Summer Media Coverage Report: June 1 to July 7, 2013

Highlights at a Glance:

  • A San Francisco Chronicle op-ed on the Voting Rights Act by Dean of the School of Liberal Arts Steve Woolpert.
  • Diablo Magazine noted English Professor Rosemary Graham’s role in the creative beginnings of Sundance Award-winning filmmaker Ryan Coogler.
  • English Professor Lysley Tenorio was featured in San Francisco Magazine’s June “Authors” issue.
  • The Catholic News Service interviewed former Vice Provost for Enrollment Michael Beseda for a story, carried by CNS and the National Catholic Reporter, on the doubling of federal student loan interest rates.
  • Bloomberg News tapped Politics Prof. Hisham Ahmed for a national story on efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.


While the academic pace of the College has slowed because of the summer break, there were about 375 media mentions of Saint Mary’s during the first month of the summer. Those media mentions include the following news categories: Faculty in the News, Institutional News, Alumni, Athletics, Students in the News, Calendar Listings and SMC Mentions. This report includes links to stories and to a comprehensive listing of all media mentions.

Faculty in the News  

Media interest in the scholarship of SMC faculty members and their observations as expert sources continues, with several prominent local and national media opportunities for SMC professors over the past month. There were nearly 35 news mentions about SMC faculty over the last month, including a dozen media hits about English Professor Lysley Tenorio’s participation in San Francisco Magazine’s June “Authors” issue, which featured notable Bay Area writers and paired them up for a sort of literary date. Tenorio joined novelist Andrew Sean Greer in a Skype-enabled meditation on meatballs and martinis.

The U.S. Supreme Court recessed in June with several major decisions, including a controversial retooling of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and its historic support of Gay Marriage — both of which were topics that School of Liberal Arts Dean Steve Woolpert commented on during live morning broadcasts with KCBS. Woolpert also penned an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle on how the VRA, which was meant to protect black voters in the South, ironically contributed to the growth of super-conservative white-majority congressional districts and the strength of Tea Party Republicans. 

Diablo Magazine noted Saint Mary’s connection to filmmaker Ryan Coogler. In an interview with the writer and director of “Fruitvale Station,” Coogler spoke about how his filmmaking journey began when he was attending SMC on a football scholarship. He recalls taking a creative writing class with English Professor Rosemary Graham, where he wrote about the time his father almost bled to death in his arms. Graham was impressed with his vivid writing style and encouraged him to pursue screenwriting. Even after SMC dropped its football program and Coogler transferred to Sacramento State, Graham remained a mentor and friend. The story underscores the educational benefits of SMC’s small class sizes, which allow faculty to develop close and rewarding relationships with their students. 

The Oakland Tribune’s website, Inside Bay Area, and the Contra Costa Times reported on a group of Saint Mary's students — under the direction of Chemistry Professor Steve Bachofer — who are conducting soil research to find out whether a 22-acre abandoned railway property in Alameda is suitable as an urban farm. The story highlights the College’s commitment to social justice through academic exploration.

KGO news radio interviewed Communication Professor Ellen Rigsby about the public’s fascination with superheroes, in advance of Hollywood's new reboot of the Superman franchise with "Man of Steel." Rigsby’s work includes research on depictions of race, gender and society in comic books.

Institutional News

Of the more than 50 media mentions in this category, the highlight was national coverage of comments by an institutional leader — Michael Beseda, former vice provost for enrollment — on Congress’ failure to prevent the federal student loan interest rate from doubling. Beseda was interviewed by the Catholic News Service, a wire service for Catholic newspapers. The story was also carried by the National Catholic Reporter, which guaranteed further distribution of his comments. The majority of institutional news items referenced high school graduation articles that included details about the colleges seniors were planning to attend, such as the Whittier Daily’s story about Huong Tran, a standout student with 4.0 grade point average who will attend SMC in the fall. Several institutional news items were related to the River of Words environmental art and poetry contest sponsored by the Kalmanovitz School of Education, including an Atlanta Journal Constitution story about 11-year-old national finalist Ella Fisher.


There were about three dozen media mentions about alumni over the last month. The most notable media mentions included the Los Angeles Times story “An L.A. labor leader with a strong worker ethic,” about SMC alumna Maria Elena Durazo. The article recognizes Durazo’s longtime commitment to the labor and immigrants rights movement. The Record, a newspaper serving the cities of Modesto, Sacramento and Stockton, featured a profile on Sacramento-area chef Mark Berkner, whose wife Tracey is a SMC alumna.  The Berkners, who own the restaurant Taste, were profiled in “Bright flavors, big city.” The San Jose Mercury profiled another SMC alumna in its article “Maxine Lane, Santa Cruz County Stories: Pasatiempo resident lives in her garden after traveling the world.” The piece chronicles the life of Lane, an 87-year-old, who in addition to graduating from the College with a management degree and raising three children, has traveled extensively around the globe.


While the summer is downtime for the College’s 14 division I teams, media interest in SMC athletics continues. The most notable of the more than 130 news mentions included stories about the NBA draft chances for SMC basketball standout Matthew Dellavedova. Unfortunately, as several outlets reported, Delly went undrafted. But the NBA dreams of the Australian Olympian and WCC student athlete of the year may yet come true. Dellavedova was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers to play in the professional basketball association’s Las Vegas summer league, which provides an opportunity for teams to scout new players. In addition, almost a dozen media outlets reported on the resignation of baseball coach Jedd Soto

Calendar Listings

An exhibition at the College’s Museum of Art garnered 22 media mentions in a variety of East Bay news outlets. The museum’s plein air exhibit, Points of View, featuring works by Mary Lou Correia and Paul Kratter, was the focus of articles in the Lamorinda Weekly, a free community newspaper, and the Contra Costa Times.  

Students in the News

A press release by Bulldog Lighting, the company started by 19-year-old entrepreneur and SMC student Dylan Sievers, was carried by nearly 50 news outlets, including  A desert racer, Sievers and his family design and build lighting systems for off-road vehicles. The release announced the planned relocation of his company to Texas.

SMC Mentions

 There were about 45 miscellaneous references to the College in news stories over the month. Most of these mentions about SMC referenced the College as the location for North Coast Division I High School games.


To view the entire report with all media mentions, vist the following link: For questions about the report or about media relations and Saint Mary's, contact Mike McAlpin, director of media relations at (925) 631-4222 of