Santa Clara University

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The Faculty-Staff Newsletter, e-mail edition
Santa Clara University, October 1, 2007, Vol. 8, No. 2

Fr. Dan Germann, S.J.: A life lived in the service of others

Fr. Germann had been a Jesuit for 57 years, 34 years an ordained priest. He was born in Los Angeles on November 9, 1929. He graduated from Loyola High School, attended Loyola University and the Los Angeles Junior Seminary, and entered the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos on August 14, 1950. He came to Santa Clara in 1970.

In addition to holding a faculty position in the religious studies department, Fr. Germann was also a founder of the Eastside Project, which became the Arrupe Partnerships, and is now a major part of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education. The project was established to mutually benefit SCU and San Jose’s Eastside neighborhood. It brought the concern for social justice firmly within the University's curriculum, giving students a chance to learn from and develop relationships with people most in need. The project also resulted in many community-based learning sites at schools, parishes, and agencies across Silicon Valley.

Recognizing his 25 years of service to SCU and his lifelong commitment to faith and justice, the University created The Daniel V. Germann, S.J. Endowed Fund for Ministry and Community Engagement, intended to support the University’s internship programs and immersion trips.

“Dan was known and loved by generations of Santa Clara students. His gentleness, humor, patience and understanding made him a Jesuit who had a profound influence upon Santa Clara students, faculty, staff, and alumni,” said Robert Senkewicz, professor of history at SCU. “He transformed a traditional ‘chaplain’s’ office into an inclusive and inviting campus ministry office, which was marked by collaboration between clergy and laity, openness to a variety of religious traditions, and an emphasis on liturgy and worship as an expression of the community’s genuine concerns. Dan developed the retreat program at Santa Clara University, and he was instrumental in making the mission church available to students, faculty, staff, and alumni for weddings, baptisms, and other sacraments,” Senkewicz said.

Not only was Fr. Germann well known for having officiated at more weddings, funerals and baptisms than any other Jesuit priest on the Santa Clara campus, he also created a program that now allows SCU alumni to carry on the mission of the university after they graduate. “Dan has a rich and deep legacy at Santa Clara,” said Jim Purcell, vice president for university relations at SCU. “He started the Alumni for Others program, which gives SCU alums a vehicle for helping the needy in Silicon Valley and allows them to carry out the University’s mission of making the world a better place even after they graduate.”