Santa Clara University

FYI - Faculty and Staff Newsletter

fyi - News for the Campus Community

fyi is the official faculty-staff newsletter for the Santa Clara University community. It is designed to keep faculty and staff informed about campus news and information. It is compiled, written and published by the Office of Marketing and Communications.

  •  Breaking the Mold

    The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University opens the winter season with an exhibition that speaks to the legacy of ceramics in Northern California. Clay in the Bay, on view Jan. 18 to March 17, 2013, brings together 12 contemporary artists from around the Bay Area who work with clay in diverse ways.

    The use of clay as a fine art medium has deep roots in Northern California. Once considered a form of craft, it took the ingenuity, creativity, and vision of artists like Robert Arneson and Peter Voulkos to look beyond the medium’s utilitarian properties to its expressive qualities. In the decades following, their successors continued to stretch the creative boundaries of clay sculpture. Today, the use of the medium as a respected art form continues to thrive.
    Through the use of varied techniques the artists featured in the exhibition, many of whom teach at local universities, transform clay into organic shape, architectural design, and narrative form. For some, it is the sole medium in which they work; for others the ceramic elements are part of a larger whole. Regardless, the works included in the show speak to the incredible versatility of the medium as it is molded, shaped, and otherwise manipulated.
    Artists in this exhibition include Bean Finneran, Don Fritz, Francisco “Pancho” Jiménez, Robert Kvenild, David Linger, Spring Montes, Matthew Scheatzle, Nancy Selvin, Ehren Tool, Monica Van den Dool, Jenni Ward, and Stan Welsh.
    The museum celebrates the opening of Clay in the Bay on Thursday, Jan. 24 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Many of the artists in the exhibition will be present and available to discuss their work.
    On Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., artist Stan Welsh will give a public lecture on his art. The program is co-sponsored by the de Saisset and SCU’s Department of Art and Art History.
    Artist Nancy Selvin will lecture on Radical Pots: Ceramics in the Bay Area, 1960s Onward on Thursday, March 7 at 7 p.m. She will address the radical departure from the norm that took place in Bay Area ceramic work in the 1960s and discuss how that shift is carried forward today.
    All events are free and open to the public.

  •  Ignatian Center Lectures Strive to Bridge Public Dialogue Among Faiths

    Despite America’s reputation as a melting pot of races and creeds, unease and confusion still seem to be the predominant state of interfaith relations in this country. Members of faiths from Catholicism, Judaism, Hinduism, or Islam often are aware only of the most superficial or negative facets of other faiths.

    In an attempt to bridge that gap and promote interreligious respect and understanding, Santa Clara University is holding a series of a dozen lectures exploring the public significance of sacred texts from diverse contexts and faith traditions.

    The series is being presented by the University’s Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education. Some of the speakers are high-profile representatives of their faiths, such as Hindu Ravi Gupta, who met Pope Benedict XVI upon his first visit to the U.S., and Muslim Ingrid Mattson, who spoke at President Obama’s first inaugural interfaith prayer service.

    Titled Sacred Dialogue: Interpreting and Embodying Sacred Texts Across Traditions, speakers in this series will discuss important aspects of their respective faiths’ sacred texts.

    Michael Fishbane, of the University of Chicago, will kick off the lectures on Jan. 22 with a talk on “Creating a Culture of Care: Hebrew Scripture and Jewish Tradition on Charity and Hospitality.” Judaism has always demanded that followers provide care, respect, and understanding to the poor, from the early days where a portion of farmers’ fields were left for the wandering poor, to more-modern interpretations of charity and hospitality, he said. “Judaism has various normative regulations and duties—the Halakha—but how you deal with those in certain moral situations has evolved over time,” Fishbane said.

    He said Judaism is a religion of vast scriptural interpretation. Many types and spiritual levels of interpretation will be presented to show the diverse approaches to the subjects of care and charity in Judaism.

    Another speaker, Ravi M. Gupta of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, on Feb. 5 will discuss “Creation and Chaos in Hindu Sacred Texts.” He says sacred texts such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Bhagavata Purana offer a holistic way of looking at creation or innovation, processes which Americans generally revere. Positive creation can arise from mistakes and new problems can arise when addressing another problem. Hindu texts recognize the process of creation to be “a series of successive challenges,” says Gupta.

