Message from the President
I wish to express my deep gratitude to the alumni we honored at the President’s Dinner on April 27. As an institution, the truest measure of our success and our proudest accomplishment lie in who our students become. The Alumni Awards are a way to celebrate alumni who have made the world better, brighter, and more beautiful. Our honorees, Maria Arias Evans, The Honorable Robert Higgins, Deanna and Steve Erbst, and Jane and Lou Castruccio, have served and inspired countless people through their life’s work and spirit of generosity. I was proud to recognize them as this year’s awardees. Thanks are also in order to the Alumni Association Board and Alumni Relations staff who helped plan and organize the alumni awards. They made it possible for us to show our support for these special members of the Bronco family.
Sprinksgiving: A Day of Gratitude and Donor Appreciation
A new tradition of thanks began among our students this year. Hosted by the SCU Student Philanthropy Committee and the Development office, we held our first “Sprinksgiving” on April 24 as a day of gratitude to celebrate all who have given so generously to Santa Clara University. To show appreciation for our donors, about 1,400 students signed a giant “thank you” card throughout the day. The finished card was then displayed at the President’s Dinner for guests to read the students’ personal notes of thanks. On the night when we honored the 2013 alumni awardees and donors, we shared the gratitude of our students as well.
The Student Philanthropy Committee is made up of student volunteers who are helping to bring a culture of philanthropy to Santa Clara’s campus. As with our Sprinksgiving event, they also are encouraging students to give thanks for the generosity of alumni and friends. In less than one year’s time, these committee members have had an impact on our donors and on the campus community. Plans are in the works for new ways to show appreciation. I am pleased with this grass-roots effort spearheaded by the student body and anticipate more good things to come.
Testimony Before Assembly Higher Education Committee
In April I had the opportunity to give testimony before the Assembly Higher Education Committee in support of The College Opportunity Act of 2013. The act will reestablish a CalGrant maximum award policy to provide predictability for our students and will further strengthen one of the most successful public-private partnerships the state has adopted. This is an important program for our students. At Santa Clara, 564 current students receive Cal Grants, and the average family income for these students is $37,961. Further, 61% of our Cal Grant students are first-generation college students. Without CalGrants these students would be at risk of not being able to afford college. As a past CalGrant recipient I spoke on behalf of the 76 presidents of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. It was a privilege for me to testify before the committee and voice our institutional support for the CalGrant program and the gifted and deserving CalGrant recipients who would suffer the most without it.
Michael E. Engh, S.J.