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Chemistry major and recipient of the 2017 Gerald and Sally DeNardo Senior Prize, Zoe Amaris (center), with bioengineering majors Matt Findlay and Daniel Freitas. All three conducted research in the Chemistry lab of Dr. Korin Wheeler. Photo credit: Anil Kapahi


Dear Alumni, Parents, Friends, and Colleagues,

The end of the academic year is a great time to reflect on what we have accomplished and look forward to what is in store for next year. Most importantly, we celebrate the achievements of our class of 2017 and wish them well as they step into the next stage of their lives. For some students like Michelle Runyon (Spanish and History), this next step is directly into a job. For other grads like Will Thomas (Chemistry), the next step is graduate school. We wish all of our graduates every success and welcome them to the wonderful family of SCU alumni.

We declared 2016-17 as SCU's “Year of the Arts,” and what a year it was! The opening of the beautiful Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building, home to our department artists and art historians, brings new opportunities to our University and the local community. While Studio Art seniors exhibited their work in the building's impressive gallery and we hosted our first Visiting Artist, Amer Kobaslija, Art Historian James Elkins gave the inaugural Visiting Scholar lecture followed by a faculty seminar and visits throughout the department. In addition, students and faculty from a variety of disciplines began working on projects using virtual reality (VR) technology in the Imaginarium space.

Our inaugural Frank Sinatra Artists-in-Residence were the Silk Road Ensemble, whose album, Sing Me Home, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, won the 2017 Grammy for Best World Music Album. Several members of the Ensemble visited SCU throughout the year, engaging our students in classes and rehearsals. Even better, several of our very gifted students and faculty performed on stage with the global musicians.

We also welcomed Anna Deavere Smith, our inaugural Frank Sinatra Scholar-Artist-in-Residence and winner of the 2017 George Polk Career Award, one of the top awards in journalism. Smith performed several times on campus and worked with faculty and students in the Department of Theatre and Dance on Welcome to Claradise, an original production that utilized Smith's devised theatre technique.

In addition to these talented artists, we hosted Nobel Prize winner (Chemistry, 2012) Brian Kobilka, M.D. as speaker for the Gerald and Sally DeNardo Lectureship and the amazingly talented Lidia Bastianich, for the Vari Italian Symposium. Our Center for the Arts and Humanities launched the Faculty Fellows and Student Fellows programs under the direction of the Center's inaugural director, Dennis Gordon (Political Science).

As we look forward to the next academic year, we are very excited to launch a new contest centered in the Imaginarium. The Imagine That! design challenge will engage teams in virtual reality supported by Silicon Valley industry experts. This will be a great opportunity for our students to learn new technology and apply those skills – and their own creativity – to problems we face today. I can’t wait to see what they do.

Thanks to all who have supported this great work. Please make sure to stay connected with us—we would love to see you on campus!

Debbie Tahmassebi, Dean

Next Step from the Class of 2017

Michelle Runyon Michelle Runyon, Spanish and History, will continue working in SCU's University Archives and Special Collections and interning with the County of Santa Clara as she prepares to apply to graduate school. 
Paul Kenniston 

Paul Kenniston, Religious Studies and Philosophy, is venturing to Yuyao, China to study in a Buddhist monastic retreat and applying to the Fulbright program.

Grace Chesmore 

Grace Chesmore, Physics, will begin a Ph.D. program in Physics at the University of Michigan where she will be working in an Astrophysics lab.

Sophie Meyer 

Sophie Meyer, Political Science and French, is pursuing a one-year Master's degree at Oxford University in England before applying for a fellowship with the California State Assembly.

Will Thomas 

Will Thomas, Chemistry, is attending UC Irvine next year to pursue a Master’s degree or Ph.D. in Chemistry.

Jessica Jara 

Jessica Jara, Public Health, will start a Master's degree program this fall in Public Health at UCLA.

Zipporah Ridley 

Zipporah Ridley, History and Ethnic Studies, will be a Case Manager with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Syracuse, New York, advocating for the formerly incarcerated.

Madeleine Fawcett 

Madeleine Fawcett, English, will be attending the Summer Institute for General Management at Stanford University and then working at Bite Communication in San Francisco in the fall.

Read more about all these students.

 Alumni Spotlight

Witold Krassowski

As Sociology prepares to welcome a new chair, the Department's first graduate, Ron Andersen '60, reflects on the program's founder, Dr. Witold Krassowski (pictured above).

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 Featured Faculty

Chris Bacon, Environmental Studies and Sciences, tackles various effects of climate change in Nicaragua with a multidisciplinary team of students, faculty, and alumni.

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Fall Classes Begin
Grand Reunion: Sculpture Garden Dedication
1PM | Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building
Grand Reunion: College of Arts and Sciences Reception
6 PM | Vari Hall Patio and Foyer

Santa Clara University
College of Arts and Sciences
500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053
Phone: 408.554.4455

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