Santa Clara University

Located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, Santa Clara University is a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university with more than 8,900 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 to be in solidarity and service of others—run deep in all of its curricular and co-curricular programs.

Santa Clara University is perennially ranked among the top comprehensive universities by U.S. News & World Report and has one of the highest graduation rates for undergraduate students among all comprehensive universities. The University has a national reputation for its undergraduate program that features a distinctive core curriculum, an integrated learning environment, and research opportunities for undergraduate students.

The University was established as Santa Clara College on the site of 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 admission 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, erecting eight residence halls, a student union, and an athletic stadium. In 1985, the University adopted “Santa Clara University” as its official name.