Fr. Coz Blog
Read comments from students who were touched by his legacy, along with posts from Fr. Coz and Fr. Engh.
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Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2012
Please join us on Sunday, May 20th for a Mass and BBQ in celebration of Fr. Coz’s legacy. With your generosity, the Fr. Coz Scholarship has continued to grow and as of April, we have raised over $710,000.
We hope you will be able to join us for this year’s Pause for Coz event. In addition to meeting next year’s scholarship recipients this year’s celebration is a family friendly event where there will be a host of activities for all ages.
Location: Alumni Park, Santa Clara University
Time: Mass begins at 10:30 followed by a BBQ
Tuesday, Apr. 19, 2011
Fr. Coz was more than a mentor, he was our friend. While in school, he was the unofficial mascot of the rugby team (as opposed to now being the ruggers' Patron Saint), he was a staunch supporter of the "Blitzin' Redeyes" who went 55-1 over 4 years and never practiced, and, of course, he was the first to call if anyone was ever in need. In the years since graduating, he married many of us, baptized our babies and, as with many, kept in touch with his wise counsel and sense of humor. We included Cozzie in many of our functions over the years.
One evening in 2009 at our annual Tahoe get together the subject of the “Pause for Coz” fund came up. By the end of the night, $10,000 was raised in honor Padre. We will all miss him and are very happy that he is getting the recognition that he deserves. Richard (note that we called him by many names; he was one of the guys...) had this tremendous ability to touch so many people and make them feel special. A great man. We all miss him.
Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011
Earlier this week, I asked several fellow alumnus and close friends of Father Coz, to offer their perspectives on what he has meant to them.
As expected, the responses alluded to Father Coz’s conservative Republican view, his daily viewing of the Fox News Channel, and the fact that his political views were under-represented and under-appreciated at the Jesuit Center.
But to a person they all pointed to a deeper side to Father Coz:
Marte Formico said “Father Coz was a spiritual guide. One who really loved his students at Santa Clara University...He was a priest who really connected with people.”
Paul Neilan reminded me that Father Coz was the inspiration and driving force behind the Studies Abroad program in Durham, England. Paul said Father Coz really knew how to communicate with his students and fondly recalled Father Coz teaching the theories of Supply and Demand… for pizza and beer.
To Steve Erbst, Father Coz was the conduit by which he met many wonderful people from Santa Clara. To this day when Steve meets fellow graduates he invariably asks them 2 questions: What was your major and did you know Father Coz? To Steve, Father Coz has been a common denominator that helped transform and develop long lasting relationships.
Bucky Canales poignantly wrote: “Fr. Coz was a great friend and a true shepherd. He was everything that a Jesuit and Priest should be - loyal, caring, challenging, open to listening, forgiving, supportive, and a shepherd in the truest sense of the word. He kept an eye on his flock long after it had moved on to new pastures and was always there when WE came home to seek comfort.”
Father Coz was all of this and more. And yes, he loved to tell stories. He usually started his stories with “stop me if I have told you this story before.” Never waiting for a response. He loved telling stories about his childhood, going to college in North Carolina, traveling the world, taming the freshman in McLaughlin Hall and his Navy adventures.
Looking back, Father Coz clearly was first and foremost a Jesuit Priest which he loved more than anything else. He loved his vocation, took his vows seriously and lived them fully.
The things he did for us: Taking photographs at football, soccer and rugby games, intramural sporting events, running the Kairos retreats at De La Salle, sending out Christmas Cards, presiding over countless marriages & baptisms, and traveling to Fresno on weekends to say mass… All of these things that he willingly did for us was done to fulfill his life-long commitment to Jesus Christ. And he did it proudly as a Jesuit Priest. That was the foundation upon which he built his life and lived his life.
Father Coz was never judgmental (Although, occasionally he would rip a liberal politician…and for good reason). Father Coz was a compassionate, forgiving and loving person. Yet, for all of his work, he never asked for anything in return.
But, as the saying goes, you reap what you sow. Father Coz sowed the seeds of Christianity from the day he became a Jesuit Priest in 1958 until his passing last week. As a result since his retirement in 2007 he was able to reap the fruits of his work.
