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February 2015

Engh Describes a University on the Cusp of Change, at 2015 State of the University Address

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 20, 2015 — Describing a University on the cusp of major changes driven by a desire to  tackle tremendous problems of our age, Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J.,  last evening delivered the 2015 State of the University address at the University's Mayer Theatre, before a packed audience of faculty, staff, students and supporters.

“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough,” said Engh, quoting Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  “At this strategic moment in the university’s history, we are poised to propel Santa Clara to grow more fully into its potential to build a more just, humane, and sustainable world,” he noted.

Before introducing Provost Dennis Jacobs to describe the University’s ambitious comprehensive campaign and campus expansion, Engh highlighted many achievements in the past year. Those included a record-high undergraduate retention rate of 96.2 percent; a Rhodes Scholarship for alumnus Aven Satre-Meloy, who will be returning to campus as a President’s Fellow to work with other students; a planned renewal of the University's Campus Climate Commitment; and high marks for SCU's  Title IX-related policies and protocols.

In summarizing the recently approved University budget, Engh noted that the planned 3.4 percent tuition increase is the second-lowest in more than 30 years, while at the same time the University is continuing with plans for growth including adding 16 new tenure-track faculty positions, and investing in a comprehensive upgrade in the IT system that serves the entire campus.

Jacobs provided highlights of the University’s comprehensive campaign, including:

*The goals of the university as summarized in the six goal statements.
*Major capital projects at various stages of completion, including the Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building; a new law school building at the entrance of campus; a STEM complex; and residence halls sufficient to house the eventual addition of 600 new students.
*The closing of Franklin Street to expand SCU’s pedestrian-mall campus.
*Upgrades to Buck Shaw stadium
*New STEM, professional, arts and other “districts” being created through the new buildings and other changes on campus, to better facilitate collaboration and community.

Engh began the event with a reference to the recent act of student violence that has greatly affected the campus community, thanking student EMTs, community facilitators, Campus Safety and Student Life staff, and others for their professional and compassionate care during and after the incident.

“Your care for our students impressed me deeply, the compassionate care that distinguishes Santa Clara as such a special place,” he said.

Engh said SCU’s ambitious plans are a way of challenging the university to “do something great.” Noting that Santa Clara is situated in Silicon Valley, “a rare ecosystem of venture capital, creativity, risk, and genius,” Engh said  Santa Clara is “called to greatness of study and research and creativity; great engagement of imagination, a worldview that is expansive and passionate” and one that is “alive to the challenges and needs of our planet, our society, and the greatest needs of God’s people.”
 
Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | dlohse@scu.edu | 408-554-5121