Bellarmine College Preparatory held its Hall of Fame ceremony the evening of April 7, recognizing four distinguished alumni.
Those honored, and their respective categories, were: Luis Nicolao, Class of 1988 (Athletics); Rich Casey, Class of 1964 (Business/Science & Medicine); Larry Lauro, Class of 1966 (Humanities & Fine Arts); and Ming Chin, Class of 1960 (Public Service).
“Bellarmine has had the most impact on my life,” said Luis Nicolao during his acceptance remarks as he was honored for his ongoing dedication to the youth as a coach and mentor. “I love being part of young people’s lives … it all comes back to Bellarmine.” In January 2018, Nicolao was named the head water polo coach at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy, where as a student he was the all-time leading scorer in Academy history. He was previously head coach for both the Princeton University men’s and women’s water polo programs for 20 seasons. His career recognition includes the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches Men’s National Coach of the Year, five-time Eastern Coach of the Year, and seven Southern Coach of the Year honors. As a student at Bellarmine, Nicolao was a two-time high school All-American in water polo. He credits the school for teaching the importance of service to others, and he remains grateful that its tuition assistance program provided him the opportunity to attend Bellarmine.
Rich Casey has a long association with Bellarmine, going back to his grandfather being a graduate of its Class of 1896 when it was known as Santa Clara Prep. He credits the Jesuits for being those “who inspired me to see the world and help those in need.” Casey was honored for his leadership within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and for his passion in the education and prevention of AIDS. His philanthropic efforts began as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa and have more recently been evident in his dedication to the Rotary Club of Los Altos AIDS Project and its mission in preventing the disease. Currently the president and CEO of Neuraltus, the Palo Alto-based organization dedicated to the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, Casey was previously chairman and CEO of Scios, working in the areas of cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and Alzheimer’s disease.
After Larry Lauro graduated from Bellarmine, and having been “impacted by the experiences, teachers, and ethics” as a student there, he knew that he wanted to return to teach at the school where he had encountered “people of faith, people of character, and people of a vision for justice.” Lauro was honored at the Hall of Fame ceremony for exemplifying a faith that does justice. His work during 41 years at Bellarmine, and as a founding member of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, has furthered awareness and action in issues of human rights and social justice. Whether as a teacher, coach, counselor, or mentor, Lauro’s passion for social justice has transformed lives. While at Bellarmine, he established a sister-community relationship with Agua Escondido in El Salvador which resulted in the construction of a kindergarten school, and he was co-chair of Bellarmine’s inaugural year-long Justice Summit. Quoting Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the 28th Father General of the Society of Jesus, Lauro remarked that, “Only by being a man or woman for others does one become fully human.”
Ming Chin, known for his judicious and fair-minded approach, was honored for embracing the Jesuit philosophy of individual responsibility in bettering communities and the world. During his Hall of Fame induction remarks, Justice Chin noted that his Bellarmine education provided “superior knowledge that instilled character and judgement.” He was appointed an associate justice of the California Supreme Court in 1996, the first Chinese American to serve on the court. He previously served on the First District Court of Appeal, was an Alameda County Superior Court judge, and was a partner at the Oakland law firm of Aiken, Kramer & Cummings. Justice Chin is a decorated U.S. military veteran, having received the Army Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam. He was the first Asian American president of the Alameda County Bar Association, and his numerous awards include 2009 California Jurist of the Year, bestowed by the Judicial Council of California. Justice Chin is a fervent defender of individual freedoms and an advocate for judicial education. Commenting on Bellarmine today, he acknowledged that “the rich tradition of service to others continues.”
The annual Bellarmine Hall of Fame is presented by the Office of Alumni Relations.