Santa Clara University

Fr. Paul Locatelli 1938-2010

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Memories of Father Locatelli

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An alpha male full of love

Monday, Jul. 19, 2010

The finest human specimens are energetic visionaries who wish to infuse in others the most important parts of their identity. Father Locatelli ascended to the university presidency in his 40s (exhibiting will to power), and immediately went about implementing his vision. We all know about his ambitious vision for the university and his successful implementation thereof over the long haul. But let us consider also, as an example, his visions with respect to El Salvador. In the wake of a massacre of jesuits there, he increased the university's involvement with the nation. why? He had a vision, the vision was being violated, and he did what was in his power to bring about the world that he wanted to see. There are many examples of Father Locatelli wanting the world to be a certain way, and putting his own and university resources into the creation of that better world. For him, a better SCU was just one of his many visions. In that sense, his continued involvement with SCU after his promotion in the Jesuit hierarchy is extremely informative. By definition, his new job was a full-time commitment, and he would do it with maximum effectivity if he left SCU behind, which many in his position would have done, but because his vision of SCU was so psychologically important to him, his motivation to continue to allocate time to SCU was strong, and so he did continue involvement with us. His pursuit of the plurality of his passions is why I call him energetic; no passion can be left unaddressed in the heart of men like Locatelli. Speaking of passions, those are one reason why I refer to him as brimming with love. Like all people who deserve to be taken seriously, the status quo of the world was never satisfactory for him; and ultimately, you will only find the status quo patently unacceptable if you harbor feelings that your fellow man's lot *should* be better. And it his relationships with his fellow man that most powerfully reveal him as an alpha male full of love. Tellingly, he exhibited the psychological construct of generativity: a desire to help young minds develop. Before his ascendancy to the presidency, he won teaching accolades, and as president, he made a genuine effort to get to know students, and to be a mentor. Later, when I asked him what the best part was about his job as overseer of all jesuit institutions of higher education, he said that it was the frequency of interactions with people who were extremely interesting and passionate. I asked him, and he answered affirmatively, if he regularly found himself in a position of mentor/advisor to other university presidents. In sum, it is clear that Father Locatelli was a strong-willed alpha male with a well-defined and many-faceted vision for the world, and that one of his core desires was to help others--students, and later all jesuit educators--become stronger themselves. After all, we know that it is valuable to teach a man to fish. I close by noting that all great people have many talents that go unrealized. In Father Locatelli's case, the obvious example is his prowess in the classroom, which he retained as president but was just too busy to use with any regularity. It is with this in mind that I exhort all members of the SCU community to honor his memory properly by not only loving him for and judging him by his accomplishments, but also accounting for his appreciable potential to have been greater still.