On holidays, friends would have him over for dinner. On his birthday and on St. Patrick’s Day you’d find Father Coz surrounded by friends at CB Hannigan’s.
Routinely, countless friends would provide him with computer equipment & software, lunches, dinners, visits, letters, phone calls and e-mails.
Further proof of Father Coz’s far reaching support, is the hugely successful Pause for Coz Scholarship Fund, spearheaded by Steve Erbst. Through the generosity of 330 families many of whom are here tonight the fund now exceeds $550,000 and continues to grow. This Fund will help ensure that Fr. Coz’s legacy continues at Santa Clara University.
Yes, Father Coz has benefited greatly by so many people in so many ways. Yet, in the end he has given us much more than he ever received.
With his passing, the biggest honor we can now bestow upon him is to continue in his footsteps and help others in need in the same way that he has helped us.
Father Coz will be missed by everyone here tonight, but the fond memories he has left behind in his wake will not be forgotten. May God bless you Father Coz!
Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011
Good evening. I am Bob Ladouceur from De La Salle High School. I have worked with and known Fr. Coz the past 11 years.
This has been a painful time for me. Many of you have known Coz much longer than I have, and I envy that. I became acquainted with Coz the last part of his life. I have often heard it said that ‘things happen for a reason” ---whether we like it or not. I’m not sure if I fully agree with that statement, however, when it comes to my relationship with Coz, I believe it’s true. Coz came into my life during the time I lost both of my parents. I wasn’t searching for a new parental role model, but in some way shape or form he became exactly that for me. So when I lost Coz, I felt like I lost another parent. Yet, what makes it even more painful, I understand I lost so much more. I lost my priest, friend, colleague, confidant, sage, and without a doubt, my comedic foil.
I have lived in the Bay Area for 46 years; worked at De La Salle for 32. This is the second time I’ve been to this campus. Yet, through my association with Coz, I feel like I am an alumnus of this school. Through meeting many of you, and listening to the countless Coz stories of the experiences he had with all of you; I know it was here where he spent the best years of his life and where his presence was most vivid.
Whether you lived with him in dorms, was a student in Cozanomics, traveled abroad with him, having him there to witness and participate in your rugby antics, married you, baptized your children, attended your family gathering and parties (and God knows he loved a good party), or simply shared a meal with him (and God knows that man loved a good meal); in short, wherever we encountered Coz, the force was with him, we felt his presence. I often wondered: what is it about this man that makes his presence so different? For me, it can be best summed up in a story he told me 6 years ago when we worked a retreat together. He told of a young, rebellious Santa Clara student that lived in the dorm where Coz was the Resident Advisor. Coz would call him a hell-raiser which means loud, obnoxious, and abrasive. What concerned Coz most was that he was even having trouble relating to his own peers. So Coz worked with him. One evening, while Coz and his student were discussing the existence of God, which he was questioning, he made this statement to Coz: he said, “If there is a God, I know that he likes me.” Coz asked him back, “How do you know that?” And his answer to Coz was, “Because you like me.” This boy gave Coz the highest compliment one person could give to another. He probably didn’t even realize it. I don’t think Coz realized it. When he told me the story, he was trying to make some other crazy point. But the bottom line is this student got it almost right. The truth is God loved him because Coz loved him. This is what Coz’s presence felt like to me. And I’m assuming it’s true for most of you; if not all of you.
I know there have been a lot of holy men and saints that have walked this earth. I had never had the chance to meet one, much less walk with one, work with one, laugh with one---til Fr. Coz. What was it that made him so? His physical appearance didn’t give him away. They say God comes to us in many different forms. I never thought he would appear to me as a cross between Yoda and Mr. Magoo. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell him so since he considered me, and every male that walked the face of the earth, ugly—except himself. And you know what, Coz was Coz—perfect. His snow white hair, awesome blue eyes, big ears, wry smile, sausage fingers, and jovial chuckle. He was beautiful. It was the beauty that emanated from inside of him that made him so. Put simply, the man loved people and loved life. That’s where his God dwelt. I sometimes tried to lure Coz into some theological debates, but he never took the bait. I wanted his take on the existence of God, life eternal, the divinity of Jesus---he wouldn’t play.
