history and traditions

Race matters

Race matters
by Anne Federwisch |

When Antonio Estremera ’72 came to Santa Clara in 1968, he intended to major in history, not make it. But when an article using wording insulting to minorities appeared in the student newspaper in January ’69, he and some others felt compelled to respond.

The article, introducing a new English course in basic communication skills, described its prospective students as “disadvantaged” and “underprivileged,” and their home environments as “functionally illiterate.” It suggested that they had difficulty with abstract thought. Ethnic tensions were already rife in the Bay Area, with student protests not uncommon elsewhere; that article sparked a minor explosion on the Mission campus.

Several weeks later, Estremera and students from the Black Students’ Union, Mexican American Student Confederation, and Students for Democratic Action, as well as a few faculty members—about 30 people in all—demonstrated in the cafeteria during dinner. Using a speaker system, each group made its demands known to the administration, including review of the newspaper before it went to press and new courses in both Black history and Chicano history.

One month later, the administration responded to lingering discontent by organizing group discussions between faculty and students about the “minority perspective.” Ethnic studies courses were developed as part of the undergraduate curriculum that fall and a director of an Ethnic Studies Program appointed.

Thirty years after Antonio Estremera graduated, his son Michael Estremera ’02, J.D.’06 studied at SCU—as an undergraduate and as a law student. Notably, in recent years the law school has ranked in the top 10 schools nationally in terms of diversity.

Winter 2014

Table of contents


Rise up, my love

There are the sanctuaries built for worship—and that carry beauty and grace for all to see. Then there are the improvised places of faith, perhaps more subtle in how they speak to the wonder worked there.

The chaplain is in the House

With the way things have gone recently in Congress, looking to the heavens for some help and guidance might seem like a very good idea. In fact, that’s what Pat Conroy, S.J., M.Div. ’83 is there to do.

Welcome to Citizenville

Who published the one book on government in 2013 that conservative firebrand Newt Gingrich told all true believers that they should read? Well, the author is now lieutenant governor of California. Before that, he was mayor of San Francisco. That’s right: It’s Gavin Newsom ’89.

Mission Matters


Women’s soccer wins the West Coast Conference championship.

Patent trolls, beware

The White House has brought on SCU’s Colleen Chien, a leading expert in patent law, as senior advisor.

A sight of innocence

George Souliotes went to prison for three life sentences after he was convicted of arson and murder. Twenty years later, he’s out—after the Northern California Innocence Project proved he didn’t do it.