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Fr. Coz's Legacy

Fr. Coz was more than a mentor, he was our friend.  While in school, he was the unofficial mascot of the rugby team (as opposed to now being the ruggers' Patron Saint), he was a staunch supporter of the "Blitzin' Redeyes" who went 55-1 over 4 years and never practiced, and, of course, he was the first to call if anyone was ever in need.  In the years since graduating, he married many of us, baptized our babies and, as with many, kept in touch with his wise counsel and sense of humor. We included Cozzie in many of our functions over the years.   

One evening in 2009 at our annual Tahoe get together the subject of the “Pause for Coz” fund came up. By the end of the night, $10,000 was raised in honor Padre. We will all miss him and are very happy that he is getting the recognition that he deserves. Richard (note that we called him by many names; he was one of the guys...) had this tremendous ability to touch so many people and make them feel special. A great man. We all miss him.

Earlier this week, I asked several fellow alumnus and close friends of Father Coz, to offer their perspectives on what he has meant to them.
As expected, the responses alluded to Father Coz’s conservative Republican view, his daily viewing of the Fox News Channel, and the fact that his political views were      under-represented and under-appreciated at the Jesuit Center.
But to a person they all pointed to a deeper side to Father Coz:
Marte Formico said “Father Coz was a spiritual guide. One who really loved his students at Santa Clara University...He was a priest who really connected with people.”
Paul Neilan reminded me that Father Coz was the inspiration and driving force behind the Studies Abroad program in Durham, England. Paul said Father Coz really knew how to communicate with his students and fondly recalled Father Coz teaching the theories of Supply and Demand… for pizza and beer.                                                
To Steve Erbst, Father Coz was the conduit by which he met many wonderful people from Santa Clara. To this day when Steve meets fellow graduates he invariably asks them 2 questions: What was your major and did you know Father Coz? To Steve, Father Coz has been a common denominator that helped transform and develop long lasting relationships.
Bucky Canales poignantly wrote: “Fr. Coz was a great friend and a true shepherd. He was everything that a Jesuit and Priest should be - loyal, caring, challenging, open to listening, forgiving, supportive, and a shepherd in the truest sense of the word. He kept an eye on his flock long after it had moved on to new pastures and was always there when WE came home to seek comfort.”
Father Coz was all of this and more. And yes, he loved to tell stories. He usually started his stories with “stop me if I have told you this story before.” Never waiting for a response.  He loved telling stories about his childhood, going to college in North Carolina, traveling the world, taming the freshman in McLaughlin Hall and his Navy adventures.
Looking back, Father Coz clearly was first and foremost a Jesuit Priest which he loved more than anything else. He loved his vocation, took his vows seriously and lived them fully.
The things he did for us: Taking photographs at football, soccer and rugby games, intramural sporting events, running the Kairos retreats at De La Salle, sending out Christmas Cards, presiding over countless marriages & baptisms, and traveling to Fresno on weekends to say mass… All of these things that he willingly did for us was done to fulfill his life-long commitment to Jesus Christ. And he did it proudly as a Jesuit Priest. That was the foundation upon which he built his life and lived his life.
 
Father Coz was never judgmental (Although, occasionally he would rip a liberal politician…and for good reason). Father Coz was a compassionate, forgiving and loving person. Yet, for all of his work, he never asked for anything in return.
But, as the saying goes, you reap what you sow.  Father Coz sowed the seeds of Christianity from the day he became a Jesuit Priest in 1958 until his passing last week.  As a result since his retirement in 2007 he was able to reap the fruits of his work.
On holidays, friends would have him over for dinner. On his birthday and on St. Patrick’s Day you’d find Father Coz surrounded by friends at CB Hannigan’s.
Routinely, countless friends would provide him with computer equipment & software,    lunches, dinners, visits, letters, phone calls and e-mails.
Further proof of Father Coz’s far reaching support, is the hugely successful Pause for Coz Scholarship Fund, spearheaded by Steve Erbst. Through the generosity of 330 families many of whom are here tonight the fund now exceeds $550,000 and continues to grow. This Fund will help ensure that Fr. Coz’s legacy continues at Santa Clara University.  
Yes, Father Coz has benefited greatly by so many people in so many ways. Yet, in the end he has given us much more than he ever received.
With his passing, the biggest honor we can now bestow upon him is to continue in his footsteps and help others in need in the same way that he has helped us.
Father Coz will be missed by everyone here tonight, but the fond memories he has left behind in his wake will not be forgotten.  May God bless you Father Coz!

