Santa Clara University

Office of the President

President's Updates

  •  Monday, Nov. 23, 2015

    Thanksgiving 2015


    i thank You God for most this amazing day
    by e. e. cummings (1894 – 1962)

    i thank You God for most this amazing
    day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
    which is natural which is infinite which is yes

    (i who have died am alive again today,
    and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
    day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)


    Dear Members of the University Community,

    Next week we celebrate our national holiday of Thanksgiving. A tradition that crosses the boundaries of time, cultures, and countries, giving thanks lets us name those things that give us joy, peace, and even life itself. At a time when events in our world weigh heavily, we set aside a day to acknowledge the good in our lives. As president of this great university, I am grateful for the community of students, faculty, and staff who make us our better selves. In you I recognize a community defined by unselfish service to our students, committed to the wellbeing of all our members, and passionate for the cause of justice locally and globally.

    Our recent conference on the environment reminds us of the great gift of our natural world. More powerful than the violence across the globe and turmoil of unrest on campuses is what e.e. cummings describes as "everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes." The simple wonders of God's creation offer us rebirth, a chance to live anew. Mindful of diminishing natural resources, the human cost of grave injustices, and the suffering from violence and displacement, we consider how our blessings can move us to more expressions of generosity, compassion, and gratitude.  

    I hope that your Thanksgiving celebration is a "birth day of life and of love and wings" spent with family and friends. May it be filled with gratitude for gifts received and compassion for all those in need. I shall remember you and your families with special gratitude in my thoughts and prayers.

    With best wishes,

    Michael E. Engh, S.J.

  •  Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015

    16 November 2015

    Dear Members of the University Community,

    In recent weeks, campuses across the country have seen disturbing expressions of racism that need to be addressed. Santa Clara University extends our solidarity and support for individuals and communities who are experiencing pain, exclusion, and fragmentation from discrimination and racist acts.

    As a Jesuit, Catholic institution, we especially appreciate the importance of an inclusive community and value diversity. We respect the dignity of all members of our community and recognize that open communication fosters respect. Acts that are contrary to these values and jeopardize the dignity of others are not acceptable at Santa Clara University.

    On our own campus, some members have been impacted by recent hurtful comments and disrespectful actions. Since Spring 2015, we have been actively working to address these concerns in order to build a more inclusive and welcoming community. An integral part of that process began with a series of conversations among students, key administrators including Aldo Billingslea and Jeanne Rosenberger, and myself. Santa Clara University is blessed with a culture of forging positive change through dialogue, collaboration and collective action. In meetings with student leaders from Unity 4 and in our recent Open Forum, our dialogue has been constructive and thoughtful. The large turnout for the forum reminded me of our students' passion for making Santa Clara a better and more welcoming community.

    Last week's forum was the first of three open forums scheduled for the year where we invite all members of the campus to engage in discussion about how we can promote greater inclusion and diversity on our campus. I encourage you to take part in the conversations and work for the greater good of all, particularly our students. I also ask that each of us models the level of respect that is consistent with the ideals of Santa Clara University in all of our interactions, including on social media, in the classroom, and in any venue where we engage with others.

    In the tradition of the restless Jesuit notion of "magis," Santa Clara University is capable of being more, of doing better. Let us work to make Santa Clara more inclusive, more just, and more compassionate. Let us also pray for healing, justice, and reconciliation on campuses across the country to end the suffering, exclusion, and division due to acts of discrimination and racial bias. Our nation and our university must rise to the challenge of our times.


    Michael E. Engh, S.J.


  •  Friday, Nov. 13, 2015

    Dear Members of the University Community,

    The tragic news of massive casualties following multiple attacks in Paris has shaken us to the core. These heinous acts resound with a hatred that is unfathomable and defies reason. The violence that has devastated Paris breaks the hearts of the world community. I ask all of the Santa Clara community to keep in our thoughts and prayers the victims, their families and all the people of France as we stand together in solidarity.  As for our SCU students studying in Paris, we have received word that they are all accounted for and safe.

    We shall hold a prayer service on Monday, November 16, at 5:00 p.m. in front of the Mission Church to honor those who have died and all who have been affected by this tragedy.


    Michael E. Engh, S.J.
  •  Monday, Nov. 2, 2015

    As many of you know, Santa Clara University is hosting the conference, "Our Future on a Shared Planet: Silicon Valley in Conversation with the Environmental Teachings of Pope Francis" on November 3-4. Prominently located in Silicon Valley and a leader on issues of justice and sustainability, Santa Clara is a fitting venue to hold dialogue on Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si'" and his call to address the global challenge of climate change. 

    We are especially honored to host Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and one of the most influential contributors on the historic encyclical. Cardinal Turkson will open the conference with Mass on Tuesday, November 3 at 11:30 a.m. and deliver the keynote address at 3:00 p.m. in the Mission Church. On Wednesday, November 4 the dialogue will continue with lectures and panel discussions throughout the day. Guest speakers at the conference include leading experts on public policy, science, and faith as they relate to the environment.

    At the conference we shall consider the environmental teachings of Pope Francis in light of the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley and the broader moral, political, and spiritual changes that are called for as we face the global environmental crisis. Environmental justice, not only related to sustainability and ecological preservation but also to the concern for the poor, remains a theme that resonates for our campus. The conference will guide us in dialogue on how Santa Clara University can link our work for social justice to our concern for the environment, recognizing that the poor have a real claim on our hearts and on our actions. In this place and time, Santa Clara University can be a resource for Silicon Valley to explore and reflect on the environmental questions that Pope Francis raises.

    The conference is free and open to all members of the University community and the general public. I encourage you to join in the dialogue and invite others to attend. Visit to register and learn more about the sessions.


    Michael E. Engh, S.J.

  •  Monday, Nov. 2, 2015

    Coming up on my Calendar:

    • November 3-4 - "Our Future on a Shared Planet" Conference
    • November 5 - Silicon Valley Leadership Group Campus Town Hall
    • November 5 - Board of Fellows Meeting
    • November 9 - Unity 4 Open Forum
    • November 12 - Tech Awards
    • November 20 - West Coast Conference Meeting
    • November 26 - Thanksgiving
    • November 27 - University Holiday


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