Santa Clara University

Office of the President

President's Updates

  •  Friday, Nov. 19, 2010

    Remembrance of the Salvadoran Martyrs

    Dear Members of the SCU Community,

    In front of our Mission Church, the eight white wooden crosses bear the names of six Jesuits and two women who were brutally executed by members of the Salvadoran army on November 16, 1989. Our university joins with the Ignatian family throughout the world to pause and remember the price paid by these Jesuits, their housekeeper, and her daughter at our Jesuit University of Central America in El Salvador.  They were slain by the government because they were educating their students about issues of human rights, economic justice and social responsibility in a society marred by extreme oppression. They were calling their university community to be instruments of transformation. Those crosses are a sober reminder of the important work we are about as a Jesuit educational institution.

    I'd like to share words from Fr. Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J., one of the slain Jesuits, who offered the Commencement Address here at Santa Clara in June,1982. In his comments, Fr. Ellacuria said, "We, as an intellectual community, must analyze causes; use imagination and creativity together to discover remedies; communicate to our public a consciousness that inspires the freedom of self-determination; educate professionals with a conscience, who will be the immediate instruments of transformation; and continually hone an educational institution that is academically excellent and ethically oriented.

    Their commitment, their faith, their witness have fostered a deeper commitment to justice in the Ignatian family throughout the world and within our own university. The ongoing relationships we have cultivated through immersion trips, the Casa de la Solidaridad program, and scholarly exchanges have served to open our community to the many challenges of our brothers and sisters and to fulfill our vision in which we declare our desire to "educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience and compassion and cultivate knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world."

    On Sunday December 5th special acknowledgment of their sacrifice and that of the four churchwomen slain in El Salvador thirty years ago will be made at the 9 PM liturgy in the Mission Church.

    May their extraordinary sacrifice continue to be a source of inspiration as we seek to transform our minds and enlarge our hearts.

    Michael E. Engh, S.J.


  •  Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

    National Conference on Jesuit Higher Education

    On January 21-23 Santa Clara will host the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education.  Representatives from each of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States will be on campus to participate in the conference.  The seminar grew out of a conversation started 21 years ago at Georgetown University, when  participants from Jesuit higher education in the United States gathered to discuss their hopes for what Jesuit higher education could and would be in the future.  At that time, Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., General Superior of the Society of Jesus, gave the major address.

    To further the conversation that began at Georgetown, the seminar publishes the magazine, Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education, and distributes it to all the Jesuit campuses in the United States.  Published in the fall and spring, the magazine also is available online at

  •  Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

    Update from the Executive Task Force on Governance

    In May the University Coordinating Committee organized the Executive Task Force on Governance in response to WASC’s recommendation to review SCU’s governance. The task force began their work in the summer and continues to make progress. The chair of the committee, Jane Curry, has prepared a status report for the University community.


    Submitted by Jane Curry, Chair:

    Past Work

    The Task Force has begun holding focus groups with faculty and staff who have been engaged in the various University Policy Committees, the UCC, and the Faculty and Staff Senates.  Survey questions regarding governance are included on the Higher Education Research Institute survey being done by faculty. Staff members are being surveyed for their opinions in a separate survey.  Key administrators, students and other groups on campus will be interviewed as well. 

    Any faculty, staff or student who wishes to send comments on how the governance is working and what should be changed can submit them on the website at  All comments appear anonymously and go directly to the Task Force. 

    In October, the Task Force presented a summary of the governance review process to the Faculty Senate and will present to the Staff Senate on November 19.  Talks are underway with student leaders as well.

    In November, at President Engh’s suggestion, a number of members of the Task Force attended the American Association of University Professors conference on collaborative governance to learn about other governance options and how they work.

    Future Work

    In the winter and spring quarters 2011, the Task Force will review the campus community’s experiences and ideas and develop a set of preliminary proposals to improve the current governance process.  A retreat will then be held (hopefully, in the spring) to report on the results and examine, as a community, what will best serve the University.

    The Executive Task Force will make several documents available to interested members of the community, including the summary results of the surveys, focus groups, and conversations with key administrators and other groups on campus; our research on the development and intent of the initial governance, developed in 1993-4; the literature on best practices in collaborative governance; and the governance processes in comparable universities. 

    Committee Members

    The Task Force members are Janey Curry, chair; Andre Delbecq; Leilani Miller; Gail Gradowski; Jim Rowan; Jacqueline Wender; Don Polden; Jeanne Rosenberger; and Robert Warren.  Please feel free to contact any members if you would like updates or have suggestions or concerns.


  •  Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

    Thank You

    As we come into the Thanksgiving holiday, I wish to thank the work of the many faculty who have received grant awards and the Sponsored Project Office staff who supported them in the application process. Since July 1, 2010, faculty have received 16 grant awards totaling over $2 million. The sizable awards are a testament to the diligent work of the faculty and staff who saw the applications through the process.

  •  Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

    Thanksgiving Message

    Dear Colleagues and Friends, 

    The approach of Thanksgiving reminds us all of the tradition of pausing and giving thanks for blessings received.  It is a holiday that is truly an American feast, the annual remembrance of the ways that we have been graced as individuals and as a nation. For a campus such as ours, we particularly need to recall how very fortunate we are to be part of this extended Santa Clara “family.”  So many contribute to the spirit and well being of campus life that I feel amazingly blessed in my role.  All of you enable the university to create this special atmosphere where we focus on students and their growth and development as intelligent, caring, and ethical persons.  My prayer for you in this season is that you find some quiet time to reflect on your blessings and express thanks in the ways that are appropriate to your spiritual traditions.  I shall remember all of you and your families with great gratitude in my Mass and prayers on Thanksgiving Day. 

    With best wishes,

    Michael E. Engh, S.J.


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