Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
For the contributions he has made to enriching the lives and furthering the prospects of the poor—and for his leadership within the Society of Jesus—Scott Santarosa, S.J., ’88 received the School of Engineering’s highest honor, the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, recognizing alumni whose accomplishments in their professions, communities, and University service have set them apart.
During his time as a student at SCU, the seeds for Santarosa’s future were planted when he took part in a brief trip to Mexico. There, he witnessed abject poverty but was moved by how the people experienced God’s love. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, he joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, running an after-school program for low-income families in New Jersey, and soon decided to begin the formation process to become a Jesuit. He spent his fourth year of theology studies in Mexico City.
As a Jesuit, Fr. Santarosa spent five years at Verbum Dei High School in Watts, Los Angeles. When he arrived in 2000, the inner-city school was on the verge of closing. Just six years later, he transformed the school into a well-respected Catholic preparatory school for low-income students, with 100 percent of the graduating students accepted to college. For the next eight years, he lovingly pastored Dolores Mission Church in Los Angeles, a parish dedicated to social justice through serving the poor and the immigrant. In 2014, he took on the role of Provincial of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, and as the Jesuits merge the California and Oregon provinces, he will head the new province, which includes Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Hawaii.
Santarosa is no stranger to this mag; read about his provinical post in the Summer 2014 edition.