Santa Clara University

Santa Clara Magazine

Mission Matters


Faculty at convocation. Photo: Charles Barry

Faculty enter the Leavey Center for convocation.
Photo: Charles Barry




Carey’s convocation counsel: It’s about respect

Ask Mike Carey ’71 about the meaning of leadership, and the answer will likely start and end with respect: for self as well as for others. For others, it’s not just for what they do, but by virtue of their humanity. As for gaining respect from other people, Carey said, it’s about “commanding—not demanding.”

With more than 35 years as an NFL official, Carey became in 1995 only the second African American to serve as a head referee. He still heads up a team of officials on the field, so that means he bumps up alongside plenty of professional-sized egos every week. Also the founder of Seirus Innovation, a major manufacturer of snow sports accessories, he’s the inventor on several patents—and, for the past decade, a member of the SCU Board of Trustees.

Mike Carey ’71. Photo: Charles Barry
Mike Carey ’71
Photo: Charles Barry

On Sept. 17, as part of the University convocation marking the beginning of the academic year, he spoke to students and faculty at the Leavey Center and shared what Santa Clara had taught him through lessons inside the classroom and out: “Think critically and act responsibly,” he said. “Learn not only to come up with the right answers, but to ask the right questions.”

As a college student in the “vibrant” late ’60s, Carey said, he found the University a place that fostered what he called “open, disciplined free speech.” That included hosting guest speakers from across the political spectrum—from Angela Davis to Bob Hope. Drawing parallels to the turbulent political situation in which the nation finds itself today, he encouraged students to take advantage of the diversity on campus and to get to know those they might not normally associate with.

Carey also confessed that, in his undergrad days studying biology at SCU, he would see the members of the Board of Trustees on campus and could hardly imagine how they connected with his experience. Now he finds himself a member of the body charged with governing the University. “Somebody in this group, years from now,” he told students, “will be in the same position.”

Global possibilities and contradictions

The pace of globalization in the 21st century presents higher education with a paradox, President Paul Locatelli, S.J., reminded the SCU faculty assembled for faculty convocation on Sept. 11. The speed of change today is unprecedented, and understanding its effects requires dedicated, even “cloistered, scholarly research,” Locatelli said. It also requires in-depth learning that encompasses the “‘gritty reality’ that the poor and vulnerable experience,” to use Jesuit Superior General Peter Hans Kolvenbach’s phrase.

As Secretary of Higher Education for the Society of Jesus, Locatelli has been meeting with university leaders in East Asia and Latin America, in part to understand the “major challenges and priorities” that Jesuit institutions worldwide may face over the next decade. For many Jesuit universities outside the U.S., “gritty reality” and poverty strike close to home.

The faculty convocation was held on a date that signifies for many the realization of a world suddenly smaller. In that vein, Locatelli observed, “the conflict that radical Islam has with the West is as much about cultural values, which emanate from religious values, as it is about poverty. Religious fundamentalism has distorted the tenets of faith for political purposes, a distortion which has caused only conflicts and violence.”

That informs the responsibilities facing higher education, Locatelli said. “Santa Clara should focus its research and teaching on efforts to discover the root causes of the critical problems of our time, paying special attention to their ethical and religious dimensions.” By taking on this responsibility, the University will continue to prepare “ethical citizens who will leaven the world with knowledge, justice, virtue, and wisdom.” —DK and SBS


A new scu.edu

Construction is a familiar sight around the Santa Clara campus these days, but some of the most recent work was all virtual. A redesigned University Web site, nearly nine months in the making, went live the morning of Sept. 12, just in time for the start of the academic year.

Nigh on every pixel and link got a makeover on the new site. There are hundreds of new photographs of the campus and community, more informative navigation, and animated slideshows on the University home page and the home pages of the schools and colleges. Visitors have also noticed improvements to the faculty and staff directory, campus map, online events calendar, and search tools. There’s also a new tier of pages that didn’t exist before, notes University Webmaster Brian Washburn—to help users get to content quickly.

