There are nearly 68,000 alumni of Santa Clara University, and the educational experience touched them and their families in myriad ways. Many alumni feel compelled to be donors, and the reasons they give are varied. But each of their gifts helps SCU reach two goals in the Campaign for Santa Clara.
“The goals of the Campaign are $350 million and 75 percent alumni participation,” explains Nancy Trish Calderon, assistant vice president for development. “Every gift takes us closer to our dollar goal and every alumni gift, regardless of size, makes the realization of our participation goal possible.”
More specifically, gifts to SCU’s Annual Fund are critical, according to Calderon, because they allow the University flexibility in allocating funds to the areas of greatest need. “These monies provide the flexibility to be responsive to academic needs and opportunities as they arise,” she says. “The Annual Fund supports costs including academic programs, facilities, financial aid, and much more.”
As donors reflect on the many ways the University has shaped their lives, their children’s lives, and the community, they all share a desire to give back so that future generations may have a Santa Clara experience as well.
Connected to campus
Carlos Bobadilla ’00 is still paying off his student loans, but he also makes sure that part of every paycheck he receives is donated to the University, because, as he puts it, Santa Clara helped make him who he is today.
“Santa Clara was really good to me,” says Bobadilla. “I got a lot of financial aid. Even though I don’t give a tremendous amount right now, I hope someday to be able to help someone like I was helped.”
Bobadilla graduated with degrees in marketing and art history, and now is the assistant director of the Benson Center. At night he is a second-year student in the MBA program in the Leavey School of Business. And the Santa Clara connection doesn’t end there—he also lives on campus in University housing.
“I don’t think I could have had a better experience in college,” says Bobadilla. “ I think the best parts of it are the people I met, and the people I meet while continuing to work here.”
As an alumnus and now as an employee, Bobadilla says he also supports the University’s mission. “I believe in the goals of the education of the whole person,” he explains.
Impact on the family
Barbara and Frank Barone of Saratoga are parents of two sons who graduated from Santa Clara with engineering degrees: Michael ’88 and David ’90. Both sons played soccer at SCU, and David is now on the University’s Board of Regents. Frank is a manager at Lattice Semiconductor in Silicon Valley and is on an advisory board for the School of Engineering. Since they live nearby, the Barones were able to attend their sons’ athletic events. Now they have season tickets for men’s basketball, and they also attend other SCU events, including the Golden Circle Theatre Party.
The Barones, who have been SCU donors since 1988, say they strongly believe in the educational institution that helped their sons. “We just feel that it is important to support education,” Barbara says.
Their son, Dave, explains that his parents feel a strong connection to SCU. “They had a great experience as Santa Clara parents,” he says. “I think Santa Clara makes a strong impact on the families of students.”
Married in the Mission
David Smearden ’88 and Leslie (Pender) Smearden ’94 met on campus and were married in Mission Santa Clara in 2001.
Both worked in the University’s mailroom while they were undergraduates but didn’t meet until they attended a retirement party for mailroom supervisor Bob Couture several years later. David earned a degree in engineering, while Leslie’s was in communication.
Today, they live and work in San Jose while raising daughter Corinne, 1. David is a software engineer at Boeing Inc. in Sunnyvale, and Leslie teaches at Sakamoto Elementary School in San Jose.
“I think we’re both better people because of our experiences at the University,” David says. “We both believe it’s a special place, and the religious component of the school was important to us,” he adds, recalling Sunday night Mass, interacting with Jesuits, and the religion classes each took.
The couple has been a member of the President’s Club for several years. “I received a scholarship,” says David, “so I feel a responsibility to give back.” President’s Club donors give $1,000 or more annually and are invited to a special dinner each October. More than 1,000 alumni are members.
David also recently joined the SCU Ambassadors, and he speaks to potential freshmen to encourage them to enroll at SCU. And he is on campus weekly, working on a master’s of science in engineering management.
Three decades of support
John Cromwell ’76 of Woodside has made annual donations to Santa Clara University since graduating with a degree in finance. He recalls his college years with fondness and says that it was a time of many changes in his life. Today he is a managing director of SVB Alliant in Palo Alto, an investment bank that focuses on emerging technology companies and also does mergers and acquisitions advisory work.
Cromwell calls his SCU education “an enriching experience.”
“Santa Clara was the right scale,” he recalls. “I started out as an art major and got interested in banking and finance. I can attribute my practical side to what I developed at Santa Clara,” he explains. While at SCU, he was a cartoonist for the campus newspaper and also ran a small printing business.
SCU has managed its growth well, says Cromwell. “One thing I’ve been impressed by is they’ ve continued to invest in the infrastructure,” he explains.
Four employees at his company are SCU graduates, and he says he sees the University’s imprint on them as well. “They’re intelligent, well-grounded, and they’re not prima donnas,” he says.