    “We solve one, and from that we produce a second challenge. That cycle of problem-solution, problem-solution, points to the fact that a problem is a source of productivity,” he says. “and sometimes solutions to problems, even within human relationships, are borne from conflict.”

    Another talk, on Feb. 20 by Ingrid Mattson of Huron University College of the University of Western Ontario, Canada, will cover “Sacred Dialogues Across the Qur'an,” including the role of that text in the daily lives of Muslims.

    “This winter lecture series seeks to promote an ethic of dialogue across religious traditions,” said Michael C. McCarthy, S.J., director of Santa Clara University’s Ignatian Center. “[It] offers an opportunity to go beyond the surface of popular and sometime polarizing rhetoric, so that we might collectively engage issues of public import through the resources of diverse sacred texts and traditions.”

    Also as part of the series, the Ignatian Center will host an exhibit Feb. 15 to June 30, featuring art celebrating and created from sacred texts. More on the exhibit can be found at

    Gupta said the lecture series is an important opportunity for audience members of any faith. Such dialogue has value “in a way that publishing a paper in an obscure journal would not,” he says. “It’s the balance of bringing academics into conversation with the larger world, and one religion into conversation with another.”

    The series begins on Jan. 22 and continues through March 14. A full list of events, dates, and times can be found at

  •  Take Five

    Rose Marie Beebe is a much-loved Spanish professor at SCU as well as an alumna (’76). Beebe is married to history professor Robert M. Senkewicz and this month they will discuss “Women in 19th-Century Mexican California” at the January 22 Literary Cuisine event, hosted by the University Library and Bon Appétite.

    Why did you pursue Spanish as a field of study?
    I learned to speak Spanish as a child thanks to the close relationship I had with my grandparents, Manuel and Inés Sunyer, who lived across the street from my family. When my grandparents came to the United States from Cuba, my grandfather eventually learned English but my grandmother did not. I spent so much time at their house that learning Spanish was something that “just happened!”

    My grandmother and I used to play school together, in Spanish. She taught me how to read Spanish by using copies of Selecciones (Reader’s Digest magazine in Spanish) as our textbook. My grandmother instilled in me the love of learning as well as an appreciation of our family’s Hispanic heritage. She is always with me in spirit when I am in the classroom!
    What keeps you coming back to teach year after year, especially after attending SCU as an undergraduate?
    As a child there was something about SCU that grabbed me. My grandparents had friends who worked here as gardeners so I was familiar with the campus. Whenever we visited them on the campus I would tell my grandfather, “I want to go to this school.” His reply was always the same: “You can’t because they only let boys study here.” I guess at the age of 6 I knew something he didn’t know!

    Three professors at SCU had a profound influence on me during my undergraduate years. Norman Martin, S.J. (Latin American history), Andrew I. Rematore (Latin American literature), and JoAnn Vásquez (dean of CP&E) were the best professors and mentors I could have hoped for. Their passion for their subject area and the way they transmitted their love of teaching and learning to their students have inspired me throughout my 35-year career at SCU. I hope to be able to do the same for my own students.
    What is it like working with your husband, Robert Senkewicz, as you are in the Beyond the Traditional Kitchen event this month?
    Working with my husband and best friend is an amazing gift. It is also a lot of fun! We have been working together for 23 years and are still learning so much from one another.

    Our latest effort is a two-volume set on the life and writings of Fr. Junípero Serra that will be published by the University of Oklahoma Press in a year or so. As if that weren’t exciting enough, I received a full-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to translate and annotate Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo’s five-volume memoir on the history of California. There are no signs of our slowing down on research and writing any time soon!

    If you could correct one misconception about or in your field, what would it be?

    My research and writing involves a great deal of translation work–Spanish to English. There are some people who believe that just because a person knows another language, it isn’t hard at all to do translation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    The primary sources that I work with are 18th and 19th century documents. They include letters, reports, and ecclesiastical material written by Franciscan friars; judicial proceedings or interrogations prepared by high-ranking soldiers or other administrator types; documents written by presidio commanders; diaries; etc. Without a strong background and understanding of the history, culture, and society of the period in which the documents were written, the chances of producing a translation that preserves the voice and intent of the writer of the original document are slim. Translation is not a process, it is an art.

