February 2011


Steve Woolpert.A liberal arts education is both a way of knowing and a way of living—one focused on intellectual engagement that is both deeply personal and highly communal. The extensive interaction between faculty and students in the School of Liberal Arts fosters a close-knit learning community. Our talented faculty help students understand, develop and use their own intellectual resources. I am happy to share the following stories about our success in achieving this goal.

Steve Woolpert
Dean of Liberal Arts
Professor of Politics


Earthquake Relief in Haiti
In July, 2010, Professors Claude Malary and Shawny Anderson accompanied 11 students to Haiti, where they participated in direct earthquake relief. The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed Professor Malary, a Haiti Native, about this poignant service learning trip.

Angels in AmericaPraise for "Angels in America"
The Contra Costa Times offered high praise for our production of "Angels in America." The review said Saint Mary's students’ "terrific acting could easily have been on any number of stages in the Bay Area." In conjunction with the play, the School of Liberal Arts hosted a series of panel discussions. Experts in Catholic theology, anthropology and contemporary culture discussed how Catholic leaders have provided compassionate care to people with AIDS internationally. For more information visit the "AIDS, Angels, and Catholic Social Teaching" web page.

Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Honors Saint Mary's
The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival is a national program where more than 600 theater departments showcase their work. "Angels in America" was one of four productions selected this year for the Region VII ACTF festival and was performed on February 14, with an opportunity to advance to the national competition. Angela Santillo ‘05 learned that her play “Sera” was selected as one of two regional finalists for the David Mark Cohen Award, which honors outstanding new plays developed in collaboration with a college or university. Eleven Saint Mary's students have been selected for the Irene Ryan National Acting Scholarship competition, and a twelfth was entered in the stage manager competition for her work in "Angels in America." Other Saint Mary's students received Meritorious Achievement awards: Jacqui Lindo (digital film effects), Stephanie Miller (assistant director; assistant dramaturge); and Kevin Quintero (lighting design).

Saint Mary's LEAP Student Wins Prestigious National Dance Award
The November issue of Dance Teacher magazine highlighted Saint Mary’s College student Ashley Jackson as one of six dancers to win a Princess Grace Award for her artistry.

Josh BraffSaint Mary's Creative Writing Program Alumnus Joshua Braff Shares Guilty Pleasure with NPR
In a featured perspective on NPR's national news program "All Things Considered", novelist Josh Braff '97, admits his admiration for writers whom literary purists aren't supposed to hold in high regard.

NBC's Today Show Profiles Saint Mary's Graduate
The Today Show highlighted San Francisco's Real Options for City Kids (ROCK), an after-school program that provides neighborhood youth with academic support and recreational activities. Monique Garrett '10 credits the program with laying the foundation for her academic career at Saint Mary's College. A kinesiology major who graduated with honors, Garrett continues to volunteer for the program.

SMC's Debate Team Scores Big At University of the Pacific Competition
Our Macken Debate and Speech students came home victorious after beating out 36 other colleges and universities at the national Paul Winters Invitational hosted by University of the Pacific on November 5-7.


Contra Costa County Chamber Orchestra Partners with Saint Mary's
The Contra Costa County Chamber Orchestra now operates in partnership with the Saint Mary’s Performing Arts Department, providing a high-profile performance opportunity for our music students.

Catholic Voice Profiles "Mary In The Modern World" Conference at SMC
The conference focused on the enduring significance of the Virgin Mary in today’s world, including her place in the Church’s life of prayer and her importance in music, literature, culture and art.

Turtle Island Quartet
The internationally renowned Turtle Island Quartet presented a jazz concert in the Soda Activity Center. Winner of the 2005 and 2007 Grammy for Classical Crossover, Turtle Island Quartet is the most acclaimed ensemble of its kind.


Mary Volmer
Professor Mary Volmer's novel, Crown of Dust, was reviewed in the December 26th New York Times Book Review. Catch Volmer at upcoming alumni events in Seattle (2/22) and Reno (3/22).

Myrna Santiago
Wall Street Journal Story "Our Thirst for Oil: A Deeper Dive," Touted Professor Myrna Santiago's Book. Santiago's book, The Ecology of Oil, is the definitive analysis of the 1908 Dos Bocas blowout near Tampico, the previous record holder for the worst oil spill and fire in history.

Norris Palmer
Stockton Record Seeks Insight from SMC's Norris Palmer on Pop Culture Zombie Craze. Professor Palmer of the Theology and Religious Studies Department was interviewed about the public’s current fascination with zombies, the unknown and the supernatural.

Oakland Tribune Profiles Professor Deane Lamont's Book on City's Early History
In "America's 'Healthiest' City: A History of Early Oakland, California," Lamont hits the reset button and chronicles life in Oakland beginning more than 150 year ago.

Dana HerreraInside Higher Ed Interviews Dana Herrera about Virtual Gaming as way to teach Anthropology
Professor Herrera generates student interest in Anthropology through the virtual environment of the “World of Warcraft” computer game.

Catholic Voice Talks to Maria Luisa Ruiz about Images of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Popular Culture
In an article about contemporary expressions of devotion to the patron saint of Mexico, the newspaper interviewed Modern Languages Professor Ruiz, who studies Mexican culture.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Seeks Out Brother Charles Hilken
Hilken is a professor of medieval history and consultant for a touring exhibition entitled "Vatican Splendors: A Journey through Faith and Art," The exhibit contains nearly 200 works of art and historically significant objects, many of which have never left the Vatican.

Contra Costa Times Features Op-Ed On Afghanistan War By Politics Professor Stephen Sloane
Professor Sloane — a former Navy Captain — writes about the need for diplomacy over military might as the solution to the war in Afghanistan.

Rosemary GrahamRosemary Graham's Novel "Stalker Girl" Profiled In Contra Costa Times
In addition to "Stalker Girl," Professor Graham is the author of "Thou Shalt Not Dump the Skater Dude" and "My Not-So-Terrible Time at the Hippie Hotel."

New Addition to College's Civil War Digital Archive
The Civil War diary Michigan Captain Edward Hill is now the second entry in the College’s Civil War digital archive. The website, created by History Professor Carl Guarneri and history major Alyssa Sisco Ginn ’08, will be featured alongside the “Lee and Grant” exhibition that opens at the Saint Mary’s Hearst Gallery in January, 2011.

Dean Woolpert Provides Expert Media Commentary
SOLA Dean Steve Woolpert provided legal commentaries for both KTVU TV (about a court ruling on Obama’s health care plan) and the Contra Costa Times (about the Confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Kagen). 

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