Because the Web is constantly changing and updating, this isn’t the end of SCU’s online improvements. Look for new interactive elements and more rich media content in the coming year. —SS


Santa Clara Magazine recognized with national award

We knew from the moment we saw Marty Stortz’s essay about Bill Spohn that it was a remarkable piece of writing about a unique man, and it was a privilege to publish it in these pages. So it was doubly gratifying to have “The School of Hope,” published in the Winter 2006 issue, recognized with a national award by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), which honored Marty and SCM with a silver medal for Best Article of the Year. The awards were presented in July at the CASE national conference in Chicago.

More than 250 articles were submitted nationwide, with the judges surmising that the best of the lot could just as easily have found a home in The American Scholar, The Atlantic Monthly, or Harper’s. Sharing the silver limelight with SCM were articles from publications that include Harvard Magazine, Stanford Magazine, and Yale Alumni Magazine. —SBS


Best in the West

The results are in, and “America’s Best Colleges 2008” has offered SCU high marks—for the 18th year in a row. Santa Clara ranked second overall among 127 master’s universities in the West in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of the country’s colleges and universities.

SCU is ranked against other similar comprehensive universities that offer a full range of undergraduate programs and master’s degrees, but few doctoral programs; the Western region includes schools from Colorado to the West Coast, including Texas. Joining SCU in the West’s top 10 this year are Jesuit schools Gonzaga and Seattle University, and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Of master’s universities in the West, Santa Clara is also listed among the top 15 in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category.

Santa Clara continues to have the highest average freshman retention rate—93 percent—in its class, and boasts the second-highest peer assessment score. SCU’s average undergraduate graduation rate, 85 percent, ranks nationally as the second highest of all 574 master’s level universities. The School of Engineering is No. 20 among the top 87 engineering schools in the country that focus on undergraduate and master’s engineering programs. And a section titled “Programs to Look For” commends SCU’s residential learning communities, where students in residence halls take some courses as a group to get to know one another and their professors better. —DA & SS


A rising star with personal touch

Inspiring and accessible: a religious studies seminar with Associate Professor Paul Fitzgerald, S.J.
Inspiring and accessible: a religious studies seminar with Associate Professor Paul Fitzgerald, S.J.
Photo: Charles Barry

“It’s always better when an admissions staff regards you as a person, not an enrollment target,” opines one new college guide. Amen. “Unfortunately, such is not always the case.” Too true.

So where will you find these sage words? In the 2008 edition of Princeton Review’s The Best 366 Colleges, an 800-page paperback tome. More specifically, they’re in a write-up of SCU that commends the University because, it says, “Santa Clara University deserves recognition as a rising star that still manages to be highly personal and accessible.”

The guide also surmises that it “would be hard to find a place that is more receptive to minority students. There is a very significant minority presence here because Santa Clara works hard and earnestly to make everyone feel at home.” Which leads to the conclusion: “The university’s popularity is increasing across the board, which proves that nice guys sometimes finish first.”

In the realm of education, what students have to say counts for more than a little. The Best 366 also quotes from students who describe the academic workload at SCU as “excessive and insane” with professors who are, in the words of one junior, “brilliant, fascinating, humane people who have been nothing short of an inspiration to my friends and me.” Our favorite line, though, comes from praise heaped upon specific departments and programs: “The math department is too awesome for words.” —SBS


Santa Clara shines in Solar Decathlon




Meghan the Riveter: Senior Meghan Mooney joins fellow SCU students in putting finishing touches on the Solar Decathlon House…before they disassemble it for the trip east.

We can do it! Senior Meghan Mooney (aka, Meghan the Riveter) joins fellow SCU students in putting finishing touches on the Solar Decathlon House. 

When a team of Santa Clara students embarked on the Solar Decathlon competition just over 18 months ago, they knew they had a long way to go—the longest, in fact, of any university stateside, since SCU was the only school west of the Rockies to compete. But as Richard King, head of the U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored competition, assessed when he visited SCU in August, this team just might have some surprises in store for the veteran schools in the contest.

What kind of surprises? A very big one indeed: Santa Clara outscored every other U.S. team save one, beating out the likes of MIT and Cornell, to finish third in the international competition. The judging itself took place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., over one week in October, with final results announced Oct. 19. The “solar village” of entries from 20 universities from the U.S. and internationally drew some 200,000 visitors—as well as the attention of Fortune 500 companies interested in how the students designed and built houses meant to be energy self-sufficient, attractive, and affordable.

