Skip to main content

July 2018

Photo of Bannan Engineering building

Photo of Bannan Engineering building

Engineering School Dean Alfonso Ortega Announces Decision to Return to Villanova University

Search for new dean to commence soon, following Dean Ortega's decision to return to his prior post.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 18, 2018 – Dr. Alfonso Ortega announced his decision today that he will resign from his position as dean of the School of Engineering at Santa Clara University, effective July 27, 2018.

Ortega, who was appointed Santa Clara’s engineering dean in fall 2017, has chosen to return to his former position at Villanova University. For twelve years, Ortega was the James R. Birle Professor of Energy Technology, and he had served as the founding Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Programs at Villanova University. Ortega will resume his position as the Birle Endowed Chair Professor and a member of the NSF Center for Energy Smart Electronic systems which he co-founded in 2012. As a professor of mechanical engineering, his teaching and research focus is on the thermal sciences with emphasis on the fluid flow and heat transfer in microelectronics cooling applications..

Citing both personal and professional reasons, Ortega said, “My wife, Martha, and I have given a great deal of thought to this decision and have ultimately decided that this is the best course of action for my family and myself at this time. I am grateful for the opportunity that Santa Clara University afforded me to explore how engineering education in the Jesuit tradition can be distinctively enhanced by the integration of design, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking – signature strengths of Silicon Valley.”

“Al Ortega’s creativity and collaborative spirit were integral to the design of the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation – a groundbreaking facility that will soon be constructed to enable state-of-the-art educational programs across engineering, mathematics and the natural sciences,” said Provost Dennis Jacobs. “In addition to recruiting outstanding new faculty to the School of Engineering, Al worked passionately to support and prepare underrepresented students for rewarding careers in engineering, to create increased partnerships with Silicon Valley industry, and to support strategic growth of innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities for SCU students.”

“The University community will miss Al Ortega’s many contributions to engineering education and his commitment to deepening the School’s Jesuit Catholic mission,” said Michael Engh, S.J., president of Santa Clara University. “We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Santa Clara University will commence a national search this fall for the next dean of the School of Engineering. Provost Jacobs will soon appoint an interim dean of engineering to lead the school throughout the 2018-19 academic year.

About the School of Engineering
The School of Engineering is dedicated to preparing students for professional excellence, responsible citizenship, and service to society. Santa Clara’s dynamic programs in bioengineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, sustainable energy, applied mathematics, and engineering management & leadership provide the theoretical and practical instruction necessary for professional excellence. The School’s curriculum combines expert instruction, a commitment to personalized mentoring, and the promotion of an ethical and entrepreneurial mindset to produce graduates who demonstrate both excellent technical skills and a commitment to serving humanity through their work. For more information, see

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 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering; plus graduate degrees in business, engineering, education, counseling psychology, theology, and law. 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


Recent Headlines