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President Locatelli calls on faculty, staff and students to rebuild 'human infrastructure'

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2002

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan.15, 2002 - Santa Clara University President Paul Locatelli, S.J., this week encouraged faculty, staff and students to use the inspiration of September 11 to get more involved as citizens and renew their commitment to their communities.

"What have we learned from September 11th?" Locatelli asked an afternoon assembly of approximately 1,100 faculty, staff and students in the Leavey Center on Jan.15. "Out of all the fear and rightful anger, doubt and pain, we have come together as family and friends, as a nation, and, hopefully, as citizens of the world."

The president spoke to a University Convocation, an annual school year-opening event that had been scheduled for Sept.11, but was postponed because of the terrorists' attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. The SCU winter quarter opened last week.

This week's event featured the recognition of honor students and community volunteers, welcoming of new faculty, and cheers for the SCU national champion women's soccer team, plus speeches commemorating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The SCU Gospel Choir performed, student body vice president Jessica Williams spoke about the need for "civic engagement," religious studies professor Carmichael Peters examined a renewed sense of student activism and theater professor Aldo Billingslea delivered King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

In his speech, Locatelli reminded his audience that "Our response to tragedy is to connect with others, to come together in loss and in prayer, to reach across ethnic and religious lines to affirm that we are all in this together."

"A great deal can be done personally to strengthen the sense of community, the human infrastructure here on campus," he said. He urged students to take a fresh look at how they relate to campus custodial and service staff, and to respect their neighbors on and off campus. He said SCU staff "can make an enormous difference in setting a positive and helpful tone with the people they deal with every day," and that faculty "can use their own passion to understand this changed world to spark their students to do the same." He urged all to vote in future elections.

"The prime response for faculty, staff and students to this historic challenge should be a renewed commitment to understand the structures of our society and world, to measure them against the standard of justice and compassion, and to imagine how we can improve," the SCU president said.

The complete text of the president's speech can be found at www.scu.edu/president/convocation02.cfm.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, located in Northern California's Silicon Valley, is a Jesuit university with 7,350 students. It was recognized in 2001 by the American Association of Colleges and Universities for its undergraduate programs, and is known nationally for the quality of its graduate and professional schools.

More information can be found by visiting www.scu.edu.

Tags: convocation

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