SCU Celebrates Inauguration Week Events
By Tracy Seipel
Prayer Service, Public Speakers—and a Presidential Birthday
A pre-inauguration festival of activities featuring a community tapestry, a panel of public speakers, and a Benson Center birthday cake will kick off the week leading up to Santa Clara University’s main event: the inauguration of Kevin O’Brien, S.J., as SCU’s 29th president.
Fr. O’Brien, who took office on July 1, will be formally installed on Friday, October 11.
In the days prior to the ceremony, the SCU Bronco Family is invited to a series of inauguration-related events, including a forum and a prayer service, both focused on the plight of migrants and immigrant families.
The struggle of those fleeing conflict or seeking a better life reflects President O’Brien’s deep commitment to vulnerable migrants and refugees, something that was nurtured during his years as a chaplain with the Jesuit Refugee Service and frequent visits to the Kino Border Initiative working with deportees along the border of Nogales, Mexico.
Among the list of inauguration events are:
- Separating Children and Families of Refugees: On Monday, Oct. 7 at noon at the de Saisset Museum, a panel discussion will focus on the context and history of child detentions and family separations that continue to occur at U.S. borders. Speakers will include Julissa Arce, author and immigration activist; Mimi Nguyen, attorney with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County; and Santa Clara University law professor Deep Gulasekaram.
- President O’Brien Birthday Bash: On Tuesday Oct. 8, from 4 to 9 p.m., SCU students will hold a 53rd birthday celebration for Fr. O’Brien on the Benson Memorial Center lawn. Be there for the cake-cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. across from Benson, under the Kenna Trellis.
- Prayer Service for Migrants: On Wednesday, Oct. 9 from 4 to 5 p.m., the campus community will join in a posada-style prayer service for migrants worldwide. The service will begin at Benson Memorial Center, continue to three campus locations, and end at the Mission Church.
- Community Weaving Project: All week long, campus community members will be invited to help create a community weaving artwork project memorializing the inauguration.
- Clothing Drive for Migrants: Also throughout the week, campus members will be encouraged to contribute to a clothing drive for migrants.
The inauguration is scheduled Friday, Oct. 11 at 11 a.m., when delegates representing more than five dozen universities across the United States—including 16 Jesuit institutions—will join the Santa Clara University community at a special ceremony installing Fr. O’Brien as University president.
The event at Leavey Center will include the delegates as well as SCU faculty, trustees, and leadership in procession. It is the first such academic ceremony since the 2009 inauguration of former SCU President Michael Engh, S.J.
Attendees will hear from welcoming speakers including Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia; San Jose Bishop Oscar Cantu, and Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and an SCU Campaign Cabinet member. Following his ceremonial missioning and investiture by Jesuits West Provincial Scott Santarosa, S.J., President O’Brien will give an inaugural address to an estimated 2,000 guests gathered at Leavey Center.
For more information, go to scu.edu/inauguration.