St. Mary's stumbled but it's still a great school

As I read Anne D. Neal's recent attack on St. Mary's College of Maryland, I immediately knew she had an agenda even before learning its source ("Cautionary campus tale," May 30).

My daughter graduated from St. Mary's in 2011 with a major in English and I could not be happier with the quality and nature of the education she received.


She learned substance. Her communication skills were honed. Most importantly, she was made to think — a lot — about many serious subjects. I should also mention that as a parent of an out-of-state student, St. Mary's represented an excellent economic value.

Ms. Neal likes metrics. Here's one for her, one that I learned during the commencement remarks of Joseph Kennedy III during the 2011 graduation ceremonies: In relation to student body size, more St. Mary's graduates have served in the Peace Corps than have the graduates of any other college in the nation.

I suggest that a lot more can be learned about a college or university by a metric like this — which reflects what the institution has taught its students about service and priorities — than by an assessment of whether its curriculum satisfies some (non-educator) critic's quest to take both "liberal" and "arts" out of a liberal arts education.

I have never been moved to contribute to my alma mater, largely because I have seen greater need for my charitable contributions on the part of other, non-educational organizations. But I am writing a check to St. Mary's today, and I urge all others within the St. Mary's family to do the same.

An apparent mistake in judgment relating to the admissions process was made by the school's now former president, leading to an unexpectedly small incoming class. The school is suffering, and its students, faculty and alums will all be impacted unless it gets some help to fix this one-time mistake.

Please ignore the propaganda written by Ms. Neal and pitch in what you can. It would be a St. Mary's kind of thing to do.

Seth Cooley, Rydal, Pa.