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Message from the Chair of the Board of Trustees

Dear Members of the Santa Clara University Community:

I write with gratitude for your commitment to Santa Clara University and our shared goals as a Jesuit Catholic university. Thanks to your dedication, Santa Clara University excels at our educational mission, sustains our many valued traditions, and leads the way toward new discovery in a wide variety of ways.

To that end, I am pleased to announce the launch of the Presidential Search Committee and its members, who too will lead us toward new discovery. The members were selected in accordance with the Presidential Search Protocol developed by the Trustees in 2008, and after consultation with various constituents, including suggestions asked for and received from the Faculty Senate Council.

The members are:

Faculty/ Staff Members

Ruth Davis –Prof. & Assoc. Dean, School of Engineering

Lisa Kloppenberg – Dean, School of Law

Catherine (Kitty) Murphy – Assoc. Prof. Religious Studies, Assoc. Dir. Grad. Pgm. of Pastoral Ministries

Margaret Russell – Assoc. Prof. School of Law, Interim Assoc. Provost for Diversity & Inclusion


William Leahy, S.J. M. Div. ’78, STM ’80

Arthur Liebscher, S.J. ‘69, M.Div. ‘84, STM ‘86

Joseph McShane, S.J. M.Div. ’77, STM ’77


Paul Gentzkow*

John M. Sobrato * ‘83

Robert (Bob) Finocchio, Jr. ‘73

Tim Haley ‘81

Jeffrey (Jeff) Miller ’73, MBA ’76

Ed Panelli ’53, J.D. 55, Hon. ’86

Larry Sonsini, Hon. ’04

Agnieszka Winkler, MBA ’81

Committee Support

Molly McDonald, Chief of Staff to the President

*Indicates co-chairs

Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to talk with many in our University community regarding the search, have reviewed the data from faculty and staff surveys, and engaged in conversations with representatives from the Faculty Senate Council.  I am grateful for the many thoughtful, helpful contributions that were shared.

One important piece of feedback received was concern regarding our ability to find a Jesuit for the presidency. It is true that limiting the search to Jesuit candidates narrows the breadth and diversity of candidates included in the search. We deliberated thoughtfully and at length about this issue, considering not only the values of our University but also its unique place and identity among other academic institutions, especially here in Silicon Valley.

Appreciating all the above, we intend to continue our pursuit of a Jesuit candidate. But this candidate must be the right leader for Santa Clara first, and be Jesuit second. We are part of a global Jesuit enterprise - one of approximately 150 institutions of higher education worldwide, 28 of which are in the United States. Ours is home to the Jesuit School of Theology, which is uniquely charged with the formation of Jesuits and lay people in the Catholic Church. This and more leads us to have a very strong preference in identifying a highly qualified Jesuit to serve as the next president of SCU. The Board of Trustees has every faith that our highly qualified search committee will effectively do its part to identify, screen and recommend candidates to the Board.

This communication will be one of many that will keep you informed about the process and input we will be seeking from the community. The committee’s first meeting is scheduled for September 19, 2018, after which the co-chairs will provide an update. Should you have any questions for me or Paul Gentzkow, trustee and one of the co-chairs of the committee, please feel free to contact us at

As we all enter this process, be assured of my deep appreciation for your dedication to our common endeavor. As we begin this process, we give thanks for the example that has been set by Fr. Engh, and our broader community’s commitment to respect, equity, fairness, and justice. These values will guide the very important work ahead.


John M. Sobrato '83                                                                     

Chair of the SCU Board of Trustees