Legacy: leg·a·cy (noun)

A gift; something received from a predecessor or from the past.


 

The legacy of generosity and compassion at Santa Clara has manifested itself in many ways – through many people – throughout the years. The Mission Campus is graced with many buildings that bear the names of individuals who have left their legacy through their generosity; others have left their legacy through their support of endowed chairs or scholarships making it possible for worthy students to live the Santa Clara experience.

And then, there are those whose legacy is built merely on kindness and compassion - those who have touched people through their years of service and friendship so deeply that their names will always be synonomous with Santa Clara - Pat Malley, Lou Bannan, Carroll Williams, John Drahman, Pat Carroll – teachers, mentors and friends who taught us more than we could learn in the classroom about what it meant to be people of competence, conscience, and compassion.

When Fr. Richard Coz first joined the Santa Clara community in 1963, he had no idea he would spend the next 36 years of his life building his own legacy; no idea that his genuine interest in his students, his friendship, concern and mentorship would endear him so passionately to thousands of Broncos over the years. Whether it was the development of“Cozinomics,” his ever-present smile at Santa Clara sporting events, the creation and nurturing of the Studies Abroad Program, the always-present lens of Santa Clara’s most famed photographer or simply the fact that Fr. Coz was there – with us – identifying with our problems, our celebrations, our Santa Clara experience, that made him such a beloved presence on the Mission Campus.

Fr. Coz’s friendship and support extended far beyond campus for many, sharing our joy at more than 800 weddings and countless baptisms over the years, always adding his own special touch with a classic Fr. Coz sermon. And come each December, it was Fr. Coz who always remembered us on his Christmas card list with the annual SCUTS photo or a collection of 4x6 black and white photos from years gone by. Sure – we already had five or six copies of those pictures – but the fact he remembered and made the time to send them helped define why Fr. Coz was different – why “Padre” has always been far more than our friend and mentor - he is family.

For so many people, Dick Coz, for so many years, has typified what we all love about Santa Clara. It is about learning in and out of the classroom, it’s about today’s experiences and the joys of celebrating those memories tomorrow; it is about doing the right thing and, more importantly, always doing it with class and dignity. This is the Santa Clara we love because we learned about it Fr. Coz – not just because he taught us that way, but because it is the way he has lived his life.

Fr. Coz has indeed given us all a gift – his legacy – and it is one worthy of being honored. We have all been blessed by the gift of Fr. Coz living his life true to the words of St. Ignatius Loyola:

“Love ought to manifest itself more by deeds than by words.”

Recently, some alumni have mentioned that they thought that administrators forced me to leave SCU. Not the case. When you hit 70, you'll probably understand my thinking. At 70, you begin thinking: are you giving your students what a younger teacher could give them? I figured that the students deserved new ideas and if I were to be useable in any job, I would have to act before I got any older. I decided on high school teaching.

That was more of a change than I had thought. I had taught freshman Latin and English at Bellarmine 1954-55 and I loved it. I had an offer to teach freshman religion and "Ethics in our Economic Life" to Brophy seniors and I took it. I wrote the text for the ethics course.  I enjoyed the whole experience, but my big mouth got me in trouble. (When I was about four years old, I was riding in my grandfather's big black touring car – with running boards, little vases between the doors, etc. I was actually standing next to my grandfather who was driving and like 4 year olds, I was talking incessantly. Finally, my grandfather said, "My God, Dick, you have a big mouth." When I was in the 8th grade, I spent time in front of the mirror wondering if my features had grown to fit my mouth. But when the new administration at Brophy asked the faculty for its honest evaluation, I gave it and I came to understand that I do have a big mouth.)

