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March 2016

ExCEL teacher Lysette Flores teaching a 1st grade student.

ExCEL teacher Lysette Flores teaching a 1st grade student.

Santa Clara University Wins Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ, Award

Santa Clara University honored for programs advancing Catholic education and reaching diverse students, communities

The prestigious award honors leadership in promoting a welcoming and diverse vision of Catholic education.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 21, 2016 — Santa Clara University's Academy of Blended Learning and Excellence in Catholic Education and Leadership (ExCEL) programs have been chosen for the 2016 Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ Award, which recognizes the University’s exceptional leadership in “promoting a vision of Catholic education that welcomes and serves cultural and economic diversity or serves students with diverse needs.”

The award from the National Catholic Educational Association will be presented on March 28, 2016, at the Annual NCEA President’s Dinner.

“Santa Clara University holds a unique position to model our Jesuit, Catholic values in Silicon Valley,” said Engh. “We make great efforts not only to provide a stellar education but also to help our students understand and improve the lives of those with the least education, power, and wealth in our community. We are gratified to receive this important award and to be recognized for the results and impact we have had.”

"Santa Clara University is being recognized for exceptional leadership in promoting a vision of Catholic education that welcomes and serves cultural and economic diversity,” said Dr. Thomas W. Burnford, interim president of NCEA. “The university’s work reflects the heart of the Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ, President’s Award. Congratulations to SCU.”

SCU’s leadership in pursuit of Catholic and educational diversity is visible within many campus units, perhaps especially in its School of Education and Counseling Psychology. The School has instituted a number of programs to ensure that more highly qualified Catholic-school and other educators are welcomed into the teacher-credentialing program in an ongoing effort to revitalize Catholic-school education in the area.

SCU has worked with the Diocese of San Jose to offer an Excellence in Catholic Education Leadership (ExCEL) program that subsidizes dedicated, strong teacher candidates to become credentialed while teaching in parochial schools. In addition, more than 100 Catholic school teachers in the diocese have been trained by SCU’s Academy of Blended Learning, which incorporates proven technological tools to better assess and advance students in the classroom.

Other programs at SCU that exemplify the University’s efforts to improve Catholic education and serve diverse communities include:

*The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics’ character-based literacy programs, which incorporate character lessons in the basic educational materials used by at-risk students and others. The Center also offers Ethics Camp for Catholic school teachers, administrators, and counselors, and “Build, Plant, Grow” faith-formation materials, which help make Sunday Mass readings more lively and understandable to Catholic-school youth. 

*SCU’s Jesuit School of Theology, through its Instituto Hispano, trains up to 100 Spanish-speaking lay or clergy parish leaders each summer in advanced theology, to help them better serve thriving Hispanic Catholic populations.

*SCU’s College of Arts and Sciences departments conduct research or offer educational opportunities to area diocesan elementary schools, and undergraduate students undertake many of their “experiential learning for social justice” programs in lower-income neighborhoods and with community partners that serve there.

*Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education partners with community organizations in its Thriving Neighbors Initiative, which promotes strategic ties between SCU and the lower-income Greater Washington community in San Jose.

*Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship offers a fully funded fellowship to more than a dozen students annually to conduct action research for “social entrepreneurs” who are working to solve problems associated with poverty in a variety of countries.

*The Office of Campus Ministry offers annual retreats, leadership development, liturgical ministry opportunities, and scholarships for first-generation college students and others.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering; master’s degrees in business, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministry, and theology; and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

About the Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ Award
The Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ Award is presented from the National Catholic Educational Association to an individual or institution that offers exceptional leadership in promoting a vision of Catholic education that welcomes and serves cultural and economic diversity or that serves students with diverse needs. Learn more at

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121

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SCU programs are being honored for promoting a welcoming and diversity-rich vision of Catholic education, includnig its ExCEL program for Catholic school teachers. ExCEL teacher Lysette Flores is pictured here teaching a 1st grade student.