Christ the King Award Recipient for 2011:
Michael Carroll '58
On Nov. 20, 2011, Mchael Carroll '58 received the Christ the King Award, the highest honor SI bestows upon a graduate of the school.
Below is the text of the citation, followed by a speech given by Michael at the reception following the Mass.
The Christ the King Citation
SAINT IGNATIUS COLLEGE PREPARATORY presents the 2011 Christ the King Award to Michael Patrick Carroll
“Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
When Bob Drucker ’58 ambled into the SI Alumni Office on a sleepy Tuesday in October, it was clear that he was still in need of his morning cup of coffee. As Bob started to quietly say his hellos to the staff, a well-dressed man with glasses rushed toward him, slapped him on the back, and planted a big kiss on his left cheek. “How are you doing, pal! Great to see you, Bobby D,” the man exclaimed, smiling ear to ear as he went in for a bear hug. Bob Drucker was now wide awake, and Mike Carroll was unmistakably in the building.
Today we pay tribute to Michael Patrick Carroll ’58 as the recipient of Saint Ignatius College Preparatory’s highest alumni honor, the Christ the King Award. For over six decades, Mike has been hugging classmates, mentoring Bay Area youth, supporting non-profits, and representing SI and the Class of 1958 with great passion and zeal.
Mike Carroll was born on St. Patrick’s Day in 1940 to Michael and Julia Carroll. He had a far-from-typical childhood for those times, as his parents divorced when he was just 3. Because of the split, Mike found himself moving from town to town during his early years, living in a foster home with his brothers, with his mom for some time, and then with his grandmother and aunt before reconnecting with his dad when he was in 8th grade. Mike attended five different grammar schools during these years, finally settling in at St. Agnes when he entered junior high. It was his experience there that helped set the stage for Mike’s matriculation to high school.
At SI, Mike found a stability that he never had before and made friendships that have lasted a lifetime. He was tough, bright and popular, and upon graduation his yearbook celebrated his athleticism, noting: “To Mike goes the distinction of SI’s most versatile athlete. He was a bruising defensive standout on the varsity football team, his deadly eye on the backboards was the highlight of many a lightweight game, and his speed and coordination made him tops in baseball and diving as well.”
After high school, Mike attended USF and San Francisco State University, majoring in business from 1959 to 1962. After trying his hand at insurance, Mike ultimately founded the business that he runs today, Carroll and Company, a firm that provides consulting services to professionals, specializing in the appraisal, sale and mergers of dental practices. Through this work, Mike became a Board Member of the UOP Dental School’s Foundation, which helps provide dental services for underprivileged kids.
Mike has also served the community faithfully as a youth baseball and football coach for more than 22 years, as a 10-year member of the SI Board of Regents, and as a lector at Our Lady of the Wayside in Portola Valley. He has also served on at least one committee for the San Francisco Olympic Club every year since 1981. As a trusted advisor to the Club these many years, Mike is a past member of the Board of Directors, was Treasurer during the major renovation of the downtown facility, Chairman of the Finance Committee, Chairman of the Tournament Committee, and Chairman of the Investment and Endowment Committee. He is currently serving a second term on the Olympic Club Foundation Board and is Chairman of the Members Hospitality for the 2012 U.S. Open.
Though he is 53 years removed from SI, Mike’s relationship with his classmates continues to grow stronger. He is a central figure in all of their class activities, has helped fund two class scholarships, has been a chair of all reunion committees, and recently took the lead for his class in helping fund the Pat Malley and Gene Lynch Coaches’ Room in SI’s new Press Box. Golf has also kept the guys close, as they have played together all over the world, from the Olympic Club to the links of Ireland. Mike cherishes the company of his friends during an afternoon of golf and perhaps also subscribes to the age-old golf axiom that “the best golf partners are always those friends who are just slightly worse than you.”