Each entry was judged on 10 different criteria, and the competition included a battery of scored tests, adding up to a total of 1,200 possible points. The German Technishsche Universitat Darmstadt captured first place with 1,024 points. The University of Maryland took second with 999 points. Santa Clara scored 979 points, finishing first in two categories, second in three categories, and in the top 10 of all categories save “Architecture.”

We’ll have details in the next issue of SCM. In the meantime, check out the SCU Solar Decathlon site and other news stories. —SBS & DA


A new dean for engineering

M. Godfrey Mungal. Photo: Charles Barry
M. Godfrey Mungal
Photo: Charles Barry


M. Godfrey Mungal, the new dean of Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering, describes himself as “a teacher who does research,” so he feels he’ll be a great match for SCU’s teaching scholar model of education. “Engineering fits so well with the Jesuit tradition of being able to change the world,” he says. Born in Trinidad, Mungal earned his Ph.D. in aeronautics from Cal Tech and has spent his career focused on turbulence and thermosciences. Before joining the SCU family, he spent more than 20 years at Stanford University, serving as a professor of mechanical engineering, associate dean, associate chair, and director of the High Temperature Gasdynamics Laboratory. He is the author or co-author of more than 150 papers and has won several teaching and advising awards, including Stanford’s Tau Beta Pi award for excellence in undergraduate engineering teaching. Mungal began his duties here Sept. 5, meeting with engineering faculty and getting his bearings before the start of the quarter, but even before that, he was taking in the engineering atmosphere. He was able to tour SCU’s house under construction for the national Solar Decathlon before it shipped to Washington, D.C., describing it as a “tremendous project.”

As dean, Mungal will seek ways to promote the University’s goals of increasing enrollment in the undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, and forming partnerships within the Silicon Valley community to enrich the curricula.

Although the job is new, Mungal is already quite familiar with what it means to be a Bronco. One of his daughters is a 2004 alumna; the other is an SCU sophomore. —SS & DA


New program in bioengineering

Hands-on par work: par for the course in bioengineering. Photo: Charles Barry
Hands-on work: par for the course in bioengineering
Photo: Charles Barry

Bioengineering has the potential to drastically improve the lives of millions in the years ahead. And thanks to a new program jointly developed by the School of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences, Santa Clara undergrads now have a program specifically designed to prepare them for work in a field that has become the fastest-growing segment of engineering today.

At SCU, Electrical Engineering Chair Samiha Mourad led a task force composed of faculty from both schools to establish the new program, which is designed to prepare students for careers in the medical-device and biotechnology industries, biomedical research, graduate studies in bioengineering, or entry into medical school. The curriculum integrates engineering analysis and design with the necessary background in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics.

Professor Timothy Hight, program advisor and mechanical engineering chair, cites SCU’s Silicon Valley location as an ideal spot to study bioengineering, given that the region is home to some of the most innovative biotechnology and medical device companies in the world. “The opportunity for internships and hands-on industrial and technical experience here is remarkable,” he notes.

Find out more about the program.HW




Introducing the international studies minor

Economic, social, and public health problems have a tendency not to respect national boundaries. And so to study these problems requires a broader focus. Enter the new international studies minor for Santa Clara undergrads in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Leavey School of Business.

Students can choose between an area studies emphasis with a focus on Africa, Europe, or Latin America or a thematic emphasis with a focus on a topic, such as poverty and development, international human rights, or peace studies.

Learn more about the program.SBS 


Going global 

OneWorld magazine

We are always pleased to see writers make their first foray into the world of print magazines. Especially when the effort includes poignant images and stories from SCU students and recent alumni, as you’ll find assembled for the inaugural issue of OneWorld magazine, published in May. The alternately heartbreaking and inspiring stories traverse the globe from Tijuana to Thailand. — JC   




Granny Gangbusters

Church and civic leaders in Salinas have turned to a new team of experts to combat gang violence. Eliot Ness and the Untouchables they’re not. You won’t find them riding shotgun in squad cars on patrol, either. So who exactly are they? The abuelitas.

Abuelita is a term of endearment for grandmother in Spanish. Now the grandmothers of Salinas are being asked to use their influence within extended families and the larger community to inspire youth to end gang activity. To help launch the program, Bishop Richard Garcia of the Monterey Diocese and Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue turned to SCU’s Sister Ana María Pineda, R.S.M.