I searched for a new job. When I called Brother Tom Westburgh, the principal at De La Salle, he said, "You know, we know each other." Bro. Tom was the cousin of my old girl friend. When I got out of the navy, she was a senior at Holy Names and at graduation she took a job teaching in Guam. Anyway, I was at DLS for nine years. I was going to explain my leaving SCU. Some other time!..

For a generation of Santa Clara University graduates, Father Richard Coz was as much a part of college life as classes, Broncos games and the iconic mission at the heart of the campus.

There he was, at fraternity parties, a silent reminder to not get too wild. There he was, looming at rugby and soccer games, camera in hand, snapping pictures he would later hand out during class or mail at Christmastime. Coz also remained a constant presence after graduation, officiating at more than 800 weddings and baptizing hundreds of children of alumni.
Even now, as he recovers from a stroke and heart surgery in a Jesuit retirement home in Los Gatos, he's still in their lives. Former students drop by all the time.
Last spring, SCU graduate Steve Erbst decided to establish a scholarship named after the retired economics professor. He sent out an e-mail to some friends, who passed it onto their friends and so on.

In three months, they raised more than $50,000 -- an amount most scholarship campaigns take nearly a year to reach. Today, the Pause for Coz campaign has topped $150,000 -- a testament to Coz's enduring popularity and a possible model for how the university could run future Internet campaigns, said Charmaine Williams, an associate director in the development office.

The results of the fundraising efforts have pleased Erbst, a Los Gatos resident who graduated in 1988 -- but they haven't surprised him. The sales executive regularly meets fellow Broncos in his work ''and inevitably someone asks, 'Did you know Father Coz?' '' Erbst said. ''It was an instant bond that was bigger than Santa Clara.''

Williams noted that a recent alumni survey asked graduates to name one person from the university who had a ''special impact'' on their college experience. Coz came out in the top five, the only person still living to do so.

Coz came to Santa Clara in 1963, the son of a Catholic father and Baptist mother. He served in the Navy from 1942 to 1946, and entered the Jesuit order a year later. Coz liked ''the sacrifice you had to make to give yourself entirely to the church,'' he said, sitting in his small but tidy bedroom at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, where he keeps boxes of old college photographs.

He had taught English and Latin at Catholic high schools, but the college crowd appealed to him more. The older students made it easier to socialize and were more informal. ''I felt that when they got to know me, they accepted religion more easily,'' said Coz, now 83 and 60 pounds slimmer after a series of health problems.
Officially, he taught economics, or ''Cozinomics'' as history-filled lectures were known. But he also worked in the Study Abroad Program, became a rugby moderator -- ''but rugby is not really moderated,'' he admitted -- and attended numerous football, soccer and intramural sports games with camera in hand. He later developed the pictures in his bedroom.

He also volunteered as chaplain to Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, though -- like rugby -- ''at that age you can't moderate them.'' He attended frat parties nevertheless ''so it wouldn't get that wild.''

Coz recalled one party that proved the priest's philosophy was working. ''I got to the party late. They had already started,'' he paused delicately, ''enjoying themselves.''
The guest of honor was drunk -- it was his 21st birthday -- but managed to corner the priest and say, ''You know how I know God likes me? Because you like me.''

Coz had a deft touch with students and tailored his approach to each one, said Mike Nicoletti, whose brother first recommended that the then-anxious freshman take Coz's class. Coz was a ''fatherly figure as well as an instructor'' to him, Nicoletti said, but took a different approach with Nicoletti's brother, John, who was so unmotivated that he didn't even bother buying the book for one class. ''One day,'' Nicoletti recalled, ''Father Coz came up and said, 'Hey, John, you know those jocks in the class? Every one of them is doing better than you.' ''

Coz retired in 1995, but remains an important part of Nicoletti's life. In 1975, he had recommended Nicoletti for a job in Fresno; Nicoletti is now president of the grain company. Coz officiated at Nicoletti's wedding and baptized his three children. And every Christmas, the priest travels to Fresno to celebrate Mass with the family.

