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Purpose and Guiding Principles

Purpose and Guiding Principles

Approved by the Board of Trustees, October 22 1993.

Statement of Purpose


Inspired by the love of God to serve society through education, continuing the commitment of the Franciscans who founded Mission Santa Clara in 1777 and the Jesuits who opened the College in 1851, Santa Clara University declares its purpose to by the education of the whole person within the Catholic, Jesuit tradition.

The University is dedicated to:

  • the preparation of students to assume leadership roles in society through an education that stresses moral and spiritual as well as intellectual and aesthetic values, seeks to answer not only what is but what should be, and encourages faith and the promotion of justice;
  • an uncompromising standard of academic excellence and an unwavering commitment to academic freedom, freedom of inquiry, and freedom of expression in the search for truth;
  • rigorous and imaginative scholarship; excellent teaching in and out of the classroom; and educational programs designed to provide breadth and depth, to encourage the integration of different forms of knowledge, and to stimulate not only the acquisition but also the creative and humane use of knowledge;
  • affirmation of its Catholic identity, respect for other religious and philosophical traditions, promotion of dialogue between faith and contemporary culture, opposition to narrow indoctrination or proselytizing, and the opportunity for worship and the deepening of religious belief;
  • a community enriched by men and women of diverse backgrounds, respectful of difference and enlivened by open dialogue, caring and just toward others, and committed to broad participation in achieving the common good.

Guiding Principles

The following principles, based on the University's Statement of Purpose, are intended to focus the efforts of the entire University community toward achieving distinction and distinctiveness in the 1990s.

The University's Guiding Principles are to:

  • educate for leadership in the Jesuit tradition;
  • serve as a voice of reason, conscience, and compassion in society;
  • foster academic excellence and a lifelong passion for learning;
  • create a learning environment that integrates rigorous inquiry, creative imagination, reflective engagement with society, and a commitment to fashioning a more humane and just world;
  • encourage innovation, while preserving the best of our traditions, to enhance our learning and living environment;
  • nurture a diverse University community rooted in mutual understanding and respect;
  • promote throughout the University a culture of service that fosters the development of personal responsibility;
  • strive for effective communication and responsible decision making at every level to advance our mission;
  • build a stronger financial base to enhance the quality of the University.

It is the responsibility of all members of the Santa Clara University community to work together to achieve the University's purpose according to its guiding principles. Contact the Office of the President if you have questions or if you would like more information.

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