Affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and governed by the De La Salle Christian Brothers religious teaching congregation, Saint Mary’s College of California (SMC) is private coeducational institution located in the small town of Moraga, in the San Francisco Bay area of California.
Established in 1863 by Archbishop Joseph Alemany, the university’s history spans over 150 years, making it one of the oldest universities in the western United States.
The college struggled financially in its early years and this forced its founder to travel to Rome to ask for help from the Christian Brothers, whose input soon help to raise enrolment and in a few short years it became the largest higher education institute in California.
In 1928 the university moved to its current campus in the Moraga Valley, and during the Second World War it was one of just four US colleges to conduct pilot training.
For over a century SMC was a male-only institution but women were admitted for the first time in 1970, and today around 60 percent of the university’s 2,700+ student population are female.
Today SMC is comprised of three undergraduate schools – the School of Economics and Business Administration, the School of Liberal Arts, and the School of Science – as well as offering seven graduate degree programs.
The 420-acre main campus is around ten miles from the city of Oakland and just 23 miles from San Francisco, while the small town of Moraga has a range of opportunities for outdoor activities, including camping, hiking and biking, as well as several parks, restaurants, bars and shops.
SMC has a history of producing some leading sportspeople and over the years basketball stars Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova as well as baseball players Harry Hooper and Mark Teahen have graduated from SMC. Other notable alumni include poet Robert Hass, former Seattle Seahawks owner Ken Hofmann and radio host Rose Aguilar.