Chapter 1: Santa Clara University

Located in the heart of California's Silicon Valley, Santa Clara University is a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university with more than 8,800 students. Founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus, California's oldest operating higher education institution offers a rigorous undergraduate curriculum in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus nationally recognized graduate and professional programs in business, law, engineering, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministries, and theology. The University boasts a diverse community of scholars offering a values-oriented curriculum characterized by small class sizes and a dedication to educating students for competence, conscience, and compassion. The traditions of Jesuit education--educating the whole person for a life of service--run deep in all of its curricular and co-curricular programs.

The University was established as Santa Clara College on the site of the Mission Santa Clara de Asís, the eighth of the original 21 California missions. The college originally operated as a preparatory school and did not offer collegiate courses until 1853. Following the Civil War, enrollment increased, and by 1875 the size of the student body was 275. One-third of the students were enrolled in the collegiate division; the remainder attended the college’s preparatory and high school departments.

Santa Clara experienced slow and steady growth during its first 60 years, becoming the University of Santa Clara in 1912, when the schools of engineering and law were added. In 1925, the high school was separated from the University and took the name of Bellarmine College Preparatory in 1928. The Leavey School of Business opened in 1926, and within a decade, became one of the first business schools in the country to receive national accreditation.

For 110 years, Santa Clara was an all-male school. In the fall of 1961, women were accepted as undergraduates, and Santa Clara became the first coeducational Catholic university in California. The decision resulted in an admissions explosion—from 1,500 students to more than 5,000. The size of the faculty tripled, and the University began the largest building program in school history, building eight residence halls, a student union, and an athletic stadium. In 1985, the University adopted “Santa Clara University” as its official name.

University Vision, Mission And Fundamental Values

Santa Clara University has adopted three directional statements to describe the kind of university it aspires to become (Strategic Vision), its core purpose and the constituencies it serves (University Mission), and the beliefs that guide its actions (Fundamental Values).

Strategic Vision

Santa Clara University will educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion, and cultivate knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world.

University Mission

The University pursues its vision by creating an academic community that educates the whole person within the Jesuit, Catholic tradition, making student learning our central focus, continuously improving our curriculum and co-curriculum, strengthening our scholarship and creative work, and serving the communities of which we are a part in Silicon Valley and around the world.

Fundamental Values

The University is committed to these core values, which guide us in carrying out our mission and realizing our vision:

Academic Excellence. We seek an uncompromising standard of excellence in teaching, learning, creativity, and scholarship within and across disciplines.

Search for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. We prize scholarship and creative work that advance human understanding, improve teaching and learning, and add to the betterment of society by illuminating the most significant problems of the day and exploring the enduring mysteries of life. In this search, our commitment to academic freedom is unwavering.

Commitment to Students. As teachers and scholars, mentors and facilitators, we endeavor to educate the whole person. We nurture and challenge students--intellectually, spiritually, aesthetically, morally, socially, and physically–-preparing them for leadership and service to the common good in their professional, civic, and personal lives.

Service to Others. We promote throughout the University a culture of service—service not only to those who study and work at Santa Clara but also to society in general and to its most disadvantaged members as we work with and for others to build a more humane, just, faith-filled, and sustainable world.

Community and Diversity. We cherish our diverse and inclusive community of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni, a community that is enriched by people of different backgrounds, respectful of the dignity of all its members, enlivened by open communication, and caring and just toward others.

Jesuit Distinctiveness. We treasure our Jesuit heritage and tradition, which incorporates all of these core values. This tradition gives expression to our Jesuit educational mission and Catholic identity while also welcoming and respecting other religious and philosophical traditions, promoting the dialogue between faith and culture, and valuing opportunities to deepen religious beliefs.

Academic Programs

Santa Clara University offers undergraduate degrees leading to the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), and Bachelor of Science in Commerce. The College of Arts and Sciences offers the B.A. degree and the B.S. degree in 33 subject areas and includes the graduate program in pastoral ministries, through which it offers the master of arts (M.A.) degree in catechetic, pastoral liturgy, spirituality, and liturgical music. The Leavey School of Business offers the B.S. degree in commerce with majors in subject areas. The School of Engineering offers a B.S. degree with majors in seven subject areas. A variety of interdisciplinary and discipline-based minors are also offered for undergraduates.

