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fyi Exclusive: SCU's New Vice President of University Relations
After four weeks on the job, Rob Gunsalus sits down with fyi to tell us how he's adjusting to Santa Clara University.
How are you adjusting to the Bay Area?
Great. My family and I wanted to locate to the Bay Area. We absolutely love it and all that it has to offer.
What do you see as a difference between SCU and other universities?
One difference is the intentional way Santa Clara lives out the conscience and compassion component of its mission. Most, probably all, universities focus on making their graduates competent. Santa Clara graduates are more than competent. They learn at SCU how to look at the world, their jobs, their neighborhoods, and themselves, through the additional lenses of conscience and compassion.
What do you like most about SCU?
In addition to its mission, it’s a well-run organization. SCU is blessed with exceptional leaders such as Fr. Engh, the vice presidents, and I’m finding that organizational strength extends throughout the campus. Santa Clara also seems to have an esprit de corps and camaraderie that is encouraging.
What is/are your biggest challenge(s) this year?
The biggest challenge is to live up to the expectations alumni and students have for the University and the expectations of the University’s emerging strategic plan. The level of philanthropic support will help determine how fast and how far we build on the mission of Santa Clara, and of course, that support depends on SCU’s strong reputation that has been earned over the years by our faculty and graduates. So, ensuring that SCU’s reputation is known and fully appreciated beyond the campus or local community will be another important challenge.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m an embarrassingly rabid Oklahoma Sooner fan. I grew up in Oklahoma, so I grew up a Sooner. [Editor’s note: As a University of Texas graduate, I couldn’t help but question whether I could be a fair and accurate writer. Then, I realized that holding onto my job was important to me.]
How do you relax and relieve stress?
Spending time with my family and playing with my children. They’re 8, 7, and 4 so I get to enjoy many impromptu recitals, dramatic performances, and of course the occasional wrestling match.
How do you feel about social media?
Social media are remarkable facilitators for social interaction. For example, the new students arrived already familiar with each other. They met during summer orientation, but that introduction was augmented by social media. And certainly it can be a powerful tool for learning. On the other side though, it can also drain precious time away, diminish the depth of personal relationships, and as Fr. Engh quoted in his convocation speech, it can contribute to the “globalization of superficiality.”
I do have a Facebook account, but I use it mostly to find contact information or to find old friends. I don’t have a Twitter account, but since I now live in the Silicon Valley, maybe I will get one. I watch videos on YouTube but don’t post them, and I’m on Linkedin.
Anything else you want people to know about you?
I’m genuinely delighted to be here and to be a part of the University. I look forward to celebrating new achievements with the SCU community.