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Loyalty To Your Soul

USM Honors our Beloved Volunteers and the 2011 Angels of the Year!

The University of Santa Monica is blessed to have a very dedicated, loving, and service-oriented volunteer community. There are over 300 volunteers participating at the University during each academic year, supporting USM's Soul-Centered education through their gifts of time and Loving service.

This year's graduation ceremony at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus was a glorious celebration of the class of 2011. One hundred sixty-eight graduates were awarded Master's Degrees and Certificates of Completion in the Spiritual Psychology Program. This joyful event marked the completion of USM's 30th year of classes. All of this is made possible, in part, because of the Loving and abundant support of USM's Volunteer community.

The University of Santa Monica's Graduate Programs are supported by countless hours of volunteer service provided by teams of highly qualified and devoted USM graduates. Many graduates return to USM each year to be of service during the class weekends as Assistants in the USM classroom and as Readers (under the supervision of USM Faculty members) for students' homework assignments. Additional volunteers serve the University by assisting for special events, providing administrative support to USM staff as Office Angels, and in our new area of Online Education.

As a tradition, the University recognizes two volunteers for their outstanding contributions to the University's mission and their demonstration of the consciousness of service. Recipients of this award have historically contributed a minimum of five years of volunteer service at USM, and each honoree also demonstrates a high level of Loving excellence, dedication, and willingness. These volunteers are wayshowers who step into the highest expression of themselves in service to the each generation of USM students at the University.

Gina Ryan ('05), 2011 Angel of the Year

Gina Ryan '05 shares from her heart

The award reads: “You embody the true meaning of the service consciousness. Your attention-to-detail, ability to respond with Loving and Wisdom, and your Joyful nurturing spirit are hallmarks of your leadership. Your Generosity of Spirit overflows, touching the hearts of many. With deep Love and Gratitude, we honor you.”

Gina Ryan has been a valued member of the volunteer community since graduating in 2005. Upon graduation, Gina immediately jumped into the role of classroom volunteer and was quickly recognized for her leadership qualities. As a Team Captain of the Second Year Assisting Team, Gina has brought forward a loving, nurturing, and harmonizing energy, while attending to the many details involved in leading the Team to this precious year in the USM educational process.

Angel of the Year Gina Ryan '05 with Drs. Ron & Mary Hulnick As Gina received her award, she shared that her service work at the University brought her such profound Joy and has taught her to how to be with her Self and others in a truly Loving way. “It was in hearing the phrase, ‘We are Divine Beings having a human experience’ that was a divine moment of knowing that this is where I belong. I hope to be always holding in my Loving and Joy and look forward to many more yummy years to come! Thank you.”

Steve McDonald ('04), 2011 Angel of the Year

Steve shares his gratitude for his reading weekends at USM

The award reads: “Your deep caring for others flows through your smile, your words, and the Light in your eyes. You demonstrate enthusiasm, eloquence, and equanimity as you willingly serve. Your poetic sensibility and Compassion inspire us and warm our hearts. You are demonstrating Loving of Self through serving others. With heartfelt gratitude, we love, honor, and bless you.”

Steve McDonald has been a valued member of the Second Year Reading Team for five years. His serenity and Loving presence add so much value to the team. He shares from the depth of his wisdom with eloquence and sincerity in ways that touch our hearts. Steve inspires us as he shares about his reading experience in our group circles. His compassionate and Loving participation always has an uplifting effect on the entire team.

Angel of the Year Steve McDonald '04 with Drs. Ron & Mary Hulnick Steve shared that he was “somewhat stunned” when he was called forward to receive the award. He shared how much he looks forward to his reading weekends. “USM taught me so much and gave me the experience of opening my heart. Sometimes I say that it cracked my heart open. Each month I get to take a swan dive into the ocean of Love that surrounds this University. I get to be reminded of how beautiful we all are, how full of love we all are, and what amazing Lights we all are. I am so grateful.”

Gina and Steve are shining examples of Loving in action. We truly cherish and honor you both for the many ways you contribute to Soul-Centered education.

Many in the 2011 graduating class have expressed enthusiastic interest in stepping forward to volunteer next year by participating in USM's Volunteer Service Program in Continuing Education for Graduates. It is truly A Path With Heart. With CHH being offered in 2011-12, there are many opportunities available to be a part of USM's volunteer community!

If you feel called to support the University as a volunteer, we invite you to send an e-mail to, or call Jane Tucker, Volunteer Resources Director, or Fariba Mansouri, Reading Program Director, (310) 829-7402. They would love to hear from you.