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 New Rector of Santa Clara University Jesuit Community Named

Monday, Mar. 22, 2010

SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 22, 2010 — Michael Zampelli, S.J., a faculty member since 1998 and currently the Paul Locatelli University Professor in the department of theatre and dance, has been named rector to the Jesuit community at Santa Clara University.

As rector of the second-largest Jesuit community in the California province of Jesuits, Zampelli will serve as the religious superior for his 40 fellow Jesuits on campus. His role is to support and serve them in living their personal, communal, and apostolic lives as Jesuits. Jesuits are members of the Catholic order of priests, the Society of Jesus.

Appointed to his role by Fr. General Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., the superior general of the Society of Jesus in Rome, Zampelli will work closely with University President Michael Engh, S.J., in cultivating the Jesuit and Catholic mission of SCU.

“I’m looking forward to working with Father Engh as a representative of the Jesuit community, and to continuing to nurture the Jesuit mission of the University,” said Zampelli.

He will be installed as rector on July 31. He replaces Gerdenio “Sonny” Manuel, S.J., who will complete his six-year term as rector in July. Manuel will take a year-long sabbatical while continuing his role as provincial assistant for higher education and director of studies.

“I am pleased to welcome Father Zampelli to his new leadership position in the Jesuit community at SCU,” said Engh. “I would also like to thank Father Manuel for his six years of service, which were distinguished by his graciousness, insight, service, and collaboration.”

California’s Jesuit Provincial leader John P. McGarry, S.J., praised Manuel’s leadership, saying he “very carefully and successfully guided the move of the community from Nobili Hall to the new Jesuit Residence, while continuing to provide caring leadership, cura personalis, and effective management of the second largest Jesuit community in the province.”

McGarry called both men “two very fine Jesuits who are generous in their commitment to the Society and our mission of service to the Church and to all of God’s people.”

Zampelli earned a Ph.D. in drama from Tufts University; M.Div/STM from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, an M.A. from Fordham University, and a B.A. from Georgetown University.

Born and raised in Lawrence, Mass., his academic work has focused on the early modern Italian professional theatre and its relationship to religion.

As a member of the theatre and dance department at SCU, Zampelli has directed several productions, most recently Erik Ehn’s The Saint Plays with Kristin Kusanovich and Gregory Dale Schultz. Other productions have included Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorophoses, Diana Son’s Stop Kiss, and Carlo Gozzi’s The King Stag. He teaches courses in cultures and ideas, theatre history, and gender and performance.

Upon approval by the Santa Clara University board of trustees, Zampelli will serve as an ex officio member of the board and its executive committee beginning August 1.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California's Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,600 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

Media Contact:
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | (408) 554-5121 |



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