It's those extra touches that have cemented Coz's place in Santa Clara history, said Marte Formico, who graduated in 1983 and still visits Coz weekly. He ''baptized all three of my kids, married me, baptized my stepfather, confirmed my nephew,'' Formico said. ''You can pick a thousand people who graduated SCU. And they have similar stor

  • For a generation of Santa Clara University graduates, Father Richard Coz was as much a part of college life as classes, Broncos games and the iconic mission at the heart of the campus.

    There he was, at fraternity parties, a silent reminder to not get too wild. There he was, looming at rugby and soccer games, camera in hand, snapping pictures he would later hand out during class or mail at Christmastime. Coz also remained a constant presence after graduation, officiating at more than 800 weddings and baptizing hundreds of children of alumni.
    Even now, as he recovers from a stroke and heart surgery in a Jesuit retirement home in Los Gatos, he's still in their lives. Former students drop by all the time.
    Last spring, SCU graduate Steve Erbst decided to establish a scholarship named after the retired economics professor. He sent out an e-mail to some friends, who passed it onto their friends and so on.

    In three months, they raised more than $50,000 -- an amount most scholarship campaigns take nearly a year to reach. Today, the Pause for Coz campaign has topped $150,000 -- a testament to Coz's enduring popularity and a possible model for how the university could run future Internet campaigns, said Charmaine Williams, an associate director in the development office.

    The results of the fundraising efforts have pleased Erbst, a Los Gatos resident who graduated in 1988 -- but they haven't surprised him. The sales executive regularly meets fellow Broncos in his work ''and inevitably someone asks, 'Did you know Father Coz?' '' Erbst said. ''It was an instant bond that was bigger than Santa Clara.''

    Williams noted that a recent alumni survey asked graduates to name one person from the university who had a ''special impact'' on their college experience. Coz came out in the top five, the only person still living to do so.

    Coz came to Santa Clara in 1963, the son of a Catholic father and Baptist mother. He served in the Navy from 1942 to 1946, and entered the Jesuit order a year later. Coz liked ''the sacrifice you had to make to give yourself entirely to the church,'' he said, sitting in his small but tidy bedroom at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, where he keeps boxes of old college photographs.

    He had taught English and Latin at Catholic high schools, but the college crowd appealed to him more. The older students made it easier to socialize and were more informal. ''I felt that when they got to know me, they accepted religion more easily,'' said Coz, now 83 and 60 pounds slimmer after a series of health problems.
    Officially, he taught economics, or ''Cozinomics'' as history-filled lectures were known. But he also worked in the Study Abroad Program, became a rugby moderator -- ''but rugby is not really moderated,'' he admitted -- and attended numerous football, soccer and intramural sports games with camera in hand. He later developed the pictures in his bedroom.

    He also volunteered as chaplain to Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, though -- like rugby -- ''at that age you can't moderate them.'' He attended frat parties nevertheless ''so it wouldn't get that wild.''

    Coz recalled one party that proved the priest's philosophy was working. ''I got to the party late. They had already started,'' he paused delicately, ''enjoying themselves.''
    The guest of honor was drunk -- it was his 21st birthday -- but managed to corner the priest and say, ''You know how I know God likes me? Because you like me.''

    Coz had a deft touch with students and tailored his approach to each one, said Mike Nicoletti, whose brother first recommended that the then-anxious freshman take Coz's class. Coz was a ''fatherly figure as well as an instructor'' to him, Nicoletti said, but took a different approach with Nicoletti's brother, John, who was so unmotivated that he didn't even bother buying the book for one class. ''One day,'' Nicoletti recalled, ''Father Coz came up and said, 'Hey, John, you know those jocks in the class? Every one of them is doing better than you.' ''

    Coz retired in 1995, but remains an important part of Nicoletti's life. In 1975, he had recommended Nicoletti for a job in Fresno; Nicoletti is now president of the grain company. Coz officiated at Nicoletti's wedding and baptized his three children. And every Christmas, the priest travels to Fresno to celebrate Mass with the family.