    What is your favorite Mexican recipe to cook or to eat?

    My favorite recipe to cook and eat is arroz con leche (rice pudding). I learned how to make this dessert by helping my grandmother prepare it. Her admonition to lower the flame so as not to burn the milk (Hay que bajar la candela para no quemar la leche) echoes in my head every time I make arroz con leche.

  •  How Tweet It Is

    Many in the SCU community are putting why they love SCU into 140 characters. Here are just a few of our mentions in the Twittersphere.

    Do you tweet? We want to hear from you! Email your twitter handle to or tweet us @scunews.

  •  Engineering Legend

    From an Olympic water polo medal to designing systems for the rocket that put men on the moon: the life and work of engineering professor Dragoslav Siljak was profiled in Santa Clara Magazine.

    Dragoslav Siljak should be so lucky to write another book with the staying power of one of his earlier efforts. In 1991, he published a mathematical bible for those trying to understand, control, and predict the kind of vast decentralized systems that increasingly rule modern life—such as electric power systems, communication networks, and mobile robot formations. Two decades later, that landmark guide, Decentralized Control of Complex Systems, had fallen out of print, but it still topped Amazon’s best-seller lists in two technical categories, with used copies selling for as much as $800. The title was republished earlier this year.

    “I hit the gold mine,” says Siljak, the Benjamin and Mae Swig Professor of Electrical Engineering. His life’s work has been dedicated to bringing control and understanding to highly complex systems, some with thousands of variables. “It’s a perpetual topic.”

    Now as Siljak, the author of four books and hundreds of papers, enters retirement after nearly 50 years at the University, his thoughts have turned to a different kind of writing—his memoirs for his grandchildren to read. He may not conjure another best-seller, but Siljak—a man with a shock of white hair, square jaw, and a you’ve got to hear this intensity—definitely has tales to tell.

    Please click here for the entirety of the article by Sam Scott ’96.

  •  Unique Pairing

    Testarossa Winery is helping support the Santa Clara University Solar Decathlon team through the sale of a limited release chardonnay. Proceeds from the sale of a custom-labeled 2010 Testarossa chardonnay benefit the team’s 2013 Radiant House project.

    “As a young Jesuit I picked grapes on the hills behind the Testarossa winery and worked there during the wine-making season. I couldn't be happier to be teamed up with Testarossa and the long tradition behind it,” says Jim Reites, S.J., a faculty advisor for the decathlon team.

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are attractive, cost-effective, and energy efficient. Santa Clara University’s 2013 Radiant House team is comprised of qualified students from several disciplines.

    “This is a fun and exciting endeavor for us,” said Testarossa owner Rob Jensen. “We have a very personal connection with the team, as our son Nick is an engineering student at SCU and is helping to build the house. He’s putting into practice all the construction odd jobs he’s done at the winery during his school breaks.”

    Testarossa and its owners have a long history with Santa Clara. Rob and Diana Jensen met at SCU as undergrads in the electrical engineering program. And when their small winery business needed to expand, Testarossa moved into the historic Novitiate Winery in Los Gatos. The priest who married Rob and Diana, John Geary, S.J., went to seminary at the Novitiate in the 1930s. Geary’s father, an architect, first expanded the winery after Prohibition was repealed.

    “The education and opportunities we received at Santa Clara University not only brought us together, but set the table for our success as business owners,” says Diana Jensen. “We are proud to be able to give a bit back to the University.”

    Only 100 cases of the limited Radiant House Chardonnay are available. It sells for $20 a bottle in the Testarossa tasting room in Los Gatos and online.

  •  The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life

    What inspires a person to create? Taking cues from her life and reflecting on the nature of creativity, Amy Tan explores the events that made her a writer as she comes to SCU on Jan. 17 for the President’s Speaker Series.