And any mention of Mike Carroll’s contributions to SI would not be complete without mentioning the Class of ’58 St. Patrick’s Day lunches. What started out as a small birthday lunch for Mike with a few friends at the Washington Square Bar & Grill back in March of 1980 has now turned into an annual event for the entire class. More than 75 classmates attended one of the recent lunches, in large part due to Mike’s contagious enthusiasm. “Mike is seen as the communicator and leader of the Class of 1958,” noted Bob Drucker. “His love for the school is evident in all he does, and his inclusiveness really sets him apart. Mike has always made extraordinary efforts to find lost classmates and bring them back to the school to share in the experience.” Jack Casey echoed those thoughts, noting that “Mike is very enthusiastic and committed in everything he does for SI, and he has gone to great lengths to attend the funerals of all our deceased classmates and their spouses, no matter where they are. I have always admired him for that. This really is another family to him.”
One classmate, Bob Forrest, went even further, saying that his own family held a vote to make Mike an official member of the Forrest clan. “The kids voted him in right away, but the adults took some time to mull it over,” joked Bob. “In the end, Mike was voted in because he always brings really good wine.” He added, “Mike is a great mentor and a friend you can count on. He has been a great role model through his actions and has set such a great example for his classmates.”
While working so hard and serving the community so well, Mike has always had time for his family. Mike and his wonderful bride, Mary, have four children between them, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He has also been a great role model for many others over the course of his distinguished life. His leadership skills and zest for life have led his classmates to describe him in many ways, such as “the glue that keeps the class together,” “the Energizer Bunny,” and the “Great Communicator.” Above all, though, Mike is a principled and dedicated man of the highest ideals, tirelessly serving his classmates, family and community with honesty, zeal and compassion.
When asked how he felt when he learned that he was selected to be the 2011 Christ the King Award recipient, Mike summed it all up, with tears in his eyes, by saying that he was both “shocked and humbled” by being chosen and that, “next to my relationship with my wife, this is the greatest honor that I could possibly have. My father would be proud.”
Mike, on behalf of the school, the SI Alumni Association, the Regents and Trustees, thank you for being a loyal, spirited and humble friend of SI and an inspiration to all you have met.
THE SAINT IGNATIUS COLLEGE PREPARATORY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION is proud to bestow its highest honor, the Christ the King Award, upon distinguished graduate Michael Patrick Carroll, Class of 1958. GIVEN THIS TWENTIETH DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2011.
Response By Michael Carroll ’58
Mr. Columbini, Reverend Fathers, Alumni Board members, distinguished recipients of the Christ The King Award, family, friends and the Class of ’58 attendees.
If only my Freshman Latin teacher, Fr. “re-write” Harrington could see me now. I can’t thank you enough for being here to share with me this highest honor that S.I. bestows on an Alumnus. There are so many people more deserving than I. On the other hand, Saint Ignatius is one of the most important elements of my life and my heart, so this award means the world to me.
I know my family is very proud and happy for me today, and I want to thank each and every one of you, especially my loving wife, Mary, for the support and love you constantly show me each and every day of my life. When I talk about family, I’m thinking of a broader group than my children, grandchildren and loving wife. I’m thinking of my S.I. family, who have helped me every step of the way since I walked through the doors of S.I. aged 14, over 57 years ago.
So today I would like to thank a very special group of individuals who I feel are directly responsible for me being here today and they are my fellow classmates from the class of ’58.
“We are S.I.” What does that mean? Well for me, as I said, it means family. S.I. is not just an outstanding educational College Prep School, it is a way of life that teaches us to challenge ourselves, understand the world around us, and to think critically and to act justly. When I walked up the steps to S.I. in 1954, I took myself into a new world. From that day on, I was part of a tight knit group of classmates and teachers who all in our different ways were committed to the same goal – being something bigger and better. I have always endeavored to be the best that I could be in whatever challenge God has created for me I and I know that hard work and perseverance does pay off. We all encounter struggles in our lives in one form or another whether that be in our personal lives, our business, or day-to-day living. I remember when I was younger I once said to my Dad that I felt a friend of mine was a “lucky guy” because he had attained success in his Business and he said to me “you know son, the harder you work, the luckier you get”. I never forgot that and I have applied that to everything I do in life.
