Santa Clara University

Leavey School of Business

Santa Clara University


The University was established as Santa Clara College on the site of the Mission Santa Clara de Asís, the eighth of the original 21 California missions. The college originally operated as a preparatory school and did not offer courses of collegiate rank until 1853.

Following the Civil War, enrollment increased, and by 1875 the size of the student body was 275. One-third of the students were enrolled in the collegiate division; the remainder attended the college’s preparatory and high school departments.

Santa Clara experienced slow and steady growth during its first 60 years, becoming the University of Santa Clara in 1912, when the schools of engineering and law were added. In 1925, the high school was separated from the University and took the name of Bellarmine College Preparatory in 1928. The Leavey School of Business began in 1926 and, within a decade, became one of the first business schools in the country to receive national accreditation.

For 110 years, Santa Clara was an all-male school. In the fall of 1961, women were accepted as undergraduates, and Santa Clara became the first coeducational Catholic university in California. The decision resulted in an admissions explosion—from 1,500 students to more than 5,000. The size of the faculty tripled, and the University began the largest building program in school history, building eight residence halls, a student union, and an athletic stadium. In the early 1970s, the Board of Trustees voted to limit the size of the undergraduate population, an action that was intended to preserve the character and ensure the quality of the University for generations to come. In 1985, the University adopted “Santa Clara University” as its official name.

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