    The soon-to-be-released The Valley of Amazement is Amy Tan’s seventh novel since her debut in 1989 with The Joy Luck Club. Over this time, Tan has adapted her work for film, television, and even the opera, but her latest is a return to her roots—her first novel since 2005. Tan’s work speaks to millions with its universal themes of family relationships, generational change, and personal history.

    Amy Tan’s other books include The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter, The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life, and two children's books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat, which was adapted as an Emmy-nominated PBS series. Tan was also a co-producer and co-screenwriter of the film version of The Joy Luck Club, and her essays and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Her work has been translated into 35 languages.

    This year’s speaker series, Enlivening the Whole Person: Head, Heart, and Body, kicked off on Oct. 11 with Reza Aslan ’95, who spoke about the legacy of the Arab Spring. Tan is the second featured speaker, followed by former FDA commissioner David Kessler on April 9.

    The event will take a conversational format, and be followed by a book signing. Staff and faculty can get discounted tickets for $20, available online.

  •  Spreading the Joy

    Santa Clara University is continuing its commitment to helping those in need, and you can help. Last year, SCU brought in over 200 donations to help the Family Giving Tree fulfill the wishes of 61,000 low-income children and individuals. You can stop by the Learning Commons lobby, pick a tag off the giving tree and participate by bringing an unwrapped gift for the child, teen, elderly or homeless person mentioned on the tag. You can also choose a green or yellow card for a monetary donation. The deadline for donations is Monday, Dec. 10. Gifts can be dropped off at room 215 in the library.

  •  How Tweet It Is

    Many in the SCU community are putting why they love SCU into 140 characters. Here are just a few of our mentions in the Twittersphere. Also, be sure to follow us @SantaClaraUniv:


  •  Alaska Adventure

    On an overcast day in July, a dozen SCU faculty and students boarded a colorful flotilla of inflatable rafts for a 105-mile trip down the Nenana River in Alaska. The watery journey marked the first phase of a long-term partnership with Hero Projects—an organization that combines outdoor adventure with meaningful volunteerism.

    “The rafting experience helped us to become acclimated to the Alaskan wilderness,” explained Bill Mains, Leavey School of Business leadership lecturer and primary coordinator for the excursion. “It gave us a better understanding and appreciation of the resources that were all around us.”

    From the river, the SCU group embarked on the second leg of the trip—meeting Alaskans, including business leaders, university faculty, government officials, and environmentalists—to introduce the idea of bringing renewable energy to the state’s rural communities. 

    “Many Alaskans today are dependent on fossil fuels; much of their energy comes from burning wood and diesel fuel,” said Mains. “They might spend $8 to $12 a gallon on diesel, so there’s quite a bit of interest in creating sustainable energy sources.”

    The SCU group included faculty and students from the Leavey School of Business and from the School of Engineering. Also co-sponsoring the 15-day immersion trip was the Center for Science, Technology, and Society. Two film students from Hero Projects documented the trip.

    Mains emphasized the importance of community building before asking people to make a change as significant as switching to a new form of energy. “Any small town is going to be a little suspicious of unknown people approaching them,” he noted, “but the local meetings we had helped to demonstrate our commitment.”

    The outreach efforts eventually led to the town of Galena, population 600, and the site of a former Air Force base. In September, just two months after returning from Alaska, Mains traveled back to Galena to further discuss SCU’s role in bringing renewable energy to the town. Next summer, he’ll return with another group in hopes they can begin work on an actual installation. Within this group, engineering students could be involved in designing the project, he said, while business students could help the community understand the economics of it.

    One engineering student, Theo Schapp, plans to be among those revisiting Alaska next year. He and another student, Elliott Martin, are working on a senior design project that could have implications for remote, off-grid areas. Their idea involves generating energy from hydrokinetics or the natural motion of water through waves, tidal streams or ocean and river currents.

    Schapp acknowledges that bringing such a system anywhere in Alaska will involve many more trips and in-depth community involvement. “With any project, you can’t just go on one trip and expect to be implementing something the next year,” he said. “It takes time to build trust; we would work as a resource to help communities achieve their own goals.”

    Shoba Krishnan, an associate professor of electrical engineering, is advising the two seniors and working with Mains on cultivating SCU’s alliance with Hero Projects. As the instructor of a course called Engineering Projects for the Community, she said the Alaska energy program is right up her alley. “I like projects that help local people continue their way of life without radically involving them in Westernized practices standards that could be unhealthy for them and their environment,” she explained.