The School of Law offers programs leading to the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.). J.D. students may earn certificates of specialization in high technology law, international law, and public interest and social justice law. LL.M. students may earn master of laws in intellectual property or U.S. law. A broad curriculum also includes business and commercial law, taxation, criminal law and trial advocacy, environmental law, estate planning, labor law, health law, legal writing and research, as well as opportunities for externships, clinical work, and professional skill development.

The Leavey School of Business offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with coursework in accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, and operations management and information systems (OMIS). The MBA can be done part-time on campus and online. The business school also offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS), business analytics, online in marketing, or finance & analytics. We also offer a 4+1 degree aimed at seniors for our MS programs in information systems, business analytics, and finance & analytics. In conjunction with the law school, the business school also offers joint degree programs leading to a J.D./MBA and J.D./MSIS.

The School of Engineering offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) degree in aerospace engineering; applied mathematics; bioengineering; civil engineering; computer science and engineering; electrical and computer engineering; engineering management and leadership; mechanical engineering; robotics and automation and power systems and sustainable energy; and the Engineer’s Degree in computer science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering. The Engineering school also offers the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in computer science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering.

The two departments in the School of Education and Counseling Psychology offer credential and graduate programs. The Department of Education focuses on preparing teachers and administrators for public and Catholic schools. It offers programs in teacher preparation leading to credentials (e.g., California preliminary multiple-subject and single-subject teaching credentials, and California Clear credential) and the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree. Its programs in educational administration prepare public K–12 administrators for credentials (e.g., the Preliminary California Administrative Services credential and the California Clear Administrative Services credential), and Catholic school leaders through the certificate program in Catholic School Leadership. The department also offers an M.A. program in Interdisciplinary Education (with emphasis in curriculum and instruction; science, technology, environmental education, and mathematics [STEEM]; and educational administration). The departments of Education and Counseling Psychology jointly offer the certificate program in Alternative and Correctional Education. The Department of Counseling Psychology offers two degree programs: M.A. in counseling psychology and M.A. in counseling. The M.A. in counseling psychology can lead to state licensure for marriage and family therapists and/or licensed professional clinical counselors. The department includes emphasis programs in health, correctional, and Latinx counseling.

The Jesuit School of Theology (JST) is one of only two Jesuit theological centers in the United States operated by the Society of Jesus, as the order of Catholic priests is known. It is one of only two Jesuit theological centers in the country that offer three ecclesiastical degrees certified by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, and it also offers four advanced theological degrees certified by the Association of Theological Schools. In addition, JST offers a spiritual renewal program for clergy, religious, and lay people, and conducts an annual Instituto Hispano that offers a certificate program to advance Hispanic leadership in the pastoral life of the church.

Centers of Distinction

Santa Clara University has three Centers of Distinction that serve as major points of interaction between the University and local and global communities. Each center focuses on a theme that is central to Santa Clara’s distinctive mission as a Jesuit university and offers an educational environment integrating rigorous inquiry and scholarship, creative imagination, reflective engagement with society, and a commitment to fashioning a more humane and just world. Each center engages faculty and students from different disciplines as well as experts and leaders from the community through speakers, conferences, workshops, and experiential learning opportunities.

Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship

The mission of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is to accelerate entrepreneurship to end global poverty for the next generation. We fuse the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley with the University's Jesuit heritage of service to the poor and protection of the planet, catalyzing innovative, sustainable solutions to poverty, and guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through an array of programs, including our signature Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI™) accelerator program and award-winning Global Social Benefit Fellowship (GSBF), the Center engages an international network of social enterprises, investment capital, and technical resources to build the capacity of the global social entrepreneurship movement. As a Center of Distinction at Santa Clara University, we offer faculty and students real-world case studies, distinctive curricula, and unique opportunities for research, fellowships, and internships --- advancing the University's vision of creating a more just, humane, and sustainable world with a uniquely Silicon Valley flavor.

Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education

The Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education promotes and enhances the distinctively Jesuit, Catholic tradition of education at Santa Clara University, with a view toward serving students, faculty, staff, and through them the larger community, both local and global. The Ignatian Center achieves this mission chiefly through four signature programs:

  • The Bannan Forum provides year-long thematic programs, including academic events and scholarly activities that further the Jesuit, Catholic character of the University.
  • Arrupe Engagement, a community-based learning program, places over 1,200 students each year with community partners, frequently in connection with an academic course.
  • Thriving Neighbors extends the community-based learning experience by engaging teaching, scholarship, and sustainable development that links Santa Clara University with the predominantly Latino Greater Washington community in San Jose, CA.
  • The Immersion programs offer students, during academic breaks, the opportunity to experience local, domestic, and international communities with little access to wealth, power, and privilege.
  • The Ignatian Worldview program offers experiences grounded in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius to members of the community to encounter the spiritual sources of the Jesuit tradition.