He probably thought I was a pompous fool, because for him, his theology was simple and clear. He saw God every day, everywhere, and in everything he did. He saw God in His gift of Earth. He chronicled it through his love of photography and cared for it through his love of flowers and gardening. And what’s most important, he saw God in you and he saw God in me. He saw God in everyone. Young, old, rich, poor, black, white, brown, whole or broken; it didn’t matter to him; we were all children of God. Coz took that knowledge seriously and he approached us all with respect, care, concern, love and service. He was a true disciple of Christ.
To sum up my relationship with Coz, on December 23, I sat with Coz for a long time and I knew he was declining rapidly. It was time for me to go and I was fearful I wouldn’t see him again. I told him I’d be back real soon. He told me not to worry about him and if I can’t make it, it will be ok. I said, “Coz, I’m not coming down here out of charity or obligation to you.” I said, “I come down here for me.” He laughed and said, “In that case, ok.” I love that man.
I want to thank Fr. John Previtt and the entire Sacred Heart Jesuit community. The care and concern you give to each other is astounding and sacramental.
You always made me feel welcomed and a part of your family. Father John, thank you for taking care of Coz and God Bless the work you do.
Tonight we celebrate the life of Father Coz. He would want us to be happy and raise a glass in his memory. But let’s first thank God for showing His love for us by sending this wonderful servant and priest, Father Coz, into our lives.
Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010
Fr. Coz Challenge: Double the impact of your gift.
In honor of Dickey Hanley '81, an anonymous Fr. Coz supporter has pledged to match any gift made before January 31, 2011 to the Fr. Coz Scholarship (up to a total of $10,000).
Thank you for your support of Santa Clara
Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
Dear Alumni/Friends of Fr. Coz:
I hope this note finds everyone well and you are enjoying the Holiday Season. As you probably know, Father Coz has not been well and I wanted to provide you with an update on his health. He recently spent 10 days in the hospital due to bleeding from prostate cancer. He was on Coumadin for his heart condition, which contributed to the bleeding. During his hospitalization it was discovered the cancer had spread to his bones and one of his lungs. Because of this latest episode of bleeding, which required him to receive blood transfusions, Fr. Coz is no longer able to take Coumadin which could result in a greater risk for a another stroke or even a heart attack. Even through all of this news, Fr. Coz still maintains his sense of humor and wit...one of the many reasons why we all love him so dearly.
I am writing this note so you will all keep the Padre in your thoughts and prayers. In addition, I encourage you to visit him at the Los Gatos Novitiate as he is still able to receive visitors and is heartened by the company. While no one can predict the outcome of his condition, Father Coz is certainly someone I am thankful for not only during the Holidays, but everyday of my life that he is with us. We will toast to Fr. Coz on April 16, 2011 at the 5th Annual Pause for Coz Celebration and hope you will be able to join us as well.
I will try to keep everyone updated regarding Father's condition via this blog as well as via Scott Asher's Facebook page under "Pause for Coz". Please pass along this information to others as we continue to honor a "Living Legacy".
Feel free to contact me directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or 650-520-5062.
Steve Erbst ’88 & Family
Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010
Recently, some alumni have mentioned that they thought that administrators forced me to leave SCU. Not the case. When you hit 70, you'll probably understand my thinking. At 70, you begin thinking: are you giving your students what a younger teacher could give them? I figured that the students deserved new ideas and if I were to be useable in any job, I would have to act before I got any older. I decided on high school teaching.
That was more of a change than I had thought. I had taught freshman Latin and English at Bellarmine 1954-55 and I loved it. I had an offer to teach freshman religion and "Ethics in our Economic Life" to Brophy seniors and I took it. I wrote the text for the ethics course. I enjoyed the whole experience, but my big mouth got me in trouble. (When I was about four years old, I was riding in my grandfather's big black touring car – with running boards, little vases between the doors, etc. I was actually standing next to my grandfather who was driving and like 4 year olds, I was talking incessantly. Finally, my grandfather said, "My God, Dick, you have a big mouth." When I was in the 8th grade, I spent time in front of the mirror wondering if my features had grown to fit my mouth. But when the new administration at Brophy asked the faculty for its honest evaluation, I gave it and I came to understand that I do have a big mouth.)