    Mains is equally well-suited to the Alaska project. As a co-leader of the business school’s CLASP (Contemplative Leadership and Sustainability) program, he arranges student activities and service trips related to sustainable development.

    Among those students who went on the first immersion trip to Alaska, Mains said their feedback was heartening. “For many of them, it was an eye-opening experience. They have a better understanding of what it means to develop a sustainable product.”

    Schapp noted similarities between the SCU travelers and the people they met. “Nobody is on the outside when we’re all pushing for the health of the environment,” he said. As for rafting down the Nenana River, “It showed me what Alaska is really like, how strong and vast a force nature truly is. It helped me realize that I am just one person in this world of many, and that in order for me to make a difference, I have to push harder than I thought.”

  •  Markkula MOOC

    Santa Clara University joins the world of open online education with the premiere of a business ethics course exploring the common and difficult decisions that confront professionals. This course will explore such daily dilemmas as pressure from management to falsify reports, resume white lies, and bullying rivals to get ahead.

    Partnering with the new Instructure open online platform Canvas Network, Kirk O. Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at SCU, will teach Business Ethics for the Real World. The network is another outlet for the growing popularity of massive open online courses or MOOCs. The idea is anyone with Internet access can enroll in courses taught by some of the brightest minds in the world.

    “We look forward to pioneering the MOOC concept both for Santa Clara and for the topic of business ethics,” says Hanson. “We can give the public a feel for the quality of education Santa Clara University students receive every day. We’re also thrilled the ethical framework we developed at the Markkula Center will be highlighted.”

    While MOOCs have primarily focused on math and science, Business Ethics for the Real World will explore the role of ethics in business and offer practical advice on making decisions in the work place.

    “This course is more than a standard lesson in business. It is driven by what we have learned from tackling real ethical issues with Silicon Valley companies. Anyone from San Jose to Shanghai can participate in the ethical dialogue taking place in Silicon Valley,” says Hanson.

    While the course includes some ethical theory, it is designed to be approachable by anyone from the seasoned manager to someone just beginning a career. The course is the first of several being planned at Santa Clara. Future MOOC’s will address areas of SCU’s special expertise, including social entrepreneurship.

    Enrollment will be limited to 500 people for the pilot course running Feb. 25 to March 25, 2013. The University and Instructure are hoping to launch classes with unlimited enrollment after the pilot. Ten other schools, including Brown University, are participating in the initial course offerings. Enrollment is open now on

  •  Take Five

    David Popalisky is a professor of dance history, modern dance, and choreography. Popalisky has choreographed, performed, and taught throughout the United States, Central America, and Asia. He is currently choreographing and preparing students for the annual Images performance in February. Many of Popalisky’s choreographic works deal with social justice issues like his “Barred from Life” collaboration with the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) to bring attention to wrongful imprisonment. This summer, he led 14 students on a 225-mile journey from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park.

    1. In spring you taught the course
    Walk Across California. Were you happy with how this project turned out and do you have plans to take a similar journey next year?

    I was very excited about how my Walk Across California course turned out. Last June the students came together as a group to have fun and work to respect every walk member, no matter what major or traditional student group they came from. The challenge of the walk took its daily toll and everyone was there for each other with a pick-up snack, some extra foot tape, encouragement to hang in there, or a song to pass the time. We met incredible Californians like Fr. Dean in Stockton, Calif. who introduced us to the brave and struggling members in his community. We also met farm workers who shared their stories of working the fields and Miwok Indian elders who spoke of connecting their pasts with the present. Arriving in Yosemite and witnessing the students’ artistic reflections on the trip was so powerful. Using poems, songs, drawings, and photos each described the journey and its personal meaning with Half Dome draped with pine trees as our backdrop. Incredible! The walk staff included Rebekah Bloyd, Edward Rooks, and Diana Bustos who were the charts in every way. I am hopeful to repeat this class and trip in June of 2014.

    2. You just came back from the DUMBO (Down Under Manhatten Bridge Overpass) Dance Festival in New York. How is the art and culture scene different there then it is in California?

