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June 2024

Student in cap and gown holding diploma

Student in cap and gown holding diploma

Santa Clara University Honors Graduates at the 2024 Commencement Ceremony

Thousands of family members and friends packed Stevens Stadium this morning to celebrate with the 1,448 undergraduate members of Santa Clara University’s Class of 2024 as they received their diplomas.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 15, 2024—Thousands of family members and friends packed Stevens Stadium this morning to celebrate with the 1,448 undergraduate members of Santa Clara University’s Class of 2024 as they received their diplomas. 

The graduates were all smiles as they processed wearing brightly colored sashes, flower leis, and uniquely decorated caps with their gowns. For many, this was their first-ever walk across a stage in cap and gown as the COVID-19 pandemic deprived them of high school graduation ceremonies. The Class of 2024 overcame many unique challenges including a virtual first year of college for most; social-distancing protocols; and mask requirements while in classes, clubs, and performances.

Santa Clara University President Julie Sullivan congratulated the graduates on exemplifying competence, conscience, and compassion, and extolled them to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world.

“You became outstanding leaders in many roles and activities across campus,” Sullivan said. “You embraced and embodied our Jesuit mission and values with your advocacy for many important issues and groups of people—including student wellbeing; student mental health; sexual assault survivors; the humanitarian crisis in Gaza; environmental sustainability; enhanced space for the Multicultural Center and LGBTQ Catholics. As a result of your leadership and advocacy, you made Santa Clara a more humane, just, and sustainable University, and we are grateful to you for this. This is your legacy.”

The commencement address was presented by California Supreme Court Associate Justice Martin J. Jenkins ’77. Attendees laughed and clapped as Jenkins reflected on the similarities and differences between the campus then and now, and the invaluable support he continues to receive from his fellow Broncos to this day.

a black man wearing academic robes at a podiumHe also reflected on how students have learned more at his alma mater than just how to get a job. 

“Let me assure you, you will have no trouble achieving that goal, but you've been blessed with more here at Santa Clara than the ability to gain employment,” said Jenkins. “Your education has blessed you with learning ‘how to learn’ – a skill that will afford you great flexibility in the coming years as technology changes.”

Justice Jenkins shared how, as a gay man growing up in the 70’s, he’s had his share of struggles and challenges. He advised graduates to embrace struggle in their own lives. 

“Struggle, through the process of it, will generate gratitude, and gratitude is one of the most important values because gratitude, in turn, produces a powerful impulse in you to be generous to others, to be of service,” he said. 

The events were livestreamed for those who were unable to attend.

An Illustrious Class

The undergraduate class of 2024 comprised 56 percent men and 44 percent women, with an estimated 40 percent white; 39 percent Asian; 12 percent Hispanic; 3 percent Black; and 2 percent Native American/Alaska Native/Hawaiian Native.

More than 1,000 students are native to California; 338 are from 48 other U.S. states and territories; and 107 are international students.

After degrees were conferred, Associated Student Government President Lilly Humber ’24 introduced valedictorian Simon Fournier-Lanzoni ’24 to share remarks. An Italian and music major, Lanzoni organized last year’s campaign to provide free access to arts events for students.

“My peers, you have bolstered my optimism about the great potential of our generation. Collectively we have begun to question global norms and to recalibrate outdated social structures and binaries,” Lanzoni said. “Whereas past generations identified many of the social issues we face today, our generation sees the solutions and the actions necessary to bring forth lasting change. We see the colors of hope.”

“I challenge each of us—faculty, staff, and fellow students—to always look for what is missing in our communities, as a conscious and conscientious act of hope to build a better future. In doing so, we will create the equity that we all deserve and the freedom for everyone to pursue a life of purpose.”

In a ceremony held on June 7, several awards were presented to distinguished seniors

  • Francesca D’Urzo ’24 received the St. Clare Medal and Allen Dao ’24 received the Nobili Medal, both for seniors who demonstrate outstanding personal character, involvement in school activities, and overall contribution to the University.
  • Jules Holland ’24 received the Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., Award, given to a graduate who exemplifies the ideals of Jesuit education.
  • Laura Clark ’24, Ria Panda ’24, Kimber Wood ’24, and Grace Yonkers-Talz ’24 received the Richard J. Riordan Award, which recognizes outstanding community service contributions.
  • Iris Do ’24, Katie Duffy ’24, Daniel Martinez ’24, and Matthew Mayo ’24 were presented with Student Life Awards to recognize their contributions to the overall quality of life in the University community.
  • Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca ’24, Isabella Reyes ’24, Tanvi Syed ’24, and Naomi Yang ’24 received the Gracelyn Rillorta Bateman Award for Inclusive Excellence, for students or student organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to enhancing an inclusive environment at SCU.
  • Ellen Duncan ’24 and Isabella Reyes ’24 received the 2024 Neider Family Alumni Service Award, for accomplished seniors going directly into a service program or project.

Graduate Program Commencements

Later Saturday, 233 graduates from Santa Clara’s graduate programs in education and counseling psychology and pastoral ministry were set to receive their advanced degrees in a ceremony in Stevens Stadium. Co-founder of the NWSL’s Bay FC and Santa Clara University alumna Danielle Slaton ’02 is the speaker.

An additional 714 graduates from the graduate schools of business and engineering also are holding their commencement ceremony in Stevens Stadium on Saturday afternoon and evening. 

The graduates of Santa Clara University’s School of Law and Jesuit School of Theology held their commencements on May 18.

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
Lisa Robinson | SCU Media and Communications | | 408-551-3601

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