Since commencing my tenth year as your president in January, I have thought at length about our progress to date and the exciting potential for the future of Santa Clara University. I am proud of all we have accomplished together to build a stronger institution in a time of great challenge for private higher education. In many ways, the University is at an important and exciting inflection point – with many accomplishments behind us, and just as many more opportunities ahead.
As I have reflected on the University’s path as well as my own, I have come to the conclusion that now is the right time to bring in a new leader to take Santa Clara University into the future. This morning I informed the Board of Trustees that following my tenth year and at the conclusion of the coming academic year, I will be transitioning out of the role of president of this institution that I have been so honored to serve. A copy of the press release announcing this news can be found here: www.scu.edu/transition.
While I will remain in my role for the next twelve months, I informed the Trustees of my decision now so that they may plan and begin a search for my successor. I shall be available to assist our next president in any way I can to ensure a smooth transition. In order to identify the University’s next leader, the Trustees will immediately commence a national search that will follow the existing bylaws and hiring protocol to establish a search committee of Trustees, faculty, staff and Jesuits that will consult with the University community.
The decision to step down from this role – one of the great honors of my life – was certainly not an easy one. The insights born of deep personal reflection, however, are an important guiding light. We teach this to our students, and it is true for me as well. I look forward to spending the coming academic year with all of you, continuing to further our goals as a community. In June 2019 I shall take a sabbatical (only my second such respite since 1988) and discern with the Jesuit Provincial where I might be most useful in my next assignment.
It has been an honor to serve as President since January 2009 while we have educated and formed students for the challenges of the twenty-first century. I am grateful for the contributions, support, and dedication of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, Trustees, Regents, Fellows, and friends of the University. Importantly, given our talented and capable leadership team, I am confident that Santa Clara will continue to build on its positive momentum following my departure.
We are prospering and rising to new heights of achievement in teaching, curriculum development, scholarship and creative expression, and service to our students and the broader community. Driving forward the goals of Santa Clara 2020 and our Integrated Strategic Plan, we have advanced this institution and further solidified its legacy. You have worked with me to achieve a number of our major priorities, including to diversify our faculty, staff, and student body; double the number of first-generation college students in our LEAD Scholars program; launch the Johnson Scholarship Program, encouraging students to explore their personal potential and leadership skills; and support student awards in unprecedented numbers in Rhodes (3 in 9 years), Truman, Schwarzman, Udall, Fulbright (8 in this year!), and Knight-Hennessy Scholars. We have also integrated the Jesuit School of Theology into the University.
In addition, we have continued to advance the key tenets of Jesuit education. To highlight just a few examples, we expanded programs and fellowships in the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and built meaningful relationships and gave back to our local community through the Entrepreneur’s Law Clinic and Thriving Neighbors Initiative of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education.
Throughout our time together, we have planned and built state-of-the-art modern facilities for academics, residence life, and athletics, including the Edward M. Dowd Art & Art History Building, the Howard S. and Alida S. Charney Hall of Law, Patricia and Stephen Schott Enrollment Management building, Stevens Stadium and Soccer Training Center, Locatelli Student Activity Center, Graham residence hall, and the University Villas. We have launched construction for the Steven Finn residence hall, as well as commenced work for the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation. As these examples demonstrate, the momentum at this University is tremendous, thanks to all of you.
Let me close by expressing my gratitude for your whole-hearted dedication to our shared mission at SCU. You are accomplishing immense good, and I cherish the years I have had with you. I take great comfort knowing that we shall continue in the coming academic year to collaborate in educating women and men to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world. And we shall do so according to the motto of the University: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – To the Greater Glory of God.
Michael E. Engh, S.J.