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Santa Clara University gets $7 million gift for a new student activity center to be named after departing President Paul Locatelli, S.J.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 10 -- In a gesture to honor the departing president of Santa Clara University, Mary Mathews-Stevens '84 and her husband, Mark, a partner in the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, have donated $7 million for a future Paul L. Locatelli, S.J., Student Activity Center.

The University intends to break ground by spring 2009.

The couple has been active in education philanthropy in recent years with their support of numerous educational organizations in California including a previous gift to Santa Clara in August 2002. At that time, Mark and Mary donated $500,000 to endow a fellowship program for graduates of St. Mary's Academy (Mary's high school in Portland, Oregon) who wish to attend SCU. The new student center --a longtime goal of Father Locatelli -- was "a perfect project to support given my deep involvement with student government, sports, and other student activities while I was an undergraduate at SCU," said Mary.

The gift comes at a time when the growing global economic crisis is beginning to affect U.S. colleges and universities. Many institutions, in the face of negative endowment returns, government budget cuts, and shrinking donations, have been forced to slash budgets and delay capital improvement projects. "We see our donation as a long-term investment in the quality of student life at Santa Clara. It is indeed fortunate that we are able to support the mission of the University in these very turbulent economic conditions," Mark explained.

Mary has served on the Board of Fellows since 2001. She has witnessed firsthand the dramatic improvements during Locatelli's tenure as President. "Santa Clara's soaring academic reputation and quality of campus life are direct results of Father's relentless adherence to the Jesuit values of competence, conscience and compassion," said Mary.

"The new student center will fulfill a great need," said Locatelli. "I am touched that Mary Mathews-Stevens and Mark Stevens wanted to name a place of gathering, reflection, and social inclusion in my honor. I know the future center will be a welcoming and well-used space for students."

Mary Mathews-Stevens recalls her years at Santa Clara with fondness. "It was a real stretch economically for my parents to send me there. Along the way, I received a great education, had many great experiences, and established many friendships that persist to this day. Mark and I feel so blessed that we can help generations of future Broncos," she said.

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 8,685 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, 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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