Santa Clara University

Presidential Inauguration, Fr. Michael E. Engh, S.J.

Inaugurations in the Past

Despite the importance of inaugurations, Santa Clara University did not have any public ceremonies until 1968. Before then, there were varying degrees of ceremonial greeting of the new president. In 1861, for instance, the student body and faculty assembled to greet Burchard Villiger, S.J., when he stepped off a stagecoach as SCU's fourth president. But in 1951 the changeover from William Gianera, S.J., to Herman Hauck, S.J., largely consisted of Fr. Hauck taking over Fr. Gianera's seat at the Jesuit residence (where the president had also traditionally been the rector of the Jesuit Community) at lunch one day.
Fr. Rewak
The Rev. Baymond Bucher, O.F.M., Fr. William Rewak, S.J., and Fr. Terrance Mahan, S.J., at mass on Jan. 12, 1977 to celebrate the bicentennial of Mission Santa Clara de Asis, the 125th anniversary of the university, and the inauguration of Fr. Rewak..

But in 1968-after the role of president was separated from the role of Jesuit community rector-administrators decided they would stage a two-day event for the incoming president, Fr. Thomas Terry. It included a concert, Mass, champagne reception, luncheon, dinner, and educational panels featuring eight distinguished educators and community leaders.

In 1977, Santa Clara University's inauguration of its 26th president was also grand but for more historical reasons. Administrators held a triple celebration honoring the bicentennial of Mission Santa Clara de Asis, the 125th anniversary of the university, and the inauguration of Fr. William Rewak.

About 2,500 people attended Fr. Paul Locatelli's inauguration in 1988, with a full day of festivities that began with meetings, brunches, Mass, and the inauguration ceremony.

Fr. Paul Locatelli, S.J. with Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C., Notre Dame's president emeritus, before Fr. Locatelli's inauguration ceremony on Nov. 11, 1988.

Although there are many photos from Fr. Rewak's and Fr. Terry's inaugurations, Fr. Locatelli's ceremony is the only one the university has on videotape. It captures the moment when the president's medallion was placed around his neck. He also received the ceremonial mace, and the presentation of the president's seal of office.

No matter how the inaugural ceremonies are planned, staged, and executed, the intentions are clear at Santa Clara University. Inauguration day is a time to pause and reflect on the tradition and the history of California's first operating institute of higher education and on the memories of the previous presidents.

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