Drs. Sally and Gerald DeNardo ’54 Honored

On August 13, 2015, Santa Clara’s Sacramento Alumni Chapter presented the Santa Claran of the Year Award to Drs. Sally and Gerald DeNardo ’54. The award recognizes leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion whose accomplishments reflect favorably on the Alumni Association, the Sacramento community, and the University.

During the event, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Debbie Tahmassebi highlighted the DeNardos’ long-standing commitment to academic excellence, to informed ethical discourse and to social justice and service to others – all Jesuit values that motivated them to raise the profile of the health sciences at Santa Clara about 10 years ago.

Inspired by Santa Clara’s teacher-scholar model and by the rigorous, yet innovative, learning opportunities for its undergraduates, the DeNardos created the DeNardo Lectureship, featuring eminent speakers inspired by purpose; Science Research Scholars, inspired by a culture of intellectual collaboration with faculty mentors; and the Senior Prize, to recognize outstanding science research accomplishment by a graduating senior pursuing a career in the health sciences.

In the eight years of the Lectureship, Santa Clara has hosted three Nobel Laureates: Paul Berg, Stanley Prusiner, and Elizabeth Blackburn; the Director of Global Health for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Regina Rabinovich; former Commissioner of the FDA, David Kessler; award-winning author and even more importantly, beloved physician, Abraham Verghese; as well as rising research stars and physicians, Jay Bradner and Dena Dubal. On April 26, 2016, Santa Clara will welcome pioneering physician and global philanthropist, Dr. Larry Brilliant.

Also, in the eight years of the Lectureship, there have been nine Senior Prize winners and 18 students who have had the opportunity to be personally mentored by our own Santa Clara faculty. More than a quarter of a million dollars has been invested to nourish the hearts and the minds of some of our most outstanding young men and women—those who showed promise of going on to use their extraordinary intellectual gifts to fashion a more humane and just world. Indeed, of the 22 DeNardo Research Scholar alumni and Senior Prize winners, 14 have gone on to graduate school Ph.D. programs, and seven to medical school—four of whom are now in residency.

Dean Tahmassebi remarked that the DeNardos’ “leadership in creating the Lectureship is a model for others. Without a doubt, it has become one of the most important events for Santa Clara University, and it is fitting that they be recognized and honored for their generosity, passion, and especially for the legacy they have provided for our students.”