Santa Clara University

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Bronco Profiles

If these walls could talk…

33 years later, they do—and the case of the missing wallet is closed

Tom Eichenberg
Really his: "Son of a gun," Eichenberg said.
Photo: Charles Barry
For Tom Eichenberg ’76, M.S. ’77, the Seventies are back. They were hand-delivered earlier this year, in the form of a leather-bound time capsule unearthed from the walls of the Benson Memorial Center. Eichenberg didn’t intend to sequester this bit of personal history on campus. He just lost his wallet—in the fall of 1975. And now it’s turned up.

“I guess St. Anthony’s been busy,” Eichenberg said.

After getting a call from SCU’s Alumni Office reporting the good news, he stopped by the Donohoe Alumni House in January to find out what surprises the past held for him. Though, truth be told, he didn’t remember losing his wallet in the first place. But his older brother, Jim Eichenberg ’77, recalled the afternoon quite well. It was a Friday, and the brothers were getting ready to head out for a night on the town. Instead, after a fruitless search for the missing wallet, Tom had to make some calls to cancel his Bank of America card.

No foul play is suspected. Eichenberg figures he probably dropped the wallet in the Benson Center and it was kicked into an air vent. During renovation work, a construction worker found the wallet and turned it in to Millie De Bie at campus safety, who called the Alumni Office. There wasn’t any money in the found wallet, but Eichenberg chalks that up to authenticity of detail.

“I was a typical college student,” he said, “always broke.”

What's in your wallet?
Photo: Charles Barry

He pulled out his draft card, social security card, driver’s license, a Santa Clara student ID and meal card, a BART pass with ten cents on it, a Southern Pacific Peninsula train schedule, two credit cards, a Wells Fargo pocket calendar, a receipt for his yearbook photo, a metric conversion table, and a five-cent stamp.

Then there were the photos: a snapshot of his father, Col. Bill Eichenberg ’41, who served as assistant professor of military science at Santa Clara during World War II, proudly standing next to Tom’s brother Bill Eichenberg ’65, right after he’d been commissioned as an officer in the Army; Jim ’77; and nieces and nephews including Jim Eichenberg ’92 and Bob Eichenberg ’94. Not among the photographs, but also part of the picture as far as Santa Clara is concerned: sister-in-law Patti McDonald Eichenberg ’75, sister Katie Eichenberg ’66, and niece Carolyn Eichenberg Manno ’99.

For Eichenberg, some things have changed since 1975. Take that photo of his father: “Now it looks more like me,” he said. And, he confessed, at 54, with steely hair and glasses, he’s no longer quite the trim dark-haired lad of 130 pounds that his old driver’s license records.

Back from Baghdad

With a little coaxing from the Santa Clara media relations team, the story of Eichenberg’s missing wallet caught the attention of print and broadcast reporters from the Bay Area and across the country. The story even ran in Kazakhstan.

Eichenberg already has his share of international exposure. He attended Santa Clara on a ROTC scholarship and served seven years active duty in the Army and three decades Reserve duty. He now works for Schneider National, a Wisconsin-based trucking company, and lives in Elk Grove, near Sacramento. But in 2005 Col. Thomas Eichenberg returned with the U.S. Army Reserve to serve in Iraq, where he directed the National Iraqi Assistance Center, which directs humanitarian efforts for the military. Under the umbrella of responsibilities fell work on women’s issues, coordinating non-government organizations, employment claims, and detainee issues. The greatest responsibility was medical assistance—collaborating, for example, with U.S.-based Rotary clubs to sponsor life-saving heart surgeries for children or flying a group of Iraqi children to Turkey for corneal transplants. In 2006, SCU alumni might have seen a photo of Eichenberg in Baghdad, where he posed with Lt. General Joseph Peterson ’72 and Robert Gorini ’71, showing off an SCU sweatshirt.


Ignatian & Bannan Awards

Honoring Ignatian Ideals and Service
By Erin Hussey '05

At the third annual Anniversary Awards Dinner on April 26, the Alumni Association honored recipients of the Ignatian Award and Bannan Award. The Association also announced the establishment of the Paul L. Locatelli, S.J. ’60, Award, to be given annually to recognize a University employee or affiliate who has given distinguished and outstanding service to the Alumni Association and the University.

From left: Alumni Association Executive Director Kathryn Kale '86, Association President Stephen A. O’Brien '98, Katie (Thompson) Rice '04, Jocelyn Sideco '99, Charlie Steinmetz '75, Diane Brenneman '68, Molly Gomez, Ralph Gomez MBA '74, and President Paul Locatelli, S.J. '60
Photo: Brandon Milligan '00

Ignatian Award
Established in 1981, the Ignatian Award honors alumni who exemplify the University’s ideals of competence, conscience, and compassion through their service to humanity.

