Saint Mary ‘s College of California, in Moraga, California, is a private Catholic college. Saint Mary’s is a small, holistic institution that deals with outstanding students, the brain and the mind. This schooling is life-changing and encourages the ability to change society. It is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and operated by Christian Brothers De La Salle.
St. Mary’s College was founded in 1863 as a diocesan college for boys by the Most Rev. Joseph Alemany, a member of the Order of Preachers and the first archbishop of San Francisco. Unhappy with the college’s service by the archdiocese, Archbishop Alemany demanded assistance from Rome and in 1868 St. Mary’s College was handed over to the Christian Brothers at De La Salle.
The college almost went bankrupt during its first years in Moraga, but finally managed to obtain financial stability when it was acquired by Archbishop John Joseph Mitty, after whom a hall of residence is now named. The college was used by the United States Navy to train pilots during World War II. Former President Gerald Ford was stationed at the school for a brief time and worked as a naval instructor. The navy erected several structures, including the world’s largest indoor pool, but only one remains on campus, Assumption Hall, as the school had no after-war need for most of the facilities. Saint Mary’s remained a male-only institution until 1970, when it became a coeducational institution.
Recognizing that there are several pathways of understanding, Saint Mary ‘s College of California provides a comprehensive curriculum spanning the classics, music, engineering , social engineering, healthcare, business management and nursing, attracting mainstream students and adult learners in both undergraduate and graduate programs.
As an institution where the liberal arts educate and enhance all fields of study, it places specific emphasis on cultivating the mental skills and habits of mind that empower citizens to profoundly explore the nature of life and live authentically in reaction to the truths they discover. This liberation is accomplished as faculty and students, led by wonder about the nature of reality, look twice, ask why, seek not just facts but fundamental principles, strive for the integration of all knowledge and express themselves accurately and eloquently.
Saint Mary ‘s College argues that the mystery that inspires wonder about the nature of existence is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ who gives the creation and the human existence a transcendent meaning. Nourished by its Christian faith, the College understands how inextricably connected the human person’s intellectual and spiritual journeys are. It encourages the discourse of faith and reason: it creates solidarity within its adherents by sharing the sacramental life of the Church; it protects each person’s goodness, integrity and equality, and it fosters openness to social and ethical issues. Recognizing that all those who sincerely seek the truth contribute and enhance its stature as a Catholic institution of higher learning, Saint Mary welcomes members of her own and other traditions, inviting them to collaborate in the fulfillment of the College’s spiritual mission.
Saint Mary’s, as a Lasallian college, holds that God cares for the students, and that teachers grow spiritually and personally when their work is motivated by faith and zeal. The College seeks students , faculty, administrators and staff from diverse social, economic , and cultural backgrounds who come together to grow in knowledge , wisdom, and love.