Three Lessons from President Engh

Three Lessons from President Engh

Kathy Kale ’86 is Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations—serving a Bronco community more than 100,000 strong. Over the years, what are three things she’s learned about—and from—Fr. Engh?

It’s About the Students

I would venture to say that, if you ask Father what he’s most proud of during his time as President, it would harken back to those first two years where were able to weather the recession without losing students who couldn’t afford to stay in school. No student had to leave because of financial difficulties, thanks to specific funds that were raised and the financial aid SCU provided.

It goes back to the heart of what he cares about, which is the student experience and student connection. He’s a teacher at heart. Educating for that good, I think, has always been the thing that has filled him up and driven him..

Scale and Pride

SCU really had to change from a centralized, individual-driven organization to a decentralized, multidimensional organization. Firing on all cylinders means engaging the provost and academic community as well as building a fundraising capacity that leverages broad skills and talents to achieve all the things the university wants to achieve. Father Engh really had to build something new for Santa Clara.

The alumni are proud—that’s what I sense when we go out. There’s a lot of pride: in your degree, in your university, in our place in the world. There’s always nostalgia. That’s part of the currency that we trade on, but the pride of what we are as an institution and a community is way higher than any concern about where we’re going. Alumni want SCU to matter in the world.

“I love this event!”

The Alumni Office staff always gets handwritten notes from Father Engh after big events—or emails to people, thanking them for what they did. To be a man at that level, his appreciation and gratitude for things big and small has always touched me. And not just me personally, but for my staff and for the people who are in the trenches.

He always comes to the Gianera Society Luncheon at Grand Reunion, where we induct of the class celebrating their 50th anniversary. He blesses the medals. He stays. He meets everybody. He shakes all their hands. He takes a picture with every single one of them. I always feel like maybe we’re putting him out. Instead, when it’s done, he’s like, “I love this event!”

Kathy Kale ’86, Alumni
Kathy Kale ’86, Assistant VP of Alumni Relations
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