I searched for a new job. When I called Brother Tom Westburgh, the principal at De La Salle, he said, "You know, we know each other." Bro. Tom was the cousin of my old girl friend. When I got out of the navy, she was a senior at Holy Names and at graduation she took a job teaching in Guam. Anyway, I was at DLS for nine years. I was going to explain my leaving SCU. Some other time!..
Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010
By being here today and contributing to the Pause for Coz scholarship, these alums and friends show their gratitude for your legacy at Santa Clara. I join them in thanking you for all you have done for the Santa Clara family over the years.
For more than three decades you served our students as professor, mentor, photographer, and all-around SCU booster. You built long-lasting bonds with students and alumni that few can match. You inspired them in their studies and in their sports. And you have motivated them to do what we ask of all our graduates – to give back to the community in ways that serve others in need.
The scholarship fund in your name helps students in need. Students like Colin Niedemeyer, Kathryn Duyne, and Michael Calcagno will one day be leaders in our businesses, in our communities, and in our world.
With over $400,000 raised in four years, from 260 individual donors, and from 32 corporations – the Pause for Coz scholarship fund is an impressive grassroots effort, by any fund raising standard. So many alums have rallied around you for the benefit of student scholarships. (If only all our other alumni could be so impassioned!)
To quote Steve Erbst from an article in 2007, your “reputation really breaks down any barriers to giving.” Thank you for breaking down those barriers. Thank you for inspiring so many devoted alumni and friends. And thank you for making it possible for students like Colin, Kathryn, and Michael to attend Santa Clara. Your legacy lives on.
Michael E. Engh, S.J.
Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010
Legacy: leg·a·cy (noun)
A gift; something received from a predecessor or from the past
The legacy of generosity and compassion at Santa Clara has manifested itself in many ways – through many people – throughout the years. The Mission Campus is graced with many buildings that bear the names of individuals who have left their legacy through their generosity; others have left their legacy through their support of endowed chairs or scholarships making it possible for worthy students to live the Santa Clara experience.
And then, there are those whose legacy is built merely on kindness and compassion - those who have touched people through their years of service and friendship so deeply that their names will always be synonomous with Santa Clara - Pat Malley, Lou Bannan, Carroll Williams, John Drahman, Pat Carroll – teachers, mentors and friends who taught us more than we could learn in the classroom about what it meant to be people of competence, conscience, and compassion.
When Fr. Richard Coz first joined the Santa Clara community in 1963, he had no idea he would spend the next 36 years of his life building his own legacy; no idea that his genuine interest in his students, his friendship, concern and mentorship would endear him so passionately to thousands of Broncos over the years. Whether it was the development of “Cozinomics,” his ever-present smile at Santa Clara sporting events, the creation and nurturing of the Studies Abroad Program, the always-present lens of Santa Clara’s most famed photographer or simply the fact that Fr. Coz was there – with us – identifying with our problems, our celebrations, our Santa Clara experience, that made him such a beloved presence on the Mission Campus.
Fr. Coz’s friendship and support extended far beyond campus for many, sharing our joy at more than 800 weddings and countless baptisms over the years, always adding his own special touch with a classic Fr. Coz sermon. And come each December, it was Fr. Coz who always remembered us on his Christmas card list with the annual SCUTS photo or a collection of 4x6 black and white photos from years gone by. Sure – we already had five or six copies of those pictures – but the fact he remembered and made the time to send them helped define why Fr. Coz was different – why “Padre” has always been far more than our friend and mentor - he is family.
For so many people, Dick Coz, for so many years, has typified what we all love about Santa Clara. It is about learning in and out of the classroom, it’s about today’s experiences and the joys of celebrating those memories tomorrow; it is about doing the right thing and, more importantly, always doing it with class and dignity. This is the Santa Clara we love because we learned about it Fr. Coz – not just because he taught us that way, but because it is the way he has lived his life.
Fr. Coz has indeed given us all a gift – his legacy – and it is one worthy of being honored. We have all been blessed by the gift of Fr. Coz living his life true to the words of St. Ignatius Loyola:
“Love ought to manifest itself more by deeds than by words.”
Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010
San Jose Mercury News by KIM VO
January 25, 2008
IN HONOR OF FATHER COZ SCU ALUMNI ESTABLISH SCHOLARSHIP IN NAME OF BELOVED INSTRUCTOR, MENTOR
For a generation of Santa Clara University graduates, Father Richard Coz was as much a part of college life as classes, Broncos games and the iconic mission at the heart of the campus.
There he was, at fraternity parties, a silent reminder to not get too wild. There he was, looming at rugby and soccer games, camera in hand, snapping pictures he would later hand out during class or mail at Christmastime. Coz also remained a constant presence after graduation, officiating at more than 800 weddings and baptizing hundreds of children of alumni.
Even now, as he recovers from a stroke and heart surgery in a Jesuit retirement home in Los Gatos, he's still in their lives. Former students drop by all the time.
Last spring, SCU graduate Steve Erbst decided to establish a scholarship named after the retired economics professor. He sent out an e-mail to some friends, who passed it onto their friends and so on.
In three months, they raised more than $50,000 -- an amount most scholarship campaigns take nearly a year to reach. Today, the Pause for Coz campaign has topped $150,000 -- a testament to Coz's enduring popularity and a possible model for how the university could run future Internet campaigns, said Charmaine Williams, an associate director in the development office.
The results of the fundraising efforts have pleased Erbst, a Los Gatos resident who graduated in 1988 -- but they haven't surprised him. The sales executive regularly meets fellow Broncos in his work ''and inevitably someone asks, 'Did you know Father Coz?' '' Erbst said. ''It was an instant bond that was bigger than Santa Clara.''
Williams noted that a recent alumni survey asked graduates to name one person from the university who had a ''special impact'' on their college experience. Coz came out in the top five, the only person still living to do so.
Coz came to Santa Clara in 1963, the son of a Catholic father and Baptist mother. He served in the Navy from 1942 to 1946, and entered the Jesuit order a year later. Coz liked ''the sacrifice you had to make to give yourself entirely to the church,'' he said, sitting in his small but tidy bedroom at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, where he keeps boxes of old college photographs.
He had taught English and Latin at Catholic high schools, but the college crowd appealed to him more. The older students made it easier to socialize and were more informal. ''I felt that when they got to know me, they accepted religion more easily,'' said Coz, now 83 and 60 pounds slimmer after a series of health problems.
Officially, he taught economics, or ''Cozinomics'' as history-filled lectures were known. But he also worked in the Study Abroad Program, became a rugby moderator -- ''but rugby is not really moderated,'' he admitted -- and attended numerous football, soccer and intramural sports games with camera in hand. He later developed the pictures in his bedroom.
He also volunteered as chaplain to Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, though -- like rugby -- ''at that age you can't moderate them.'' He attended frat parties nevertheless ''so it wouldn't get that wild.''
Coz recalled one party that proved the priest's philosophy was working. ''I got to the party late. They had already started,'' he paused delicately, ''enjoying themselves.''
The guest of honor was drunk -- it was his 21st birthday -- but managed to corner the priest and say, ''You know how I know God likes me? Because you like me.''
Coz had a deft touch with students and tailored his approach to each one, said Mike Nicoletti, whose brother first recommended that the then-anxious freshman take Coz's class. Coz was a ''fatherly figure as well as an instructor'' to him, Nicoletti said, but took a different approach with Nicoletti's brother, John, who was so unmotivated that he didn't even bother buying the book for one class. ''One day,'' Nicoletti recalled, ''Father Coz came up and said, 'Hey, John, you know those jocks in the class? Every one of them is doing better than you.' ''
Coz retired in 1995, but remains an important part of Nicoletti's life. In 1975, he had recommended Nicoletti for a job in Fresno; Nicoletti is now president of the grain company. Coz officiated at Nicoletti's wedding and baptized his three children. And every Christmas, the priest travels to Fresno to celebrate Mass with the family.
It's those extra touches that have cemented Coz's place in Santa Clara history, said Marte Formico, who graduated in 1983 and still visits Coz weekly. He ''baptized all three of my kids, married me, baptized my stepfather, confirmed my nephew,'' Formico said. ''You can pick a thousand people who graduated SCU. And they have similar stor