Pineda, who was born in El Salvador, joined the Santa Clara University faculty in 1997 and teaches courses on Hispanic spirituality and theology. She is also past director of the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries. This summer, Pineda was honored by the Mexican American Community Services Agency for being one of the 100 Most Influential Latinos of Silicon Valley. SCU colleague Francisco Jiménez, professor of modern languages and literatures, was honored as well. They were two of only 10 educators so recognized.

For the inaugural abuelitas workshop this past July at the Church of St. Mary of the Nativity in east Salinas, Pineda served as facilitator and delivered the keynote address—with the goal of inspiring her audience and reminding the grandmothers that they could be a powerful force in curtailing gangs.

Fractured families

Someone to look up to: a Salinas woman attending the first abuelitas workshop
Someone to look up to: a Salinas woman attending the first abuelitas workshop
Photo: Kevin Drabinski

The Salinas Valley has been afflicted with gang violence for decades, and today the issue is frequently met with feelings of cynicism and fear. Salinas’s agricultural-based economy attracts a large number of migrant workers who are often forced to separate for work. These fractured families can make children feel torn between cultures, isolated, and often lacking in direct supervision—ingredients that can easily lead youth to join a gang.

The Observer, the newsletter of the diocese of Monterey, reported that dozens attended the first abuelitas workshop—most of them who either knew a gang member or someone killed as a result of gang violence. Grandmothers frequently fill the space left by an absent parent, becoming primary caregivers and keeping families together.

Seeing the future: a woman and child at the Salinas meeting. Photo: Kevin Drabinski
Seeing the future: a woman and child at the Salinas meeting
Photo: Kevin Drabinski

“Women often provide knowledge of cultural identity,” Pineda says. “In the Latino community especially, grandmothers pass on to their children and grandchildren religious and cultural traditions.”

In preparing for the workshop, Pineda spoke with Santa Clara students from her courses. They told her that some powerful examples she had shared with them seemed to offer lessons here, too: stories of women who, in the face of intolerable oppression and violence, found creative ways to turn the tide. Among them: the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina—whose children were “disappeared” under the dictatorship between 1976-83.

In Salinas, Pineda asked her audience to find ways they can make who they are and what they believe in a force for greater good. The abuelitas drew inspiration from each other, brainstorming ways to set strong examples—be it leading a drug-free life, praying, encouraging involvement in sports and groups like Boy Scouts, or working to provide each child in the city with a library card and supporting reading. And they left with a stronger sense of affecting change within their community—with more gatherings planned.

So where did the idea of tapping the abuelitas originate? Bishop Garcia said he was inspired by conversations with prison inmates about the positive role that grandmothers played in their lives.

As for asking the abuelitas to step up, Pineda offers a counter to the old adage that you’re never too old to learn. “You’re never too old to educate someone,” she says. —EE


An aria for San Ignacio

In true operatic fashion, “San Ignacio de Loyola” is a story about love and faith, courage, and temptation. To underscore the epic nature of this tale, angels and demons mount the stage. ¡Qué tormento! laments San Ignacio in his opening lines—sung in a special one-night performance at the Mission Church on Oct. 12.

In this story, we know that good shall triumph and that St. Ignatius’ companion, Francis Xavier, will carry on the Jesuit mission in places to which Ignatius cannot go. And, thanks to a discovery of a manuscript in the remote Bolivian Church of the Immaculate Conception in 1986, we see—and hear—how the story came to life in performances in the Jesuit missions of the Province of Paraguay three centuries ago.

St. Ignatius (Randall K. Wing) sings in Mission Santa Clara. Photo: Sophie Asmar
St. Ignatius (Randall K. Wong) sings in Mission Santa Clara.
Photo: Sophie Asmar


The opera was directed by Michael Zampelli, S.J., associate professor of theatre and dance at SCU. In spring 2006, for the Jesuit Jubilee, he directed performances in Rome, and he’s headed up productions elsewhere stateside. But this is the West Coast premiere for “San Ignacio,” and having it performed in a Mission church is, Zampelli says, a kind of homecoming.