Through these four programs, the Ignatian Center aspires to be recognized throughout Silicon Valley and beyond as providing leadership for the integration of faith, justice, and intellectual life.

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics brings the traditions of ethical thinking to bear on real-world problems. Our mission is to engage individuals and organizations in making choices that respect and care for others. Beyond a full range of events, grants, and fellowships for the Santa Clara University community, the Center serves professionals in business, education, health care, government, journalism, and the social sector--providing training, programs, and roundtables that explore the ethical challenges in the field. In addition, we focus on ethical issues in leadership, technology, and the internet. Through our website and international collaborations, we also bring ethical decision-making resources to the wider world.


Santa Clara University’s emphasis on a community of scholars and integrated education attracts faculty members who are as committed to students’ intellectual and moral development as they are pursuing their own scholarship. The University’s 694 full-time faculty members are distinguished teachers and scholars. Examples of awards received by SCU faculty include: Fulbright, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and National Endowment for the Arts. Additionally, our faculty are acclaimed authors, scientists and theorists in their fields.


Santa Clara University has over 100,000 alumni living around the world--in all 50 states and more than 100 countries. More than half of the alumni live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where many are leaders in business, law, engineering, academia, and public service. These graduates connect with one another and the current campus community by engaging with over 45 different groups organized around identity, industry, and location.


The University is located on a 106-acre campus in the city of Santa Clara near the southern end of the San Francisco Bay in one of the world’s great cultural centers. More than 50 buildings on campus house 15 student residences, a main library, a law library, two student centers, the de Saisset Museum, extensive performing arts and athletic facilities, and a recreation and fitness center.

Santa Clara’s campus has the advantage of being located in Silicon Valley—a region known for its extraordinary visionaries, who have designed and created some of the most significant scientific and technological advances of our age. Silicon Valley is more than a location—it is a mindset and home to more than 3 million residents and 6,600 science- and technology-related companies, (not including San Francisco, which is located just an hour away).

Santa Clara’s campus is well known for its beauty and Mission-style architecture. Opened in 2013, the brick-paved Abby Sobrato Mall leads visitors from the University’s main entrance to the heart of campus—the Mission Santa Clara de Asís. The rose gardens and palm and olive trees of the Mission Gardens surround the historic Mission Church, which was restored in 1928. The adjacent Adobe Lodge is the oldest building on campus. In 1981, it was restored to its 1822 decor.

Academic Facilities

Amid all this beauty and history are modern, world-class academic facilities. Students study and thrive in places such as the Joanne E. Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Family Technology Center and Orradre Library where individuals and groups can study in an inviting, light-filled, and open environment. Notably, the library features an Automated Retrieval System, a high-density storage area where up to 900,000 books and other publications can be stored and retrieved using robotic-assisted technology.

Another example of Santa Clara’s excellent academic facilities is Lucas Hall, home of the Leavey School of Business. This modern 85,000-square-foot building houses classrooms, meeting rooms, offices, study spaces, and a café. Classrooms are equipped with state-of-the-art videoconferencing equipment as well as a multiplatform system to record faculty lectures for later review by students. Vari Hall (formerly Arts and Sciences) adjacent to Lucas Hall is home to the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics as well as academic departments, classrooms, and a 2,200-square-foot digital television studio—among the best found on any campus nationwide.

University Library & Learning Commons

The Santa Clara University Library & Learning Commons is a central hub for students to study and collaborate. The Learning Commons has a mix of both individual and group seating, group study rooms, computer labs, outside patios, as well as a café on the first floor. Throughout the year, the University Library hosts events, art exhibits, and late-night hours. Library staff are available to support student research. You can contact library staff in person at the Library Help Desk, by making an appointment online, or through our 24/7 chat service, "Ask a Librarian." The Library's Archives & Special Collections provides access to rare books, manuscripts, historic photos, and artifacts. Library resources, which can be accessed within the Learning Commons and remotely, include an online catalog (OSCAR), over 250 general and subject-specific databases, research guides for many subjects and classes, and interlibrary loan programs. The library's collection includes books, ebooks, magazines, newspapers and journals, streaming videos, and more.

