received numerous calls from families of students displaced from their universities in New Orleans. In response, Saint Mary's welcomed 10 undergraduate students on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2005 to continue their studies for the fall semester while their universities recover from the hurricane damage.

The students are from Dillard University, Loyola University New Orleans, Tulane University and Xavier University of Louisiana. Their experiences were covered in several stories by the local media. See samples of that coverage below.

Consistent with Saint Mary's Lasallian mission, the College accommodated as many students as possible and is working with their families to ensure that they are supported financially to every extent possible (as expressed in a letter by Provost Sally Stampp).

Students Enroll in January Term Course
Direct hurricane relief to New Orleans will be provided by 25 Saint Mary's students, who will travel there for three weeks during the college's January Term. Their rebuilding efforts will include cleaning away debris and park restoration, working in conjunction with Catholic Charities and Parkway Partners. For more information on the travel course, please visit the course web site. The students are hoping to raise funds to support their relief efforts in New Orleans. For more information, please read a letter by Associate Dean of Liberal Arts Shawny Anderson or donate online to support the cost of a student's travel expenses.

Bridges to the Bayou
In addition to opening the College's doors to Gulf Coast students, Campus Ministry at Saint Mary's College has launched "Bridges to the Bayou" -- a crisis response effort in cooperation with the Office of Education at De La Salle Institute in Napa to aid fellow Lasallian communities in Louisiana. The response will include fundraising efforts throughout the Christian Brothers' District of San Francisco from Yakima, Washington to Tijuana, Mexico, as well as service learning opportunities for students. Read more about the "Bridges to the Bayou" effort.

Silent Auction for Bridges to the Bayou
A silent auction of a bottle of the Brother Timothy Signature Series Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will take place Sept. 29 to Dec. 1. The Lasallian Education Fund has graciously donated this bottle to the Bridges to the Bayou hurricane relief fund. To participate in the auction, please bid online.

Media Coverage:

Oct. 17, 2005 - Saint Mary's Class Offers Hurricane Aid
A Saint Mary's class preparing to spend the month of January doing relief work in New Orleans was the focus of a story in the Contra Costa Times.
Link to Article

"Beyond the Headlines," a public affairs program on ABC 7 KGO-TV at 10 a.m. on Sept. 11, interviewed Lanisha Davis, a freshman who enrolled at Saint Mary's College after being evacuated from Dillard University in New Orleans. Also appearing on the program was Michael Beseda, vice provost for enrollment, who discussed the college's decision to enroll 10 of the students displaced by Hurricane Katrina for the fall semester.

Sept. 7, 2005 - Saint Mary's Offers Refuge for Displaced Students
A Saint Mary's orientation session for students from New Orleans was the focus of a story in the Contra Costa Times. The article recounted the story of students Annie Barry and Donald Mau, who lost his family's home in the hurricane and resulting floods.
Link to Article

Sept. 7, 2005 - Hurricane Katrina: Bay Area Colleges Absorb Students from Gulf States
An article in the San Francisco Chronicle mentioned that Saint Mary's waived fees for some of the students affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Link to Article

Sept. 7, 2005 - Area Colleges Quickly Enroll the Displaced
A San Jose Mercury News article said that the visiting students at Saint Mary's received an orientation and quickly began classes.
Link to Article

CBS 5 Eyewitness News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 6, 2005 interviewed Nikeda Woods, a senior from Xavier University of Louisiana, who was evacuated more than a week ago and chose to attend Saint Mary's with nine other students. "I'm glad I found someplace that would take me in and give me a new home," said Nikeda.
Link to Article

ABC 7 News at 6 p.m. on Sept. 6, 2005 interviewed Jacqueline Watson and her daughter, Courtney, who would have been a freshman at Xavier University of Louisiana this fall. They said they appreciated the financial support offered by Saint Mary's after losing a full semester's tuition at Courtney's New Orleans' university. In the broadcast, Michael Beseda, Saint Mary's vice provost for enrollment, said that when displaced students began approaching the college, admitting them "felt like the right thing to do."

Additional Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts:

* American Red Cross: To donate, go to; call (415) 427-8000 or (800) 435-7669; or mail a contribution to 85 Second St., Eighth Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105.

* United Way of the Bay Area Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund: Donations can be made online at or by calling (800) 273-1779.

* America's Second Harvest: (800) 344-8070 or

* Catholic Charities USA: (800) 919-9338, or