Brother Gustavo Ramirez Barba Leads Staff Retreats

Brother GustavoThe student-to-faculty ratio at Saint Mary’s College is 11 to one, according to the Forbes 2017 list of best-value colleges. But a series of workshops by Brother Gustavo Ramirez Barba has the goal of making every SMC employee a Lasallian educator.

As General Councilor for the Lasallian association for the educational mission, Brother Gustavo has been conducting a series of Lasallian education retreats (in English and Spanish) for employees at SMC. Based on quotations and reflections from Saint John Baptist de La Salle, Brother Gustavo’s October 13 workshop outlined six ways staff can influence students as Lasallian educators:

1. Rouse up those who lack courage, support the weak, and be patient toward all.

2. Give youth the spirit of wisdom and the insight to enlighten the eyes of their hearts.

3. Make a strong impression on their minds and hearts by good example.

4. Encourage and help them lead a worthy life and produce good works of every sort.

5. Help them to be gentle and to have tenderness for one another.

6. Lead them to practice well all the good of which they are capable

Brother Gustavo has a personal connection to SMC’s caring community. He received his ME and an honorary doctorate from Saint Mary’s College and serves on its Board of Trustees. He earned his doctorate at the University of San Francisco and served as Brother Visitor of the Mexico-Norte district, president of La Salle University at Ciudad Obregón, in Mexico, before being appointed an International Council member for the Lasallian Mission in Rome

Carole Swain, vice president for mission, said that with his breadth of experience, Brother Gustavo inspires people and makes them feel connected to the Lasallian heritage and charism. “One of the things staff had said is that they want to feel more included . . . feel part of the whole.” She said Brother Gustavo’s retreats give participants “a sense of building community and that they belong.”

Participant Kate Cole found the half-day retreat to be a powerful tool. As a coach in SMC’s office of Student Engagement and Academic Success, it gave her a deeper understanding of how her work with students is guided by Saint John Baptist de La Salle's principles and beliefs. “Brother Gustavo left the imprint on me of how caring, respect, and holistic support for my students is helping to empower them for a post-college life of meaningful contributions.”

Director of Articulation for the Office of Admissions, Craig Means, said the retreat reaffirmed his feeling that the Lasallian mission is "a continuous journey, simplistic in nature, and as an educator, easy to live out."