    In NYC there is art everyday almost everywhere. DUMBO Dance Festival was one part of a huge, community-wide, indoor, and outdoor performance scene located in Brooklyn. In California there is an equally diverse art scene, it is just more spread out in place and time. I was thrilled that so many SCU alums made the trek to Brooklyn to see my dance—a considerable effort that New Yorkers take in stride as they embrace the vitality of that metropolis. In both shows that included my dance the theatre had overflowing audiences—can’t beat that.

    3. What SCU projects are you working on now? (Any that faculty and staff can attend and help with?)

    My current project is a new dance and theatre work on the theme of Futurism, an early 20th century artistic movement, in collaboration with Jeff Bracco, my theatre colleague. We are working with SCU student dancers and actors to get this show ready for Images ’13 in early February. Hope to see everyone there.

    4. How has technology changed the dance industry? (Ex: YouTube, Life Forms, Flip Cameras, etc.)

    Any dance choreographer who wants to have a successful, live presence in a theatre needs a sophisticated web presence as well. Choreographers need to know how to film, edit, and package their very best work in short excerpts to attract potential audiences. A plus side of technology is that a much wider audience is witnessing dance through the web. On the negative side, audience’s patience and focus on the real time takes for a sophisticated live dance performance to unfold is being challenged. But the technical possibilities for creating dance specifically for projection (ex: from iPad to film) are unlimited and really fun. All this is part of the inevitable evolution of a vibrant art form that celebrates and reveals the truly miraculous human body.

    5. What is your favorite Bay Area venue for performances?

    There are many but I particularly like to see touring dance companies at the Yerba Buena Novellus Theatre in SF. This medium size theatre allows choreographers great flexibility on stage and all seats in the house are relatively close, creating an intimate experience with the performers. I regularly take students in my dance classes to this theatre and at times performers that I know, like Bill T. Jones, come out after and speak with our group.

  •  Bobby Seale

    On Thursday, Nov. 1, Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale spoke to campus in a program sponsored by the Unity RLC, Provost’s Office, Igwebuike, and the Office for Mulitcultural Learning. Check out a video of the speech and a wrap-up of his comments by Santa Clara Magazine.

  •  Making SCU Look Good

    The SCU Media Relations team would like to thank the faculty and staff who are flexible with their time to help us meet the requests of reporters. A strong relationship with the media propels our reputation as a world-class university with articulate and well-respected leaders. We encourage you to reach out to us at with your story ideas and areas of expertise if you would like to speak with reporters.

    Print Feature:

    Elsa Chen (Political Science) wrote an oped that ran in the San Jose Mercury News about why Prop 36 to amend the state’s “Three Strikes” Law would save money and increase fairness.





    Broadcast Feature:

    Robert Hendershott (Finance) appeared on ABC7 discussing the impact on Facebook stock when the company's IPO lockup period ends.


    For a list of all SCU faculty and staff media mentions, visit SCU in the News.

  •  Grants, Awards and Publications

    Tim Myers (English) published a full-length poetry book entitled Dear Beast Loveliness. He also won the 2012 Magazine Merit Award for Fiction from the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.

    Tom Plante (Psychology), David Feldman (Counseling Psychology), Shauna Shapiro (Counseling Psychology), and Diane Dreher (English) all wrote chapters in the book Religion, Spirituality, and Positive Psychology: Understanding the Psychological Fruits of Faith.

    The Santa Clara, the University’s student-run weekly newspaper, won a 2012 Newspaper Pacemaker award. Judges commented “the paper is superbly organized with fine typography and relevant stories for readers, direct, clear, and sometimes with an appropriate dose of humor.”

    Hohyun Lee (Mechanical Engineering) has received $15,000 from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to support “"Phase Change Material in Automated Window Shades.”"

  •  En Garde SCU!

    Watching men wearing knee-high leather boots and throwing swords across the room feels like stepping into the days of Louis XIII. But this is just a typical day in Stage Combat, a special course that takes students back to a time when conflict was dealt with by nothing but a face-to-face test of skill and swords.

