Santa Clara University

Fr. Paul Locatelli 1938-2010

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Memories of Father Locatelli

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The Personal Touch

Thursday, Jul. 15, 2010

I wanted to share an email that I wrote to Paul Locatelli when he left Santa Clara for his new position in Rome in 2008. In the email, I reminded Fr. Locatelli of a fond memory that I had of his "miraculous intervention" in one of my classes. Much to my surprise, Fr. Locatelli took the time to respond to my email, which makes my point that he brought a wonderful personal touch to all of his endeavors. I have also attached his email response, which I treasure as another fond memory of a remarkable man. Dear Paul, I just wanted to offer my congratulations on your new position and to express my sorrow at seeing you leave Santa Clara. You have done a wonderful job leading Santa Clara into exciting new directions and sharing your passion for excellence in education with both the Santa Clara University community and the larger public community. Since I have been around Santa Clara almost as long as you (I started law school in 1976 and pretty much never left), I have had an opportunity to see first hand the wonderful work that you have done. However, what I have been even more impressed with is the personal touch you have brought to what could be, I would think, a fairly isolated position. Given the huge faculty and staff at SCU, I have always been amazed and flattered that you always said hello to me by name. But my best memory of your personal involvement with the school occurred maybe 15 years ago when Eric and I were desperately trying to convince the student assistant who was running the old computer lab to leave it open for an hour so that students in our competitive Moot Court class could finish printing their briefs. (We had told the students that they would be able to do so based on the usual hours that the computer lab was open, not realizing that it was the University's spring break so the hours were shortened). We assured the student that we would stay in his place so he would not be inconvenienced. However, no matter how much we begged, the student assistant was steadfast in his refusal. We then started calling up the University chain of command and finally got all the way to your office. We were told that you were on your way to the airport. We were at a loss as to what to do. And then, a "miracle" occurred. You came marching into the Computer Lab (as I recall your flight had been delayed or cancelled) and asked the student assistant to leave the lab open the extra hour. To everyone's amazement, the student said "no!". You said, "I'm Father President, and I'm telling (ordering??) you to leave it open!". Our students got the extra hour and we had a wonderful Moot Court competition thanks to your timely intervention. This email is longer than I had intended it to be but, hopefully, the memory will make you smile. All I really wanted to say was thank you for your incredibly dedicated work here, good luck in your new venture and we will all miss you! Fond regards, Nancy Dear Nancy, I'm touched by your kind and thoughtful email... As you may have read, one reporter said, which I found humorous, that I was "grumpy and controlling." I agree when it's the right things to do... your email help me put that even a better perspective... Paul