Skip to main content

May 2016

SCU Students

SCU Students

Santa Clara University Announces Blue Ribbon Commission to Advance Diversity

Santa Clara University President Michael E. Engh, S.J., has convened a Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 10, 2016 – In a time of heightened global attention to racial and social issues impacting people of color signified by unrest across the nation’s campuses, Santa Clara University President Michael E. Engh, S.J., has convened a Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.

The decision to establish a commission followed a discussion within the Board of Trustees, about the nationwide state of campus racial climates. Student leaders in the Unity 4 campus initiative on campus have also provided significant input. The move signals the president’s commitment to a serious, long-term approach toward resolving systemic challenges. He has enlisted leaders from the Silicon Valley and the local community to serve on the Commission. They will leverage their significant experience with advancing diversity and inclusion in delivering on their charge.

The president has charged the Commission with creating an aspirational vision to advance diversity and inclusion at Santa Clara University and to recommend strategies for transformational change that will make Santa Clara a more diverse, compassionate, and just university.

“The Blue Ribbon Commission provides an opportunity to step back and apply a wider lens that will guide us in creating a more diverse university and better position SCU to reach its full potential,” said Engh.

The Commission, which is expected to make formal recommendations in the fall, will examine ways in which the University can better recruit, retain, and support minorities who are underrepresented in students, faculty, and staff. As a starting point for its work, the Commission will host a town hall meeting on campus on May 11 from 7 to 9 p.m. to collect feedback from students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

“Fr. Engh’s leadership on this issue reflects the need for a comprehensive and long-term response to a serious issue,” said Frederick Ferrer, CEO of The Health Trust and chair of the Commission. “He recognizes the problem, the tenor of the nation, and understands the need to have a comprehensive conversation. The commission wants to hear directly from the Santa Clara University community. ”

The president has also engaged the services of nationally recognized experts, selected after an extensive search. Consultants from the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) Project will conduct a study and a qualitative analysis of what diversity and inclusion should look like on the Santa Clara campus. The CECE Project is housed in Indiana University’s Center for Postsecondary Research, home of the National Study for Student Engagement. They will also engage in other research that will support the work of the Blue Ribbon Commission.

The Blue Ribbon Commission includes 12 community leaders, alumni, and campus representatives.

  • Frederick J. Ferrer, CEO, The Health Trust (Chair)
  • Ed Alvarez, President and Chairman of the Board, The Foundation for Hispanic Education
  • Aldo Billingslea, Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion and Professor of Theatre Arts, Santa Clara University
  • Elsa Chen, Interim Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Associate Professor of Political Science, Santa Clara University
  • Isabel Duron, Former Director, Multicultural Center, Santa Clara University; Doctoral Student, Chicana/o Studies, UCLA
  • Sandra Hayes, Former Dean of Undergraduate Admission and Special Assistant to Vice President for Enrollment Management, Santa Clara University
  • Ronnie Lott, Founder, All Stars Helping Kids
  • Kyle Ozawa, Head of Business Operations, Invoice2go
  • Risë R. Pichon, Presiding Superior Court Judge, Superior Court of Santa Clara
  • Jason Rodriguez, Vice President and Chief of Staff to the CEO of Hewlett Packard, Inc.
  • Lisa Stevens, Executive Vice President, Wells Fargo
  • Richard Taylor, Senior Vice President for Human Resources, Intel

Lisa Millora, senior assistant provost for strategic initiatives and provost’s office relations, will staff the Commission and supervise the work of the consultants.

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

Media Contact
Deepa Arora | Communications Director | | 408-554-5125

Recent Headlines