Santa Clara University

Fr. Paul Locatelli 1938-2010

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Memories of Father Locatelli

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Fr. Locatelli reached out to me and helped me pay for my SCU education...

Thursday, Jul. 29, 2010

Fr. Locatelli represents everything that is good about a Santa Clara education – an education that I would not have completed had it not been for his boundless generosity. If my memory does not fail me, I was a junior at SCU around 1990. During that time, the University was making a concerted effort to become a more welcoming place for minorities, way ahead of many other similar institutions. Fr. Locatelli had extended an invitation to the entire SCU family to participate in an open forum. Faculty, staff and students congregated in the Mayer Theatre, and everyone who wanted to speak had a chance to do so through an open mic. All topics were fair game. I remember speaking with passion because I was crying, naming some shortcomings and all that I loved about Santa Clara. My family was going through some financial turmoil and, in a way, I was saying good bye to my dear SCU because we could no longer afford my schooling here. In the bigger context of my speech, this was but an unintended, short and passing phrase. Little did I know that Fr. Locatelli had honed in on it, and so next day I received a call to my dorm room from the President himself. He said he wanted to see me. A bit worried that I had offended anyone during my moments of passion the previous day, I hurried to his office, taming my morning hair as I crossed the campus. He received me with a hug, and from the moment I stepped into his office, his attention was focused on me 100%. He wanted me to elaborate on some of the things I had mentioned, and I did that to the best of my ability. It was a short, but meaningful visit. On my way out, Father Locatelli smiled and said to me, almost as an afterthought, “Sergio, stop by the financial office and tell them you’re coming next semester and next year. Tell them to call me if they have any questions.” And with that, I became another fortunate recipient of a Santa Clara education, one that has blessed me in countless ways. Today, more than ever, I remember his smile, a smile that melted me and strengthened me at the same time, a smile that called me to a higher purpose. Today, as a Santa Clara University employee, I am proud to be a Santa Claran through and through. I am proud of my Jesuit education and my call to service. Thank you, Dear Fr. Locatelli, for the very personal legacy you left me. May you rest in the presence of our Lord. Lovingly, Sergio Lopez Communications Specialist Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center