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Founder of Habitat for Humanity calls on SCU graduates to serve mankind

Saturday, Jun. 12, 1999

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 12, 1999 -- Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity, encouraged graduates of Santa Clara University on Saturday to strive, regardless of their chosen career, to help others in need.

"I want to recruit you to a life worth living, a life of sharing with others," said Fuller, who left a career as a millionaire real estate developer 30 years ago to build low-cost housing for poor families. He said the goals of service that are central to Jesuit education are shared by his organization.

"The challenge of launching and developing a successful career is not the only challenge awaiting you," he told the graduates, 500 faculty members and approximately 12,000 friends and family members.

"There are bigger challenges in life, challenges that require continuing education, compassion, competence and action," he said.

"Whatever your calling, I challenge you to demonstrate the level of love that is sincere, unconditional and passionate enough to be both local and global," Fuller told the graduates. "Your time, your talents, your hearts and your minds are desperately needed in this world. On this morning of bright hope and great potential for each of you, I challenge you to remember that you belong to all of humanity."

Fuller received an honorary doctor of public service prior to delivering the address at the 148th commencement at Buck Shaw Stadium, shifted there from the traditional Mission Gardens site to accommodate the families and friends of approximately 965 undergraduates.

Other honorary degrees at the undergraduate commencement were awarded to San Jose community activist Esther Medina, a Doctor of Public Service, for her work as executive director of the Mexican American Community Services Agency serving the needs of Santa Clara County’s Latino youth, families and seniors; and to Catharine Stimpson, dean of the New York University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, for her scholarship and her work in establishing women’s studies programs.

Fuller founded Habitat for Humanity in 1976 in Americus, Georgia, as a worldwide

Christian housing ministry. Since then, volunteers for the non-profit Habitat for Humanity – including Santa Clara students and faculty -- have built homes for more than 70,000 families in 1,475 U.S. cities, and provided shelter for another 280,000 people in more than 60 countries. There is a chapter of Habitat for Humanity at Santa Clara University, and SCU students most recently helped build housing for the poor in Oregon.

Fuller reminded his audience that inadequate housing and discrimination are world-wide problems. He said the growing disparity between the rich and the poor can be seen "so clearly here in Silicon Valley."

The Santa Clara undergraduate valedictorian was Kelly Crowley, a political science major who will be studying environmental policy at Indiana University in the fall.

Michael Hackworth, CEO of Aspirian Inc, and chairman of the board of Cirrus Logic, in Fremont, and a Santa Clara University engineering alumnus, will speak at the SCU graduate schools’ commencement on Sunday.

Hackworth will speak at 9:45 a.m. ceremonies granting graduate degrees for the Leavey School of Business, the Graduate School of Engineering, the School of Counseling Psychology and Education, and Pastoral Studies.

Hackworth is a member of the Santa Clara University Engineering Advisory Board and the advisory board of the university’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. He and his wife Joan are one of the most active Silicon Valley couples supporting cultural and charitable community programs.

Santa Clara University, the oldest institution of higher education in California, is a private Jesuit university with approximately 4,300 undergraduate and 3,400 graduate students. Home to the Mission Santa Clara de Asis, the university celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2000-2001.

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