Message from the President - June 2013


The culminating event of the academic year is quickly approaching, when we congratulate our graduating class and celebrate the Commencement ceremonies. Leon Panetta will address the undergraduate seniors on June 15 and Pamela Eibeck, President of the University of the Pacific, will speak at the graduate commencement on June 14.

During the undergraduate commencement ceremonies we will acknowledge members of the Class of 2013 selected to receive University awards. I would like to share with you the recipients of these special honors.

  • This year’s valedictorian is Ashley Armstrong, who will address her classmates. The valedictorian is the graduating senior selected for outstanding academic achievement and University service.
  • The St. Clare and Nobili medals are presented to the female and male graduates judged outstanding in academic performance, personal character, school activities, and constructive contribution to the University. The St. Clare Medal will be awarded to Katherine Bercovitz and the Nobili Medal to Aven Satre-Meloy.
  • The Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J. Award is bestowed on a graduating senior who exemplifies the ideals of Jesuit education as a "whole person of solidarity in the real world" with the courage and faith to build a more just and humane world. For 2013, the Kolvenbach Award will be presented to Laura Snowden.

For those of you planning to attend commencement and celebrate the graduation of a friend or family member, I hope to greet you at the ceremonies.

Senior Class Gift and Leavey Challenge

Keeping up the tradition of the Senior Class Gift, the Class of 2013 is impressing us with their generous contributions to the University. So far, 361 seniors representing 32.8% of the class have made a donation. Their generosity even before they graduate is a testament to the impact that Santa Clara has had on their lives.

The seniors follow in the spirit of many alumni among you who have stepped up to the $1 million Leavey Challenge. With 8,121 alumni donors so far this year, we are nearing our goal of 9,000 donors by the June 30 deadline in order to receive the $1 million gift from the Leavey Foundation. We are so close, but not quite there! If you have not yet given, I hope you will join in helping us by making a gift so we reach our goal. Visit the Leavey Challenge website here.

President’s Athletic Commission

As part of the University’s strategic planning process, I recently appointed a 12-member task force to review the role of Santa Clara’s intercollegiate athletic program in advancing the mission and vision of the University. The President’s Athletic Commission will consider a series of questions such as: To what extent can an enhanced and improved intercollegiate athletic program significantly increase SCU’s national (and local) reputation as a leading Jesuit, Catholic University? And what resources would be necessary to do so? In their deliberations around these and other questions, the commission will also consult with other advisory groups and University departments, and work with an outside consultant, Todd Turner. The Department of Athletics and Recreation and other units will provide the commission with relevant data, targeted input, and other pertinent information. John Ottoboni ‘69 (University Legal Counsel) will staff the commission.

University trustee John M. Sobrato ‘83, is chairing the commission which includes members Penny Alexander ‘82 (Regent), Michael Crowley (President, Oakland A’s), Patti Ernstrom (San Jose Sports Authority), Caren Horstmeyer ‘84 , Brent Jones ’85, Mary Mathews-Stevens ‘84 (Trustee), Gary Neustadter, (Faculty member and chair of the SCU Athletic Advisory Board), Marc Rebboah ‘81 , (Regent), Kristi Saso (SCU parent), Andy Schatzman, ‘83 (president, Bronco Bench Foundation), and Maria Nash Vaughn ‘86 (Regent). They will hold their first meeting on June 17 and will submit a final report with recommendations to me by December 15, 2013. I thank the members of the commission for agreeing to serve the University in this capacity, and I look forward to their report and recommended next steps.


Michael E. Engh, S.J.