I want to talk a little about our class which is a very special group of guys who truly respect and love one another and that friendship was forged from the first day of attending S.I. For me, one of the most special experiences of every year is our class of ‘58 luncheon on Saint Patrick’s Day. As few as 45, and as many as 75 guys from our class for one day every year, we are big kids again, keeping memories alive, keeping in touch, and supporting each other in the face of whatever life throws at us. Even if they haven’t seen each other during the year when they do get-together it is as though they haven’t missed a beat and the laughter gets louder as the day goes on. And it is not because of the green suds.
I remember at our 20th reunion I challenged our class to start an endowment scholarship for a deserving student at S.I. and as a result these guys didn’t stop at just one scholarship but went forward to establish a second scholarship and it isn’t surprising to me that we are one of only a few handfuls of classes from S.I. that have more than one scholarship.
In addition when it was brought to our attention that S.I. was constructing a new Press Box for the football field and was asking to raise money for the naming of the Coaches Box for two of our beloved coaches, Pat Malley and Gene Lynch, our class immediately responded and stepped up to the plate and raised in excess of $15,000 within a few short months. I am so proud of our classmates.
We have guys like John Walsh, who when you visit him and ring his doorbell you get the Wildcat Fight Song in response. Or when you see John Kiely walking down the street with his old Junior Jacket and a beat up S.I. baseball cap, here is a guy who bleeds Red & Blue. Then there is Bob Forrest, who has more S.I. memorabilia in his home than S.I. probably has in its Trophy case. How about Jay Fritz who can’t do enough for any of his classmates and constantly shows up at S.I. functions (by the way a former Christ The King Award Winner), and finally another S.I. die-hard, Bobby Drucker, who is Mr. S.I. and not only taught at S.I., Coached at S.I., had the gymnasium named after him, but also provided S.I. with one of their best administrators in his daughter, Katie Kohmann. I could go on and on about my classmates but time doesn’t allow me to do my classmates justice.
One of my fondest memories is bringing back the Bruce-Mahoney trophy and leaning out of the classroom window shouting “we are SI, we are SI”. It was all about the group, not the individual. SI taught me to give back. This stayed with me after I graduated, and I’ve always been driven to recapture that feeling of giving back, and making something special out of the ordinary. That’s why I’ve always been involved in coaching, in fundraising, in helping to bring our classmates together, in keeping in touch. It feels good, and it does good for others. It makes me feel like a family member.
It also mirrors my experience as a member of the Olympic Club. When I got involved in the committee system at Olympic one of my most fulfilling experiences has been working on behalf of The Olympic Club Foundation because it has a lot to do with what is meaningful to me in dealing with underserved children in the Bay Area. The Foundation funds and supports programs believing organized athletics enriches young lives and nurtures future community leaders. Building on Olympic Club tradition as the oldest athletic club in the country, the Olympic Club Foundation supports and encourages participation by Bay Area youth in amateur athletics. Most of the foundation’s grants target disadvantaged youth growing up in challenged neighborhoods. I have seen first-hand the positive influence organized athletics can have on the lives of underprivileged youth.
There are several S.I. Alums who serve on the Foundation Board and in addition when I went on the Board of Directors at the Olympic Club there were 5 of the 12 Board members who were S.I. graduates and another Board member whose daughter was currently at S.I. When I served on the club’s Admissions Committee and when we interviewed applicants it was amazing the number of S.I. graduates who came through and it was always a standard response “you went to S.I., you’re in”. It seems that no matter where I go I run into S.I grads.
Finally, I feel confident that when I pass on and reach the pearly gates I will be greeted by God’s Admission’s committee Angels and know that I will not have a problem getting in because most of them will probably be S.I. grads.
Thank you for your indulgence with my rambling but I wanted to share with you why I feel “We are S.I.” I would like to close with one of my favorite blessings as I feel I am a very blessed man.
“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warmly on your face and the rain fall softly on your fields, and until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hands.”
Thank you, thank you so much. I will always cherish this day for the rest of my life.