“San Ignacio” is a missionary opera—originally performed by and for the Chiquitos, indigenous people of South America. It was composed in Spanish and, in its original form, included a parallel drama in the Chiquitanian dialect. The music was composed by Domenico Zipoli, S.J., (1688-1726), Martin Schmid, S.J., (1694-1772), and a third anonymous composer. The libretto was written by two unknown Spanish Jesuits.

When it comes to the look and feel of this baroque chamber opera, it’s another homecoming for SCU’s Department of Theatre and Dance—whose talents have been on display in the opera performances already given in other cities and countries. Costumes were designed by Associate Professor Barbara Murray ’73 and sewn under the direction of Joanne Martin, who supervises the department costume shop. Jerald Enos, founding director of SCU’s Center of Performing Arts, oversaw stage and set design.

“It’s a jewel of a piece,” says Zampelli—one created amid a confluence of cultures, offering a message of understanding and hope. —SBS


Check your sources, lest you come to grief

For the past seven years, grief counseling has been getting a bad rap. Scientific literature has often called it weakly effective or even potentially harmful to clients. But a new review of such literature, co-authored by SCU counseling psychology professor Dale G. Larson, now calls these claims unfounded.

The review looked at the origins of a widely-cited research summary that claimed 38 percent of clients and nearly 50 percent of “normal” grievers deteriorated with grief counseling. The source, it turns out, was unpublished data and a non-peer-reviewed student thesis. Not the ideal basis for making sweeping conclusions.

But this research summary, published in 2000, was cited in later articles, suggesting that those authors never read the student dissertation itself, while still spreading its negative conclusions. When Larson and his co-author William T. Hoyt of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, had experts peer-review the dissertation, they found its statistical analysis for basing its deterioration claims was seriously flawed. Larson and Hoyt’s review is in the August 2007 issue of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

Recently, Larson was also the recipient of the 2007 Hospice Award of Excellence, presented by Hospice of Northeastern Illinois. The award is given to individuals or organizations that have made a significant difference in the arena of hospice care on a regional, state, or national level. —JC  


Pre-emptive sit-down strike

Class participation: Lecturer Sarita Tamayo-Moraga, center, with students in the St. Francis de Asís Chapel. Those practicing Buddhist meditation take the floor, while those practicing Christian centering prayer use the chairs. Photo: Charles Barry
Class participation: Lecturer Sarita Tamayo-Moraga, center, with students in the St. Francis de Asís Chapel. Those practicing Buddhist meditation take the floor, while those practicing Christian centering prayer use the chairs.
Photo: Charles Barry

Look at religions in practice across the globe today, and too often the outcome of faith traditions at odds seems to be mayhem and terror. But juxtapose that with the writings of Trappist monk Thomas Merton: “Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.” Therein resides some hope that religious practice can in fact overcome violence.

Sarita Tamayo-Moraga and Philip “Boo” Riley, respectively lecturer and associate professor of religious studies, saw students’ frustrations with an increasingly violent world and answered it by creating an experimental course in Buddhist and Christian meditation. In addition to classroom study, the course offers techniques that give students a hands-on (or rather, mats-on) experience.

After teaching two spring courses in conjunction with SCU’s Local Religion Project, Tamayo-Moraga, along with a Zen guru and Catholic teacher, will give a final course this spring. Students read works by Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the best-known Buddhist monks in the West, as well as others. But it’s clear in this class, Tamayo-Moraga says, that students are walking away with a better understanding of these religious traditions through active engagement.

Does this mean students are trying to pray their way to world peace? Not exactly. While meditating, students reflect on real world issues both large and small: the war on terror, what it would be like to live in a war zone, acts of compassion and generosity, or conflict with a friend or family member. This being college, students’ coursework and participation in upcoming sporting events get attention, too.

In both Zen and Christian traditions, the outcome of this kind of contemplation is supposed to lead to action, transforming suffering in our world by creating more mindful, self-aware, and compassionate people—while issuing a call to action to help those in pain.

The majority of students say they have left the class seeing their contemplative life as a resource for making difficult decisions in a non-reactive way, especially when it comes to making choices that might be unpopular, such as supporting (or not supporting) the war in Iraq, personal issues such as going against the wishes of a loved one—and even centering themselves before taking tests come finals week.—EE