    Kit Wilder ’89 is currently teaching the Stage Combat class in SCU’s Department of Theatre and Dance, helping prepare actors for roles in the upcoming production of The Three Musketeers and encouraging some non-majors to channel their inner 8-year-old while learning the intricacies of stage fighting.

    Wilder held his first sword in a 1982 community theater production of Romeo and Juliet and it was love at first parry. Wilder is now the associate artistic director of City Lights Theater Company in San Jose and makes his living acting, directing, and teaching stage combat to students across the Bay Area. 

    “When I first held a sword it was like my hand belonged to it and it belonged to my hand,” said Wilder.

    Wilder personally owns about 50 swords and 18 from his collection are being used in The Three Musketeers which opens this Friday, Nov. 2. The swords are real but are made specifically for actors and do not have sharp blades or points. That doesn’t mean there aren’t elements of danger. Even in practice the students do not wear protective eyewear like fencers, though they are taught various safety guidelines.

    Wilder’s students are essentially getting a year’s worth of stage combat training in eight weeks. 

    “The best way to learn sword fighting is by doing it, experience is the best teacher,” explained Wilder. 

    To successfully execute a stage fight everything is choreographed, almost like a dance. Wilder explained that the key to stage fighting is that it unfolds in reverse. For example, students are instructed to wait for a partner to dodge before swinging. Precautionary techniques are what make combat safe, yet convincing, on stage. 

    “That’s the challenging part; we have to remember that it’s not real, we are not actually trying to run someone through,” said James Hill ’13, a senior communication major.

    The class was open to both theater majors and non-majors, and there is a good representation of both in the class. Students not majoring in theater arts gain a good party trick. For actors participating in the many fight scenes in The Three Musketeers, this class provides familiarity with the play’s weaponry and choreography. Stage Combat also teaches techniques that won’t be featured in the show but are great for an actor’s resume.

    Wilder has directed fights in other SCU productions, including Macbeth in 2010. Wilder also attended SCU with The Three Musketeers director Jeffrey Bracco ’89. They first collaborated—and even shared a fight scene—as students in a 1988 campus production of Romeo and Juliet with Wilder as Mercutio and Bracco playing Romeo. Now, they are working together to choreograph fights and prepare actors for The Three Musketeers.

    “To see Kit and Jeff come back together and work on the same show is great because it really shows the power of Santa Clara’s alumni network,” said Alec Brown ’13, a theater arts major and actor in The Three Musketeers.

    The Stage Combat course is offered this quarter to complement The Three Musketeers performance, but the theater department is considering offering the training more often. While some consider it a resume-builder, many see it as a creative outlet and childhood fantasy fulfillment. 

    “It essentially allows you to get in touch with another time which innately brings out a sense of romance and danger, which both audiences and actors secretly love,” said Wilder.

    The Three Musketeers runs Nov. 2 through Nov. 10. Tickets are on sale on

  •  Abstract Adornment: New Jewelry Exhibit at the de Saisset

     The de Saisset Museum is best known for art exhibits that highlight the diversity of Northern California’s past, present, and future. An exhibit this fall pushes viewers in a completely different direction- forcing visitors to reconsider the nature and beauty of adornment in a provocative and intriguing way. 

    Guest curated by Melissa Behravesh, Jeweled Prosthetics: Jewelry as an Extension of Self features sculpture and photography by Lauren Kalman and Catherine Grisez that questions what is traditionally considered beautiful, and encourages viewers to consider how they adorn themselves. 

    Behravesh first decided to curate this exhibition in 2009, originally thinking she would feature the work of several artists. She quickly changed her mind after some research, choosing to only feature Kalman and Grisez because of the balance and the sense of play that their work evokes.

    “The work isn’t easy but it’s well made, well-thought-out work that lives beyond the body,” said Behravesh.

    Not only is the work difficult to make, it’s difficult to wear. Kalman’s “Hard Wear” series features gold and pearl mouthpieces and various gilded face accouterments with photos revealing the drool and tears of the wearers. Kalman further probes the idea of adornment with exaggerated gold orbs tucked into cheeks, behind ears, and between fingers where conventional jewelry is often placed.

