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A Testimony to the Collaborative Nature of the Ignation Center

Santa Clara University said goodbye last month to one of the Ignation Center’s key players. During his 11 years at SCU, Associate Director Paul Woolley helped make what the Ignation Center for Jesuit Education is today.

Woolley joined SCU in January of 1999 as assistant director of the then Bannan Center. In 2005, he was an instrumental player in the merger of the Bannan Center and Arrupe Center, creating the Ignation Center. Woolley is credited with building the center’s user-friendly website, improving the journal Explore, and directing the staff reflection series. Woolley went above and beyond what was expected of him in his role and reached out to others across campus.

“I met him as the Northern California Innocence Project was just getting started. He contacted us, and offered to help,” said Kathleen “Cookie” Ridolfi, executive director of Northern California Innocence Project. “We knew how to be lawyers, but we didn’t know how to be an organization. And Paul came in and basically put the structure in there for us. So, we’re forever indebted to him.”

“I’ll miss Paul’s willingness to do whatever needs to be done whenever it needs to be done,” said Laurie Laird, associate director of the Ignation Center for Jesuit Education.

“I’m going to miss his honesty. I always felt that I could have real conversations with him, and I appreciated that,” said Matt Smith, campus minister.

Dozens of people stopped by Woolley’s retirement party before the holiday break to wish him the best of luck. Woolley was humble, though, saying the crowd was just a testimony to the collaborative nature of the work he did.

“Our work has been magnified tenfold because of the people we work with on campus. These people have all worked with us on the projects that we’ve done at what was then the Bannan Center. It’s really been a joy and pleasure,”

Woolley doesn’t have any major plans as of yet. He’s planning to swim and exercise every day at the YMCA, and then he’s off to a 17-day Mediterranean cruise in April.

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