Schott Admission and Enrollment Services Building

Located near Vari Hall is the Schott Admission and Enrollment Services Building, a welcome center for campus visitors and home to several University departments. Opened in 2012, the lobby of this LEED Gold equivalent structure includes technology-infused exhibits that illustrate Santa Clara's Jesuit mission.

Among other green features on campus are two solar-powered homes built in 2007 and 2009 for the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon. Both homes now serve as laboratories for solar and sustainability technologies.

Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation

The Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation comprises Heafey Hall, Bergin Hall, and the new 270,000 square-foot building, Sobrato Discovery. The Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation (SCDI) is the home to the School of Engineering and many of the science departments of the College of Arts and Sciences. SCDI has classrooms, an Innovation Zone, teaching and research labs, engineering and science shops, faculty and staff offices, collaboration spaces, and a café. The Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and the Frugal Innovation Hub also find their new homes in this state of the art building. The central landscaped courtyard and rooftop terraces provide excellent places for gathering, which makes this new building a great addition to the heart of the campus.

Student Life

The Robert F. Benson Memorial Center serves as a hub for campus life. The Benson Memorial Center offers dining services and houses the campus bookstore, student and administrative offices, lounges,and meeting rooms. The University’s main dining hall, The Marketplace, resembles an upscale food court with numerous stations and options. For a more informal experience, The Bronco is the Benson Center’s late-night venue, serving beverages and pub-style food.

Another hotspot for student life, the Paul L. Locatelli, S.J., Student Activity Center includes a 6,000-square-foot gathering hall with a high ceiling that can accommodate dances and concerts as well as pre- and post-game activities. Designed with environmental sensitivity, the building is energy efficient and has daytime lighting controls and motion sensors to maximize use of natural light. For fitness-minded students, the Pat Malley Fitness and Recreation Center features a 9,500-square-foot weight training and cardiovascular exercise room, three basketball courts, a swimming pool, and other facilities to support the recreational and fitness needs of the campus community.

The campus features many locations for quiet reflection as well, such as the St. Clare Garden, which features plants and flowers arranged into five groups to portray the stages of the saint’s life. For campus members who want a more hands-on relationship with nature, the Forge Garden, SCU’s half-acre organic garden, serves as a campus space for course research, service learning, and sustainable food production.

Athletics And The Arts

The importance of athletics to the University is evident everywhere on campus. Among the newest additions to Santa Clara's athletics facilities are the Stephen Schott Stadium, home field for the men's baseball team, and the state-of-the-art Stevens Soccer Training Center, funded by a gift from Mary and Mark Stevens. The gift also allowed Santa Clara to upgrade the stands in Stevens Stadium (formerly Buck Shaw Stadium), home to the men's and women's soccer programs, and build a plaza to celebrate Bronco sports---its past, present, and future. The plaza celebrates the history of Santa Clara University football as well as the legacy and future of men's and women's soccer at SCU. Bellomy Field, eight acres of well-lit and grassy playing fields, provides space for club and intramural sports, such as rugby and field hockey. Adjacent to Bellomy Field is the well-appointed women's softball field, which opened in 2013. The Leavey Event Center houses the University's premier basketball facility. Over the years, the Leavey Event Center has hosted nine West Coast Conference Basketball Championships.

The University recognizes the arts as an important part of life at Santa Clara University. The Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building opened in 2016, housing an integrated fine arts program that is a destination and a center for inspiration, innovation, and engagement in the arts and art history in Silicon Valley. An important arts destination in the Bay Area, the Department of Art and Art History's gallery exhibits artwork from a diverse group of established and emerging artists, and provides a dynamic teaching and learning resource for faculty, staff, students and the community. The de Saisset Museum, the University's accredited museum of art and history, presents changing art exhibitions throughout the year and serves as the caretaker of the University's California History Collection, which includes artifacts from the Native American, Mission, and early Santa Clara College periods.

SCU•Presents represents the University's commitment to the performing arts on campus, which includes performances at venues such as the Louis B. Mayer Theatre, the Fess Parker Studio Theatre, and the Music Recital Hall. The Mayer Theatre is Santa Clara University's premier theatrical venue, housing 500 intimate seats in either a flexible proscenium or thrust-stage setting. The Fess Parker Studio Theatre has no fixed stage or seating. Its black box design, complete with movable catwalks, provides flexibility in an experimental setting. The 250-seat Music Recital Hall provides a contemporary setting where students, faculty, and guest artists offer a variety of performances.

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