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Words and deeds
Their contributions reach from the Mission Campus to New Orleans, from East San Jose to Uganda. Meet the recipients of the 2010 Alumni Awards.
Professor of Economics Mario Belotti has taught at Santa Clara for more than 50 years. It’s become almost ritual on the first day of class for one or two fresh faces to offer regards from their parents, whom he taught a generation earlier. This spring, Belotti taught an undergrad whose father and grandfather both had been his students.
Belotti is well known for his annual economic forecasts. For the past two decades, he has also spent summers crossing the globe as an economic consultant in developing nations. The poverty he’s seen has reminded him of his own childhood in Northern Italy—where 22 family members from three generations packed a house with no running water or electricity.
The Italian connection gave him an extra bond with one of his first and most famous students, former Chancellor Paul Locatelli, S.J. ’60, whose grandfather hailed from the same area as Belotti and whose mother came from the same hometown as his wife, Rose. Bestowing his namesake award on his old friend only enhanced its meaning, Locatelli said. “Over more than 50 years, since I took a finance class from you during my senior year, I have, in genuine awe and great esteem, watched you develop into a Santa Clara faculty member par excellence.”
Phil Grasser '67, M.A '69
Grasser was just 5 years old when his family left Louisiana for Los Angeles, but his connection to New Orleans never faded. Summer vacations often began with two-day train trips to see his cousins and grandparents who remained near Crescent City; one grandfather ran a construction company that built levees along the Mississippi.
After Hurricane Katrina, Grasser was the first to sign up for the SCU Alumni Association’s planned trip to New Orleans to help. In December 2006, Grasser and more than 30 others went to work stripping and rehabbing homes devastated by wind and flood. Grasser has since returned five times, recruiting classmates to come along. Locally, for 12 years he and SCU roommate Marty McHale ’67 conducted Communion services for immobile residents of a San Jose retirement home. He’s also an active supporter of the University, serving on the student recruitment calling team, Board of Fellows, and Board of Regents.
Enrique Flores '01, M.A. '06
Private school was never in the budget for Flores, the son of a janitor and a housecleaner. He began helping earn his keep at an age when many kids still play with toys. By 11, he was diving in dumpsters for cans that could be cashed in; soon he was cleaning car windows, painting houses, and taking odd jobs.
The family had bigger concerns than finances, though. So many boys in their East San Jose neighborhood ended up ensnared in drugs and gangs—then prison. Worried for his son, Flores’ father opened up to one of the priests at Santa Clara’s Jesuit Community, where he served as custodian.
The priest contacted Bellarmine College Preparatory, which set in motion the process that ultimately resulted in a scholarship for young Enrique. It wasn’t an easy transition. Flores went from having just 20 minutes of homework a night to at least an hour for each class. His classmates seemed to be from a different world.
But he found himself supported by school officials who believed in him long before he ever did. They pushed him to go to college and required him to do community service projects.
Bellarmine led to Santa Clara—where academic success came with a sense of responsibility. Often Flores would meet with friends released from prison and wonder why he had been the one to escape. He worked in jobs that would allow him to give back—such as his current role as adult education teacher for substance abuse intervention at the Elmwood Correctional Facility. But he always wanted to do more.
In 2003, he launched East Side Heroes, a nonprofit organization that mentors kids and pays for their private school tuition. In seven years, he’s raised $185,000, sending 10 kids to high schools including Bellarmine, Mitty, and Notre Dame. This fall, freshman Alma Acosta becomes the first of these students to attend Santa Clara.
Doug Barry '66, J.D. '74 and Marie Barry '68
When Doug Barry was 15, he was chosen to join a Navy transport ship on a trans- Pacific voyage from Fort Mason in San Francisco to Japan. For the son of a Coast Guardsman who grew up with sailing in his blood, getting to stand side-by-side with the men steering the ship was a dream come true.
“I was hooked for life,” he says. When he enrolled at Santa Clara, he asked for permission to drop Army ROTC, then required of all underclassmen, so he could enroll in the Navy’s officer training program. He got a firm no. That didn’t stop him, though. He fulfilled the Army ROTC requirement and enrolled in Navy ROTC on his own. That led to five years as a Naval intelligence officer, during which he worked in the basement of the White House’s West Wing and learned fluent Russian. Barry returned to SCU for law school and has made a career as a Silicon Valley businessman.
He and wife Marie—who parlayed skills in medical writing and management into a role as head of international business for Alza Corp.—have both been heavily involved in helping Santa Clara. In 2001, the couple spearheaded a $500,000 gift to the University to establish the Alza Corporation Science Scholars fund. For the past decade, Marie has served as a judge for the annual Tech Awards. She also served a year as national president of the Alumni Association; with their son Christopher ’92, she serves on the SCU Board of Regents. Recently, the Barrys were instrumental in developing a strategic plan for the Alumni Association.