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September 2023

View of library from side with grass in foreground

View of library from side with grass in foreground

Santa Clara University Embarks on a Five-Year Partnership with The Posse Foundation to Recruit 50 Scholars

SCU is the first Jesuit University to partner with Posse, and the third in California.

Posse Foundation Logo

Santa Clara, Calif., September 11, 2023 — Santa Clara University (SCU) is pleased to announce that it has partnered with The Posse Foundation, a nationwide college access and youth leadership development program, to offer full-tuition scholarships to select students with diverse backgrounds in/from the Los Angeles area.

“The partnership with The Posse Foundation is an important part of our mission-based commitment to facilitating greater social mobility in our world,” said President Julie Sullivan. “The Posse program's unique approach to identifying, nurturing, and supporting talented students aligns seamlessly with our Jesuit values of inclusivity and educating ‘the whole person.’”

Universities Supporting Posse

Santa Clara joins 64 other nationally prominent colleges and universities, such as Cornell University, Northwestern University, and University of Michigan, that have partnered with The Posse Foundation. Santa Clara University is the first Jesuit university to become a Posse partner and one of only three universities in California, joining Pomona College and Pepperdine University.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santa Clara University, whose vision to educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion, so closely aligns with the Posse mission, as our latest university partner,” said Deborah Bial, president and founder of The Posse Foundation. “Together, we are embarking on a journey that will not only transform the lives of these remarkable scholars but also enrich the campus community with their unique perspectives and talents. The future is brighter with partners like Santa Clara University who are dedicated to creating a more inclusive educational landscape.”

Generous Donor Support
Scholarships for the first members of the Los Angeles Posse to attend Santa Clara University are possible thanks to a gift from James (Jim) and Heather Pigott, longtime supporters of The Posse Foundation and parents to two SCU Broncos. 

“Supporting SCU and the Posse Foundation helps us to invest in the future of individual students and their potential to become leaders in their communities. We are excited to witness the positive impact that this collaboration will have on the lives of these talented scholars and the broader community,” said Jim Pigott.

“We are grateful for the Pigott family's generosity in making this important partnership possible,” said Sullivan, who noted that Santa Clara University will fund student recipients with additional scholarships and donor support.  

The Posse Process

In the coming months, the Posse Los Angeles office will work to identify academically qualified students who demonstrate leadership, teamwork, and personal motivation skills.  Typically, more than half (57 percent) of the Posse scholars are first-generation, meaning they are the first in their families to attend a four-year institution of higher learning. 

“Students from L.A. area high schools are not only driven and diverse, but they also dream big,” said Eva Blanco Masias, Vice President for Enrollment Management. “Given our commitment to innovation and our location in Silicon Valley, we can be an excellent choice to these bright minds, serving as a conduit and transforming their aspirations into tangible personal and professional growth. It’s a win-win.”

 Through a three-part assessment process that includes large group and individual interviews,10 students will be welcomed into the Bronco community, in fall 2024, as members of the Class of 2028. 

Following selection, The Posse Foundation leads the students through an eight-month pre-collegiate training program, supports them through all four years of college, and helps them secure competitive internships and leadership-track jobs upon graduation. As part of the partnership, Posse also provides yearly mentorship training for staff leaders and for a Santa Clara faculty member who will meet frequently with the Posse Scholars on campus, both as a group and individually.

Since Posse’s founding in 1989, more than 12,000 students have been awarded over $2 billion in scholarships from Posse partner colleges and universities. 

Other SCU Initiatives 

Santa Clara University is also a founding member of the "California Private College is Possible" initiative, an Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities program that provides students, families, and counselors with easy access to the information and resources necessary when applying to Independent California Colleges and Universities. The program also creates a path for historically underserved students to help them gain access to California’s top schools in more significant numbers. Last December, SCU joined the American Talent Initiative, a collective whose members aim to enroll 50,000 additional talented low- and moderate-income students at colleges and universities with strong graduation rates by 2025.

About The Posse Foundation

Posse was founded in 1989 by Deborah Bial—inspired by a student who said, “I never would’ve dropped out of college if I’d had my posse with me.” The simple idea of sending a group of students together to college so they could “back each other up” became the impetus for a program that today has identified, recruited, and trained more than 12,000 students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential. Since opening its doors 30 years ago, Posse has received many significant acknowledgments. Notably, Bial was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2007, and in 2010 President Barack Obama honored Posse with a portion of his Nobel Peace Prize grant. To learn more, visit

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 

SCU Media Contact

Deepa Arora, Senior Director Communications and Media|  |(408) 554-5125
Lisa Robinson, Associate Director, Communications | | (408) 551-3601