New Space, Same Place
As changes come to campus, Santa Clara keeps its history. Credit good bones.
When Steve Nash ’96 was on campus this time last year for his induction into the Santa Clara Athletics Hall of Fame, he marveled at how much his alma mater had changed since he was a student.
“It’s unbelievable to see the growth and the forward thinking,” Nash said. “How this university has been able to re-envision itself year-after-year is fantastic.”
And Nash is right. Since he infamously dribbled a tennis ball across campus to improve his ball handling, a lot has changed. We’ve added the Harrington Learning Commons (2008). Then there’s the reimagined Leavey Center (2000). Even buildings like Lucas Hall (2008) and the Malley Fitness Center (1999) weren’t here in Nash’s time. Not to mention many others.
“It doesn’t feel that much the same. It still has the bones,” Nash said. “It’s changed so much in 20 years, but for the better.”
While the buildings are new, this mentality isn’t. That’s been the story of this historic campus since it wasn’t quite so historic.
Back in 1914, there was a track for running positioned next to tennis and handball courts outside where Mayer Theatre sits now. In 1925, there were pig pens and chicken coops on campus, near where Vari Hall and Bannan stand now. So, in less than 100 years, SCU will go from farmland to a futuristic STEM campus.
Santa Clara University has grown with the times—often drastically—but kept its bones. And the present construction plan might be the best example of this spirit.
Just last month, Santa Clara Law students started to trickle into the new Charney Hall and they’re already making themselves at home. The new building, which was set into motion by a $10 million lead gift from trustee and alumnus Howard Charney MBA ’73, J.D. ’77 and his wife, Alida, has been an (energy efficient) beacon for the north end of campus.
A couple hundred yards west of Charney is the renovated Franklin Street mall. Passing cars have given way to foot traffic and peaceful study in the area outside of the Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building. But even with the shiny and new, the bones persist. During construction, Linda Hylkema and her team of archaeologists unearthed some Santa Clara stories. Those historical artifacts will eventually be on display in the deSaisset Museum.
And with Charney opening, campus says goodbye to Edwin A. Heafey Law Library and hello to one of the unfortunate side effects of progress—construction. The chain link fences surrounding Heafey are currently blocking some of the better views of campus, but they’ve gotten a face lift since they went up. Professor Kelly Detweiler pulled from the Benson art collection to liven up the space by displaying alumni art on the fences.
So as your version of Santa Clara changes a little to become someone else’s, hang tight and take a cue from SCU’s newest Hall of Fame point guard, Mr. Nash: Remember the past, but keep improving.