Santa Clara University


A Letter from the President

Locatelli_210I enrolled at Santa Clara University in 1958 and ever since my life and Jesuit education have been intertwined. I returned as a faculty member in 1974, later became the academic vice president, and then president in 1988. These years have been a life of grace, hence gratitude, for the many gifts to this University community and to me. As I move to Rome to assume my new responsibilities as secretary for Jesuit higher education globally, I am very happy that Michael Engh, S.J., distinguished historian and former dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at Loyola Marymount University, will become the new president. He brings talent and gifts to lead Santa Clara to a new level of distinctive quality as a Catholic, Jesuit university. Please welcome him as you welcomed me as president.

In many ways, my time at Santa Clara has been a story of both enduring tradition and of constant change. Since the time of St. Ignatius in the 16th century, Jesuit education and academic excellence have been synonymous. Ignatius and his small band of companions committed themselves to serving the Catholic Church by also serving society. They soon realized education was for the “greater glory and service of God our Lord and the universal good” of both student and world. The Society of Jesus’ commitment to excellence in learning, teaching, and the use of knowledge for the good of all, especially those unable to receive an education, remains the cornerstone of the Santa Clara community.

We have reframed these Ignatian principles and ideals for the contemporary world. Today, Jesuit education globally embraces a new educational standard of excellence—a pedagogy of engagement articulated by Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., in 2000 at Mission Santa Clara. To further this ideal, campus-wide discussions were held around globalization, technology, sustainability, diversity, civic engagement, ethics and justice, and theology as they related to educating our students.

Today, the promises and dangers of globalization have more profoundly shaped our world. And we feel ever more urgently the need to understand the different languages, cultures, and religions around us—here in Silicon Valley and around the world. There is simply so much more that a good global citizen must learn than in the recent past. Santa Clara’s new Core Curriculum and the constant renewal of programs, both curricular and co-curricular, will seek to sharpen the intellect and shape students and the University itself to construct a more humane, just, and sustainable world.

My journey with the University is not coming to an end, but will be different. As the new secretary for Jesuit higher education, I will be working to foster collaboration in the quest for academic excellence among Jesuit institutions throughout the world. My experiences here have deeply informed the ideas and approaches I bring to this new role.

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve God and the community through my varying roles at Santa Clara. I am deeply grateful for the love, support, and assistance from all of you—students, faculty, administrators, staff, board members, alumni, and friends. Your passion, experience, talents, and energy have helped build Santa Clara’s exceptional legacy and community. I wish you all the best as you move the University into the future.


Paul L. Locatelli, S.J.