Hon. Diane Brenneman ’68

Now a magistrate judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Brenneman served with the Peace Corps in India and taught in California and Washington, D.C. After completing a law degree at Georgetown University, she served as a clinical supervisor in the Family Law Clinic of the Antioch School of Law and then became a full-time professor and dean. Her most cherished work has been with the DC Bar Pro Bono Program, the Women’s Bar Association, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, the Archdiocesan Legal Network, and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

As a judge, Brenneman is charged with ensuring that more than 1,200 individuals with mental retardation living in the District get the services they are entitled to receive. She has touched the lives of many, particularly those who otherwise might have been lost within the judicial system.

Katie (Thompson) Rice ’04

A year after graduation, Rice moved to South Africa to work with a nonprofit charity caring for children orphaned or abandoned because of HIV/AIDS-related illness and violence. Katie was put in charge of the medical clinic and, with only a few books as her guides, performed emergency medical procedures, worked tirelessly to obtain needed medications, and offered comfort to dying children.

After helping to obtain funding to help build a water purification system for a village in Kenya and doing additional volunteer work in Ethiopia, Rice moved to Palo Alto, where she now lives with her husband, Jesse. She mentors teenage girls at the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, continues to work with AIDS patients, and is a full-time graduate student at SCU.

Jocelyn Sideco ’99

Sideco was working with Marquette University Ministry in September 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. She traveled to New Orleans to volunteer with Operation Helping Hands, a Catholic Charities group organizing housing projects. When it came time to depart, Jocelyn instead took a leave of absence from Marquette and moved to Louisiana to work with the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus.

She created and still manages a program that involves volunteer groups in reconstruction efforts. She coordinates with agencies, arranges housing, and even prepares meals. More than 4,000 volunteers from various Jesuit and non-Jesuit colleges, parishes, and provinces have volunteered through the network she has built—including alumni from Santa Clara

Charlie Steinmetz ’75

For two decades Steinmetz helped run the family business, Tiernay Metals. When the business was sold, the family established the Steinmetz Family Foundation, dedicated to supporting education of underprivileged children. Through the foundation, Steinmetz has worked with a local Rotary Club and the Catholic Education Foundation to launch initiatives including the Big Yellow Bus Program, which funds field trips for inner-city children to visit aquariums, concert halls, and archeology exhibits.

In addition he actively serves on a number of boards, including the Archaeological Institute of America, the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archeology, UCLA Library, and St. Lawrence of Brindisi Elementary School.

Bannan Award
The Louis I. Bannan, S.J., Award honors those who have shown distinguished service to the Alumni Association and University.

Molly & Ralph Gomez MBA ’74 are active and enthusiastic supporters of SCU, serving on the Board of Regents and as University Ambassadors, as well as attending most SCU sporting, social, and religious events.

Legends of the Hall

Meet the newest members of SCU's Athletic Hall of Fame
By Erin Hussey '05 and Kendall Doherty '08

The ranks of the Bronco Athletic Hall of Fame swelled by seven this spring, with a ceremony held May 15 to welcome the newest members of this select crew. Established in 1962, the Hall now boasts 237 individuals and one team as members.

Robert Peters '52

Peters was the man you knew would sink the shot. In 1952, he and his fellow Broncos earned a spot in the Final Four in Seattle—one of the landmark moments in Santa Clara basketball. Alas, the Broncos lost to eventual champion Kansas, 74-55. Peters went on to serve in the U.S. Army, teach English, and coach basketball.

Terry Ennis '66

Not only did Ennis compile an impressive 287 and 87 record over a 36-year coaching career that included three state titles, he was named Coach of the Century in 1999 by The Seattle Times. Before that, as a player, he helped establish Santa Clara as a small powerhouse in the Bay Area. Ennis died last year at the age of 63 after losing his battle to prostate cancer.

Steven Kenilvort '86

A standout point guard, Kenilvort earned the WCC Freshman of the Year award and led the team to two NIT appearances and three second-place WCC finishes. He became the first player in SCU history to lead his team in three categories: points per game, rebounds, and assists. He was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the seventh round of the NBA draft but was unable to play due to a career ending knee injury. He remains an inspiration to Bronco players for his ability to strive for excellence and overcome adversity.

Michael Macfarlane '86
Michael MacFarlane '86
Yer out! Macfarlane makes the tag. Photo: SCU Athletics

Macfarlane brought power to the plate as a batter and was a relentless defender as a catcher. His sophomore year he hit 13 homers and led the Broncos to a record breaking team total 62 home runs. In 1985 he was drafted in the fourth round by the Kansas City Royals and debuted in the major leagues in 1987. He played 10 seasons with the Royals, one with the Red Sox, and two with the A’s. He currently hosts a sports radio program in Kansas City.

