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Lead donors Howard S. Charney MBA ’73, J.D. ’77 and Alida Schoolmaster Charney

Lead donors Howard S. Charney MBA ’73, J.D. ’77 and Alida Schoolmaster Charney

‘A Moment of Momentum’

Charney Hall dedication brings together generations of Santa Clara Law to usher in a new era for the school.

Charney Hall dedication brings together generations of Santa Clara Law to usher in a new era for the school. 

More than 400 students, faculty and staff, community members, and special guests gathered in the Mabie Grand Atrium on October 12 to cut a ceremonial ribbon and officially dedicate the Howard S. and Alida S. Charney Hall of Law.

The 96,000 square foot, eco-friendly building will serve up to 650 J.D. and 100 non-J.D. students. With flexible learning spaces and sophisticated classroom technology, Charney Hall will help Santa Clara Law continue to evolve its programs and offerings to keep pace with changes in the legal field, while continuing to support a high-achieving student body and attract exceptional faculty.

Lead donors Howard S. Charney MBA ’73, J.D. ’77 and his wife, Alida Schoolmaster Charney, were both in attendance. Charney co-founded the $3 billion company 3Com in 1980, and 12 years later founded Grand Junction Networks, which was acquired by Cisco in 1995. Until his recent retirement, he served as senior vice president in the Office of the President and CEO at Cisco, contributing to the company’s strategy and direction and also advising businesses, governments, and educators around the world in implementing critical Internet technologies to improve organizational effectiveness.

Other special guests at the dedication included the mayor of Santa Clara, Lisa M. Gillmor; notable law school alumni Leon Panetta B.A. ’60, J.D. ’63, chair, the Panetta Institute for Public Policy as well as former CIA Director, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, White House Chief of Staff, and long-time member of the House of Representatives; Zoe Lofgren J.D. ’75, congresswoman of the 19th district; Justice Edward Panelli J.D. ’55, retired California Supreme Court Judge and his wife, Loma; as well as John Ottoboni B.A. ’69, senior legal counsel and chief operating officer of Santa Clara University; John M. Sobrato B.A. ’83, chair of the SCU Board of Trustees; Father Michael Engh, S.J., President of Santa Clara University; and the past 3 deans of Santa Clara Law: Gerald Uelmen, Mack Player, and Don Polden. Maya Younes J.D. ’18 opened the ceremony with an invocation and a moment of silence in honor of the Ohlone people, who had lived on the land where the new building stands.

While Santa Clara University provided more than 60 percent of the $58 million dollars in building costs, the Charney’s $10 million lead gift is the largest in the history of Santa Clara Law, and it “jumpstarted this building,” said Ottoboni in his remarks. Other major donors included the William and Inez Mabie Family Foundation, headed by Ron Malone J.D. ’71 and his wife, Sara, and Yeoryios C. Apallas; as well as the Fremont Bank Foundation, under the leadership of Terrance Stinett J.D. ’69 and Michael Wallace MBA ’75; and Paul and Barbara Gentzkow.

Leon Panetta and Fr. Engh

Leon Panetta B.A. ’60, J.D. ’63 and Fr. Michael Engh

Before officially blessing the building, SCU President Michael Engh S. J., said “this is a place where a Jesuit law school should be because of the values, ethics, and commitment to justice that is part and parcel of the whole school experience.”

Howard Charney began his remarks with gratitude for all those who contributed to the building’s campaign, with a special tribute to his wife, Alida. He went on to compare the law school to the Mission Santa Clara, which, he said, “is built in furtherance of certain principles. Its core principles are equity and justice, fairness, and respect for others. It teaches those principles through the means of stories.”

To watch a video of the dedication ceremony, visit


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