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Remembering 100 Years of History

Law school alumnus Rob Boyd walked around from between Bannan Hall and Bannan Building to the front of Bannan Laboratories in traditional Scottish garb to practice his bagpipe tune. Some passing students looked on quizzically as they passed by, noticing the large line of faculty in their academic robes and Boyd in his kilt.

Boyd began his song, and the unique sound of the bagpipes rang out across campus. He marched under the tree outside Bannan Hall, with the law school’s faculty trailing him, two by two. The special guests and dignitaries joined the end of the line, led there by President Michael Engh, S.J., and Law School Dean Don Polden.

Their procession continued up the main avenue, toward the cross and Mission Church, before turning right to navigate between the rose garden and O’Connor Hall. Finally, the group made it to the Mayer Theater and filed in to take their seats for the convocation, the beginning of Santa Clara University School of Law’s centennial celebration.

The first law class was held in September 1911, and the school has plans for this entire school year, leading up to a reunion and gala in September 2011.

Dean Polden opened the convocation by pointing out that, at the law school’s opening, the one-time matriculation fee was a whopping $15, while room, board, and tuition totaled around $200. Fourteen men graduated from that initial class in June 1914, and now the school has graduated more than 10,000 men and women of diverse backgrounds and perspectives as “Lawyers Who Lead.” Professor Emeritus Paul Goda, S.J., pointed out that he has “only” been involved with the law school for 41 years. He proceeded to have some good-natured fun with the lioness of the school, Mary Emery, the first female graduate of the law school and associate dean.

Associate Dean for Student Affairs Cynthia Mertens mused on the growth and changes over the 35 years she has been with the school, specifically remembering the 1980s when three teachers applied for one computer and the wheeled table on which to push it around.

After the SCU Chamber Singers closed the proceedings, a reception began outdoors. Dean Polden called the event fabulous and said that the years’ celebrations would serve to “honor the past and plan for the future.” Associate Dean Emery, optimistic after a half century with SCU Law, said that she sees “nothing but greatness in our future.”

Watch a slide show of the convocation.



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