Christine Silvernail '94

One of the greatest players in the history of Santa Clara women’s basketball, Silvernail led the Broncos to four consecutive winning seasons, four straight WCC regular season titles, one WCC Tournament championship, a Women’s National Invitation Tournament crown, and two NCAA Tournament appearances. She capped her collegiate career leading the team in scoring, field goal percentage, free throws, rebounds, and blocks per game. She was also named WCC Player of the Year and made the All-WCC first team. Tragically, a few years after graduation, Silvernail was killed in a car accident—but she is remembered as the embodiment of what it takes to be an all-star student-athlete.

Michael Frank '97

WCC Player of the Year his senior year, Frank dominated the league with a .405 batting average and won 11 games as a pitcher. He helped bring the Broncos to three NCAA Tournament appearances, was a four-time All-WCC first team selection and a two-time All-American. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh round and, in 1998, became the quickest player in Reds history to reach the major leagues. Later traded to the Yankees, he played three years in the Triple A league before moving to the St. Louis Cardinals, where he played his final year of baseball.

Jennifer Lalor-Nielsen '98
Jennifer Lalor-Nielsen '98
Jennifer Lalor-Nielsen
Photo: SCU Athletics

One of the founders of the SCU women’s soccer dynasty, Lalor-Nielsen dominated the field and earned threetime All-American honors. She led the Broncos to one WCC Championship and two NCAA semifinal appearances, and she was a four-time All-WCC first team honoree. She represented the U.S. in the 1995 Women’s World Cup in Sweden, where she helped capture the bronze medal and put women’s soccer on the map. She then played with Japan, Denmark, and Sweden before playing professional soccer in the U.S. with the New York Power, San Diego Spirit, and San Diego Sea Lions.

Honoring the Judge

Courthouse named for Robert M. Falasco '48, J.D. '51
Robert M. Falasco '48, J.D. '51
Friend of the court: Falasco at the justice center that now bears his name
Photo: Annette Elrod

Last August, judges in the Los Banos area gathered to pay tribute to a colleague who had mentored many of them in his decades on the bench. They praised him for his honesty and intelligence, and for being a man of common sense with a touch of humor. They also renamed the courthouse in his honor: the Merced County Robert M. Falasco Justice Center.

Falasco was humbled by the tribute—a moment that holds the penultimate place among the recognitions he’s received for his work inside and outside the courtroom. He still counts as his greatest achievement an honor bestowed on him in 1975 by Pope Paul VI: being made a Knight of St. Gregory the Great for his civic and religious activities.

“My Catholic identity is one of the most central things to my life,” he says—and then adds, wryly, “especially now that I’m entering into my twilight years.” He particularly admired the Jesuits who taught him at Santa Clara: Raymond F. Copeland, William J. Tobin, Francis A. Moore, and Dan Germann. “After SCU,” Falasco says, “Fr. Copeland came to Los Banos and would deliver communion to my mother. And Fr. Tobin baptized my children and my wife when she converted. Fr. Germann taught all of my children.”

Those children would be Michael R. Falasco ’73, MBA ’75, Joan LaSalvia ’75, Anne Norton ’75, and Sally Perry ’78. In addition, brother Dominic Falasco ’51, nephew Dan Falasco ’90, grandchildren Dominique Norton ’05, James J. Norton ’07, and Christine LaSalvia ’09, and son-in-law Charles Norton ’76 have come to Santa Clara.


New chapter for New Orleans schools

Santa Clara alumni send thousands of books to schools in need
NOLA bound: Mary Modeste Smoker, left, helps Kathy Mitchell carry donated books.
Photo: Charles Barry
The devastation Hurricane Katrina inflicted in 2005 is still very evident today in New Orleans. But a group from Santa Clara is doing what it can to help heal the city’s wounds, one book at a time.

Since learning about the need for books in New Orleans school libraries on an immersion trip to the city earlier this year, the Alumni Association has sent more than 5,000 children’s books to the New Orleans School District. With shipping costs picked up by a friend of the University, boxes filled with books have been shipped every month since May, with another shipment scheduled to go out mid-September.

Mary Modeste Smoker ’81, the Alumni Association’s assistant director for community service and spiritual programs and organizer of the book drive, says the idea arose this January when she and a group of alumni were working to build a playground at a New Orleans elementary school. The volunteer coordinator for the school district mentioned the need for books, and the rest is history.

“A school library without books is like a playground without swings,” said Troy Peloquin, volunteer coordinator for the Recovery School District in New Orleans. “I don’t think there are words to thank all of those who have given our students such a meaningful gift.”

Kathy Mitchell ’87, a fifth-grade teacher at Ron Nunn School in Brentwood, brought a carload of readers and chapter books to the alumni office one afternoon this summer. They weren’t all hers. She had asked fellow teachers and the school librarian to collect books for the drive, and her students helped to organize them. “As teachers we are hoarders, but knowing these books were going to be used, it made it easier to part with them,” she said.

How long will the drive continue? “As long as I have people bringing in great books, we’ll keep sending them,” says Smoker. “The network keeps growing.”

For more information about the book drive and how you can participate through donations and purchasing Barnes and Noble gift cards, visit