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Couples share a love for SCU
Every marriage features common bonds and interests, and for some couples that includes giving their time and resources to Santa Clara University. Volunteering for alumni and fund-raising activities gives them a chance to see old friends, connect with a place that holds fond memories, and support efforts to attract and educate a new generation of students.
Their ongoing generosity-along with the support of other alumni and friends of the University-helped SCU's fund-raising campaign recently pass the $200 million mark in donations.
Separate efforts, common goals
Brad MBA '89 and Vicky Mattson '84 have reconnected to SCU in their own ways.
"It's a neat thing for Brad and me to have a tie to the University, independent of each other," Vicky says. "He's had the opportunity to be involved on the Board of Regents and I'm an Ambassador (a group that helps keep alumni connected to SCU and helps support admissions and Career Center efforts). It's a reminder of the great things that go on there."
Vicky attended SCU as an undergraduate, earning a degree in psychology.
"Everybody there became my family away from home," she says. "It was an amazing community feeling."
Vicky was a resident advisor for two years, and was involved in the Santa Clara Community Action Program (SCCAP) and campus ministry.
Vicky went on to a career in human relations, and had two children in a previous marriage. Brad worked for several semiconductor companies, starting up such big names as Novellus and Mattson Technology, before recently retiring. He has four children from a previous marriage, including son Bob '95. The couple now lives in Monte Sereno, raising four children who live with them, traveling, and continuing their involvement with SCU.
"The University has such a great opportunity to have a positive impact on so many people's lives," Brad says. "Santa Clara is a jewel."
The school, he says, combines three of his interests: high tech, education, and values and ethics about how to live.
The couple has contributed generously to the Center for Science, Technology and Society, and Brad is a member of the center's advisory board.
"I think the center has a huge opportunity to have an impact on Silicon Valley and even the world," he says.
Vicky has worked with students in the Career Center and developed a program for students who are interested in working in human relations.
"That was a really neat opportunity," she says, describing the students as "bright, eager, and talented."
A family affair
Bill '71 and Susan (Gaffney) Carter '71 met as undergraduates at Santa Clara and were married at the Mission Church soon after graduation. Bill later earned a master's degree in electrical engineering from SCU. For most of their married life, they lived in Santa Clara, until recently moving to Los Gatos.
"We never moved far away, physically or emotionally," Susan says.
Those ties grew deeper as they raised a family, starting with the baptism of all four of their children at Mission Santa Clara. The family attended men's soccer matches on campus, as well as Mass. The Carters attend their class reunions, and celebrate their wedding anniversary with couples who were married on campus at the same time. Son Ted graduated from SCU in 2001.
"The family atmosphere is still here," says Bill, who majored in engineering. "When I talk to people about what makes Santa Clara different, it's the fact that you do feel like a member of a family when you're a member of Santa Clara. It's not just a degree factory."
"And you develop relationships that last a lifetime," adds Susan, who was an English major.
The couple says they were impressed with the education they received at SCU.
"At the time I didn't understand the value of it, but they required us to take humanities, theology, and philosophy," Bill says. "That's actually served me very well in my career."
Bill was a vice president and chief technology officer for Xilinx, and is now a fellow there. Over the years he's learned that technology changes all the time, but values-such as those taught at SCU-stay with a person.
In recent years the couple has devoted time and money to SCU. Bill serves on the industry advisory board of the School of Engineering, the University's Board of Fellows, and on the advisory board for the Center for Science, Technology and Society. He and Susan are involved with the Ambassadors, for which Susan makes phone calls to potential students and accepted students to encourage them or welcome them to SCU.
Bill says the benefits of giving back to the University are tangible.
"I've seen the results of the good work the University does," he says. "There's a lot of students-my peers, people that I've hired, people that are students there now-that make me proud."
Part of the SCU family
Amy (Williams) Bick '89 and her husband, Carter, are involved in many alumni activities.
"Santa Clara is a very tight-knit group of people because it's a small school," says Amy, who earned her undergraduate degree in political science. "Everyone there has been so welcoming and nice to Carter-he just fit right in."
The Bicks live in Hillsborough. Amy stays home with the couple's three young children and Carter works in the finance world, running a hedge fund.
The couple volunteered for five years at the school's annual wine festival, Vintage Santa Clara, and Amy was co-chair of the event one year.
The couple continues to attend SCU sporting events when they have time, and Amy has joined the national alumni board, where she works on ideas for the general campaign fund and encourages other alums to attend events.
Her work for SCU as a graduate is not out of character, since she was just as involved as an undergraduate. She was a class officer, played intramural sports, and was a member of the ski club.
In addition to their volunteer work, the Bicks contribute generously to the school.
"I have such a great feeling for the school and where it's going," she says, recalling the excellence of the academic and spiritual components of her own education. "I want to give back to a school that gave me so much."
Mike '71 and Wendy Carey '73 met at SCU, and have happy memories of their days there. Mike was a running back for the football team for four seasons, while Wendy played intramural sports.
Both were impressed with the education they got at SCU. "It was a time when you move from dependence to independence," says Mike, who was a biology major. Wendy majored in general humanities. They married in 1977, and have two adult daughters, Drisana and Danica.
Today, from San Diego County, the Careys work at Seirus Innovation, a snowboard and snow skiing equipment company they started 20 years ago. Mike is also a referee for the National Football League.
The Careys also find time to stay involved in SCU. They've been active in local alumni events, donated to the school-particularly in athletics-and Mike has been a regent and is now a trustee.
"We both feel education is the most important thing that determines the direction our society takes," Wendy says. "Santa Clara does a particularly good job of educating the whole human being."