    It's those extra touches that have cemented Coz's place in Santa Clara history, said Marte Formico, who graduated in 1983 and still visits Coz weekly. He ''baptized all three of my kids, married me, baptized my stepfather, confirmed my nephew,'' Formico said. ''You can pick a thousand people who graduated SCU. And they have similar stor
     

  •  Los Gatos Weekly Times Fr. Coz Artcle

    Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010

     

    December 11, 2007
    Los Gatos Weekly-Times
    By MARIANNE LUCCHESI HAMILTON

    When Steve Erbst heard that his favorite professor at Santa Clara University would spend his retirement at the Jesuit Center (formerly the Sacred Heart Novitiate), he was moved—and he wanted to honor the accomplishments of his friend and mentor.

    A member of SCU’s class of 1988—and Los Gatos High School’s class of ’84—Erbst says the Rev. Richard Coz, S.J., was the most influential faculty member he encountered during his four years at the university.

    Hoping to celebrate the work of Coz and his fellow Jesuits, Erbst began contacting classmates and other alumni, with the goal of establishing a scholarship fund in Coz’s name. Erbst launched the initiative via a website, which he dubbed “Pause for Coz.” Six months later—and without making a single phone call—Erbst and his fellow SCU grads have put together an impressive stash of cash.

    “Writing about Father Coz created an immediate bond with our alumni, because he had such an impact on Santa Clara’s classes, sports, student government and other areas,” says Erbst. “We all decided that this was the best way to keep his legacy alive. Within two months, we raised nearly $200,000 from over 230 families. This was probably the fastest-growing, grassroots scholarship campaign the university has ever seen … and it was all because people wanted to honor Father Coz.”

    Erbst started by sending an email to a target list of 50 names, encouraging those people to contact others who might be interested. “It quickly became a viral thing,” he notes. “Now we have over 1,000 names on our distribution list, and we’ve done all of the fundraising without any cost whatsoever to the university.” In addition to the online solicitations, Erbst and his colleagues held a fundraiser at Testarossa Vineyards in August (owner Rob Jensen is also an alumnus of SCU).A similar event is planned at the winery next spring. “At our first fundraiser, with only six weeks’ notice we had nearly 150 attendees,” says Erbst proudly. “Our goal is to get to $300,000 by May of 2008,then into the million-dollar range soon after. From then on, the scholarship will perpetuate itself.”

    With the money in the Pause for Coz Scholarship coffers, Erbst says that the selection committee—which will be comprised of alumni families, as well as SCU Alumni Association executive director Kathy Kale and a representative from Concord’s De La Salle High School, where Coz also taught—will be able to award scholarships in the $3,000 to $4,000 range to two students each year. “We’ll be looking for students who are leaders and are interested in their community,” Erbst explains. “Maybe they’ll be athletes who play in a club sport that doesn’t get funded much. Definitely the recipients will be students who contribute above and beyond, just like Father Coz.”

    Erbst adds that the “Coz Effect” has made his fundraising mission a relatively easy one.

    “The minute our alumni read that this is to honor Father Coz, they have an instant reaction; his reputation really breaks down any barriers to giving. Everyone has been united, in that they want to honor his work at Santa Clara and as a Jesuit.”

    The Pause for Coz Scholarship website is continuously being updated with new information, including notable alumni who have contributed to the campaign, such as 49ers great Brent Jones, and former Secretary of the U.S. Army Dr. Francis Harvey. Erbst recommends that interested donors visit the site frequently, and join the campaign’s e-mail distribution list. Every dollar donated is greatly appreciated, he says.

    “We’ve had contributions from $10 to $10,000, and some as high as $25,000.” Erbst says. “It’s not the dollar amount; it’s people’s willingness to be a part of the Santa Clara University community. The most important thing is, this is all about Father.