Skip to main content

December 2023

Logo of SCU's Opus Prize activities, with red

Logo of SCU's Opus Prize activities, with red "Faith Makes Wonders Work" and a linear depiction of a rising body

Santa Clara University Chosen to Host 2024 Opus Prize

Area leaders will help SCU identify three “unsung heroes” to receive  $1.2 million. 

Community, faith, finance, and business leaders will help Santa Clara select three “unsung hero”  individuals or organizations to receive  $1.2 million in prizes. 

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 6, 2023—The Opus Prize Foundation has selected Santa Clara University to host the 2024 Opus Prize, a $1 million annual award recognizing  individuals or organizations devoted to addressing critical social issues in their communities.

The Opus Prize is one of the world’s largest faith-based awards for social entrepreneurship. The annual Prize consists of a $1 million prize to an Opus Prize laureate and $100,000 prizes each to two finalists. Through a year-long process of discovery,  engagement, and learning involving the entire campus, the Prize also seeks to inspire the next generation to consider devoting their professional lives to serving others.

“Santa Clara University is honored and delighted to host the 2024 Opus Prize, which celebrates and supports social entrepreneurs who operate from a place of faith to work for the betterment of humanity,” said Santa Clara University President Julie Sullivan. “As a Jesuit, Catholic institution, Santa Clara University emphasizes becoming men and women for others, while also employing an ‘entrepreneurial mindset’ to adapt and create meaningful innovation.”

The theme of the upcoming year’s Opus Prize will be “Faith Makes Wonders Work,” a nod to the innovative spirit that can flow when entrepreneurs are guided by their faith to do transformative work. The theme underscores faith as a driving force for positive and creative change in the world.

“For nearly 20 years, the Opus Prize Foundation has witnessed ‘wonders working’ as our Catholic university partners bring creativity and passion in the success of the Prize," said Daniel McGinty, executive director of the Opus Prize Foundation. "We are thrilled Santa Clara University brings its shared mission, commitment, and kindred innovative spirit to finding the next Opus Prize honorees for 2024, and look forward with great joy to celebrating their accomplishments together.”

The Opus Prize Process

Every year, the Opus Prize Foundation selects a Catholic university to partner and lead the process of choosing the finalists for the Opus Prize.

As host, Santa Clara University has formed an oversight committee consisting of students, faculty, staff, and a member of the SCU Board of Trustees. The committee has invited regional, national and international community leaders to nominate “unsung heroes” from around the world for the Opus Prize. Co-chairs of the committee are Molly McDonald, chief of staff to President Sullivan, and Alison Benders, vice president for mission and ministry at Santa Clara.

Early next year, the committee will convene an Opus Prize jury—comprising distinguished leaders of the community including business, venture capital, and industry and faith leaders. The jury will review a set of nominations and select three finalists.

During spring, selected students, faculty, and staff from Santa Clara University will have the unique opportunity to join Opus Prize Foundation board members on site visits to each of the three finalists’ organizations. These multi-day due-diligence trips will provide an up-close and powerful view into the work of these “agents of change” in real time.

"Having the Opus Prize come to Santa Clara will be a wonderful opportunity for students to engage alongside strong entrepreneurs, guided by their faith, who effect positive and lasting change," said Sarah El Qadah ’25, a double major in public health and communication who is a member of the Opus Prize Oversight Committee. "I am looking forward to seeing firsthand the amazing work of our nominees and finalists, and welcoming them to campus next year."

From November 11 to 15, 2024, Santa Clara University will host the three finalists on its campus for a week of classroom visits, speaker panels, and engagement with the larger community. The week will culminate in a celebration at which the $1 million Opus Prize laureate and the two $100,000 finalists will be announced.

For more information about Santa Clara’s Opus Prize events and committee, see the Opus Prize 2024 website. Visit the Opus Prize website for more about the Prize, past laureates, and past host universities.

About The Opus Prize Foundation
The Opus Prize Foundation, established in 1994, was originally related to the Opus Corporation and today is a private and independent nonprofit foundation. Awarded annually, the Opus Prize includes a $1 million prize and two $100,000 prizes given to individuals or organizations—anywhere in the world—whose faith-based, entrepreneurial leadership helps address persisting social problems within their communities. Each year the Foundation partners with a different Catholic university to use a confidential nomination process to identify and select finalists for that year’s Opus Prize awards. The Opus Prize is given to not only further the humanitarian efforts of the recipients, but also to inspire people to pursue lives of service to others and to their communities.

About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Ranked among the top 15 percent of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education.  For more information see

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



Press Release
Recent Headlines