Santa Clara University Board Elects Four New Trustees
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 23, 2023—Santa Clara University’s Board of Trustees has elected three veteran executives and an esteemed retired judge to join the ranks of the governing body of the 172-year-old Jesuit, Catholic University.
The newest members are Debora Shoquist ’76, executive vice president of operations at NVIDIA, John Torrey ’93, a venture partner at Madrona Ventures, and John Underwood, a managing director at Goldman Sachs.
In addition, retired Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Risë Jones Pichon ’73, J.D. ’76, Hon. ’20, was elected to the board after having previously served in an ex officio capacity as chair of the Board of Regents.
“Santa Clara is honored to welcome these accomplished professionals to our board as we embark on a strategic plan for our next phase of impact and investment,” said Julie Sullivan, president of Santa Clara University. “Their collective experience and knowledge in the fields of law, business, and technology will help us ensure our graduates are truly prepared for the needs of our global society now and in the future.”
Risë Jones Pichon ’73, J.D. ’76, Hon. ’20
Until her retirement in 2019, Pichon was a Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge for more than 20 years, including being elected as presiding judge. She previously served as a Municipal Court judge, where she was presiding judge for two years, and as a court commissioner.
Pichon is now a panelist with JAMS, formerly known as Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services.
She has provided longstanding and valued counsel to Santa Clara University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics, a Juris Doctor degree, and in 2020 was awarded an honorary doctorate.
She served on the SCU Board of Regents for six years—as vice chair from 2019 to 2021, and as chair from 2021 to 2023. She is a member of the advisory boards of both SCU’s law school and the University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Pichon has served as the SCU law school’s Distinguished Jurist in Residence since 2019, and was a member of the University’s Presidential Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.
A member of the American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley, Pichon previously was a member of the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services and the St. Thomas More Society of Santa Clara County.
Pichon was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association in 2019 and the Legendary Champions of Justice Award from the California Association of Black Lawyers in 2018.
“Santa Clara has always occupied a special place in my life, and I have strong emotional ties to the University, which has, throughout the years, maintained its position on the cutting edge of educational advancements in ethics, justice, and innovation,” said Pichon, who lives in Cupertino with her husband, Ulysses, a retired DeAnza College professor. “I carry with me the values I acquired from Jesuit instruction, and I look forward to participating on the Board in this new role with pride and continued determination to do my part to safeguard and advance the University’s mission and vision and serve with distinction.”
Pichon and her husband have an adult son.
Debora Shoquist ’76
Debora Shoquist is executive vice president of operations at NVIDIA. She is responsible for the company’s operations and supply chain functions. These include manufacturing product and test engineering, foundry operations, supplier management and contract-manufacturing management, supply planning, logistics, and the company’s quality management system. She was also responsible for overseeing construction of the company's new 1.25 million-square-foot corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif.
Shoquist joined NVIDIA in 2007 as senior vice president of operations and was named to her current role two years later. She has more than 20 years of executive experience in general management, manufacturing and operations, including plant management, engineering, information services, finance and human resources.
Previously, Shoquist was executive vice president of operations at JDS Uniphase and senior vice president and general manager of the electro-optics business at Coherent, a manufacturer of commercial and scientific laser equipment. She also spent 11 years in key executive roles at Quantum, including president of the Personal Computer Hard Disk Drive division, and 10 years at HP in various engineering and manufacturing management roles.
Shoquist holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Kansas State University and a Bachelor of Science in biology from Santa Clara University.
“Santa Clara has been part of my life since graduation through the close friends, the business connections, and the values-based education I developed there,” said Shoquist. “The University is positioned in the heart of Silicon Valley, and I believe I can provide strong leadership in the human and ethical dimension of the valley’s rapidly developing technology. I am excited by Julie Sullivan’s leadership, and thrilled to be part of this next chapter in SCU history.”
John Torrey ’93
John Torrey is an experienced investor and executive. He is currently a venture partner at the venture capital firm Madrona Ventures, where he identifies and actively supports new portfolio companies. His focus is early- and acceleration stage companies, and his investments include TaxBit, Route, Clozd and TaskHuman. He also serves as a fellow at Sapphire Ventures.
Torrey was previously chief ecosystem officer at the experience-management software company Qualtrics, where he helped the company define and create an ecosystem of services, consulting, and technology partners; launch the Qualtrics Developer Platform; execute acquisitions in the SMB and industry thought leadership domains; and negotiate the largest sale of a private software company in history.
Before Qualtrics, Torrey was chief corporate development officer at SAP SE, responsible for mergers and acquisitions and strategic business development. He was also the chief strategy officer for the business network and applications group. He joined SAP when the company acquired Concur, where he was EVP of corporate strategy.
Torrey has served in a number of advisory and supportive capacities at Santa Clara University, including as a member of the Board of Regents from 2015 to 2023. Drawing upon his extensive experience as a director on numerous corporate boards, he served as an adviser to SCU’s Black Corporate Board Readiness Program. He was president of the Alumni Association in 2017-18 and a mentor in the Global Social Benefit Institute at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship in 2018. He graduated cum laude from the honors program at Santa Clara University, where he majored in accounting, minored in music, and played on the rugby team.
"I am humbled and honored to join the Board of Trustees at our beloved alma mater," said Torrey, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with his wife Juliette ’93, who has served on the leadership board of the College of Arts and Sciences.
"My Santa Clara education changed and enriched my life, setting me on a path to become a person of competence, conscience, and compassion. I have enjoyed sharing my experience and Santa Clara's mission with new generations of leaders. Now, as a board member, I am thrilled to contribute to the university's continued innovation and success," he said.
Torrey and his wife have two adult children, Gus and Julia.
John Underwood has more than 20 years of experience in investment and private wealth management. He currently advises senior executives, family offices, foundations and endowments as a managing director at Goldman Sachs, a post he has held since 2006. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 1998, he was a high yield fixed income analyst covering multiple sectors.
He currently or previously served on numerous nonprofit sports and youth services boards, including:
- National Trustee for the Pacific region of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Pacific Region
- Trustee of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation
- Board member of Larkin Street, dedicated to serving homeless youth
- Advisory board member for Make-A-Wish Foundation, Greater Bay Area
- Member of Board of Visitors for Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management
- Trustee of Marquette University
- Member of the Board of Advisors for the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
He received his MBA from Vanderbilt University and his Bachelor of Science in finance and accounting from Marquette University.
Underwood is also a member of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of San Francisco. He lives in Woodside with his wife Amy. The couple have four adult children, including son John ’23, a finance major.
"I am very pleased to be serving on the Board of Trustees of Santa Clara University," said Underwood. "Being Jesuit-educated, I share and appreciate the values underpinning Santa Clara, and look forward to helping shape the role it will play in Silicon Valley and the world in the years to come."
The additions bring the total membership of the Board of Trustees to 41, including the newest ex officio member, Kathryn (Kathy) Chou, chair of the Board of Regents and senior vice president, SaaS engineering at Nutanix.
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 www.scu.edu.
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | email@example.com | 408-554-5121