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February 2023

Kelly Capen Douglas, general counsel

Kelly Capen Douglas, general counsel

Santa Clara University Names Kelly Douglas as General Counsel

Experienced and accomplished advisor to join university leadership

Kelly Capen Douglas will be Santa Clara University's next general counsel.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 6, 2023—Santa Clara University has named Kelly Capen Douglas to serve as general counsel. Douglas, who will start April 24, will be the chief legal officer, responsible for managing and overseeing all legal affairs for the university and serving as the primary legal advisor to the Board of Trustees. As a member of President Julie Sullivan’s Cabinet, Douglas will also serve as an advisor to the President and manage the university's legal, contracting, policy, risk management, and compliance functions. 

In announcing the appointment, Sullivan pointed to Douglas’ extensive management and legal experience in both university and nonprofit settings, and strong reputation as a collaborator, problem solver, and strategic partner. 

Since 2019, Douglas has served as president and CEO of Voices for Children, the non-profit organization designated by the San Diego and Riverside County Superior Courts to recruit, train, and support Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers for children in foster care. As one of the largest CASA programs in the nation, Voices for Children advocated last year on behalf of nearly 2,500 children and supported 1,400 CASA volunteers. 

As the general counsel at the University of San Diego from 2005-2019, Douglas oversaw and managed all legal affairs for the private Catholic university and was the chief legal advisor to USD’s Board of Trustees. She provided leadership on a wide range of legal issues, including employment and student matters, intellectual property, regulatory compliance, Title IX compliance, tax-exempt financing, risk management, safety and security, employee benefits, athletics, international programs, externally-funded research, and policy development, among other areas.  Douglas was also awarded the San Diego Business Journal’s 2014 General Counsel Award, the University of San Diego Student Affairs Division’s 2014 Powerful Partnership Award, and the National Association of College and University Attorney’s (NACUA) 2015 First Decade Award. 

“I am so pleased to welcome Kelly to Santa Clara University and our leadership team,” said Sullivan. “Kelly’s leadership experience and deep understanding of the complex issues facing Catholic higher education make her an ideal fit to advise and guide Santa Clara as we take the next critical steps to educate ethical and entrepreneurial leaders committed to creating a more humane, just, and sustainable world.”

Before joining USD, Douglas was a partner at Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps LLP (now Dentons), where she represented employers in employment and business disputes in federal court, state court, arbitrations, and before governmental agencies.

“I am honored to join the Santa Clara University community during this unique and exciting time in the university’s history. I am especially inspired by SCU’s student-centered focus, values-based education, and commitment to academic excellence, service to others, and inclusivity,” said Douglas. “I look forward to working together with the Board of Trustees, the leadership team, and the campus community to advance the university’s distinctive mission.”  

Douglas received a bachelor of arts degree in international relations from Stanford University and a J.D. degree from the Duke University School of Law. Douglas and her husband, J.D. Douglas, are parents of two adult children, Courtney and Collin.

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.

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

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