    Grisez also plays with the idea of adornment, but her works deal more with the beautification of wounds—pink beads pouring from slit wrists and stop watches spilling out of scarred heels. Though the exhibit explores adornment and jewelry, none of the pieces appear influenced by any recognizable fashion trends. “You don’t really realize what you’re looking at and then, when you do, your throat catches and after it’s frightening, you start to notice the beauty,” said Grisez. 

    The de Saisset student staff has an ongoing debate as to which part of the exhibit and accompanying video is toughest to watch. That's a response definitely intended by the artist.

    “It’s all about me putting something out in the world to make people think differently, even if they turn away in disgust. Sometimes we need that in our everyday lives,” said Grisez.

    Curating the exhibition wasn’t easy either. Behravesh has worked in the Bay Area for several years but is currently living in Kansas City. Kalman is based in Detroit and Grisez in Seattle, making Jeweled Prosthetics a tri-city effort to bring these works to Santa Clara.

    Despite the challenges, the exhibit has generated positive responses and has people talking around campus.

    “If you look at the work and see the power behind it, it is beautiful even if it is uncomfortable, especially since it’s not what we usually associate with jewelry,” said Behravesh.

    Jeweled Prosthetics: Jewelry as an Extension of Self will be featured at the de Saisset until Sunday, Dec. 2. 

  •  What's Your Brand?

     In a new twist on the “Brand You” trend of personal brand marketing, Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business is offering all incoming freshmen classes, workshops, and guidance in personal brand management, to start their college and professional lives off on the right foot.

    Dubbed “SCUBrand4U,” the program involves reaching out to all freshmen business students to help them successfully transition from high school to college to career. 

    “This personal branding initiative is a natural extension of our business curriculum and commitment to educating our students as whole people,” said Leavey School of Business Dean S. Andrew Starbird. “We believe it will give Santa Clara students a definite advantage when they graduate and begin their life after college.

    Led by longtime business and communication professor Buford Barr, the program aims to keep students focused all four years of college on those elements that make up a positive personal brand: reputation, images on social media sites, and personal conduct.

    The program arose out of a popular new-student orientation workshop given by Barr. 

    “My 30 years in the corporate world convinced me that students who excel in these ‘softer’ facets of their lives are going to be far more competitive in the job market, even more than students with better GPAs,” said Barr. “And while establishing your personal brand can be pretty simple, if you start early, in this Facebook/Twitter age, it’s shockingly easy to degrade your personal brand as well. That’s why we are focused on students just out of high school.”

    The new program starts with the transition from high school to college and will include an initial personal brand exercise, based on the work of the late Silicon Valley PR icon Fred Hoar. During the exercise, students will be asked to create a “value statement” for themselves, answering what qualities, accomplishments, and strengths differentiate them from others, and what they have to offer employers. Faculty and Career Center staff will also provide advice to students during their stay at SCU.

    The first workshop held in the Dunne Hall student residence Oct. 18, asked students to consider “Are you Apple or Zynga?” Students will work on understanding personal branding and how to evolve their brand value as they progress through college, internships, and the job search.

    The new program is expected to include seminars for the transition from college to career, job search techniques, creating a resume that gets attention, and interview preparation.

  •  Making SCU Look Good

     The SCU Media Relations team would like to thank the faculty and staff who are flexible with their time and help us meet the requests of reporters. A strong relationship with the media propels our reputation as a world-class university with articulate and respected leaders. We encourage you to reach out to us at with your story ideas and areas of expertise if you would like to speak with reporters.

    Print Feature:

    Thomas Massaro, S.J., (JST) wrote an op-ed for National Catholic Reporter on the 50th Anniversary of Vatican II and its lasting importance.







    TV Feature:  

    Assistant Professor Chris Bacon (Environmental Studies) and several SCU students were featured in a Spanish-language news report on Telemundo about the second presidential debate watch party.




    For a list of all SCU faculty and staff media mentions, visit SCU in the News.


  •  SCU Celebrates Sustainability with Food Day

    Hundreds of Students checked out the Sustainability Fair on Food Day Oct. 24, 2012 at Santa Clara University. Want to know how SCU students and faculty are working toward a sustainable future? Do you know what Food Day is?  Watch to find out!

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