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Department ofReligious Studies


Connor Holttum

Connor Holttum

Connor Holttum '18 - Service in Action

“What do you plan to do after graduation?” was an all-too-common question as a student of the Religious Studies and Philosophy departments at Santa Clara. I didn’t know the answer, but my time in the Religious Studies department instilled a strong desire to make a positive impact with my life. I’ve spent the three years since graduation trying to find what that might be, and the search has taken me through a variety of experiences. Serving upscale diners in a Michelin Star restaurant in Palo Alto, selling marketing technology for a San Francisco startup, wilderness trail maintenance in Southwest Colorado, teaching children to ski in one of Colorado’s most notable resorts, and most recently, fighting wildfires in Northeastern Washington.

With each new experience, I’ve moved closer to answering the call to service that echoes from my time at Santa Clara. As a wildland firefighter, I’ve been able to combine my desire to care for my fellow human beings and the environment with work that is exciting and fulfilling. On particularly hard days, it’s helpful to reflect on what a blessing it is to be able to serve in such a tangible and important way. Though the journey to discover my calling in life hasn’t always been an easy one, it’s one I’m immensely grateful to be on.

As the holidays, and the period of reflection that winter offers draw near, I look back on my time at Santa Clara with gratitude. Without the teaching, encouragement, and inspiration from my classmates and the faculty at Santa Clara University, I may have never taken the first steps towards leading a life I truly love. The lessons and learning opportunities offered to students there have been instrumental in leading a life of service to self, others, and the world at large.

Connor Holttum '18