I can tell you stories

From the editor: a new chapter for SCU with President Michael Engh, S.J.

Like you, those of us here at Santa Clara Magazine are excited to see how the next chapter of the Santa Clara story will unfold. Now is a fascinating, transformative time on campus, with the inauguration of President Michael Engh, S.J., just a few weeks away. Mark your calendar for April 23-24, and join us for the celebration.

Since assuming office at the beginning of January, President Engh has devoted time to “deep listening,” learning from the University community he is charged with leading and assessing the challenges that are particular to the University and those that are part of the economic tremors shaking the state and the country and the planet. It’s not an easy time to be president.

And like you, we are interested in understanding who President Engh is up close and personal—what makes him tick?—and what are the experiences and insights that he brings to Santa Clara. Ron Hansen’s interview gives an illuminating portrait of the man in his own words. You can hear his voice and, we hope, gain a sense of the storyteller and historian whose words and ideas will shape the arc of the big Santa Clara story in the years ahead.

Here at SCM, naturally, we’re rather partial to storytelling, particularly when it’s done with a breadth of imagination and with the understanding of the complexity of the world, with a sense of scale and scope and urgency and perhaps humor. Tellingly, it’s stories that possess an expansive sense of what this magazine can and should be that have brought recent accolades to SCM. In a competition among more than 100 universities, it’s David Pace’s photo essay—with images from Burkina Faso, El Salvador, and Cuba—that received the highest honor. It’s an illustration that brings to life the politics of the Middle East that we discussed with Reza Azlan ’95 that was lauded most. What do these stories have to do with Santa Clara? Everything. They are what happen when the ideas and ideals that are taught and learned at this place are woven into the fabric of the world. And it’s gratifying when these stories resonate both with our readers and with far-flung folks.

Also like you, we’re intrigued to see a pair of Santa Clara grads brought into the inner circle of President Obama to direct efforts on national security: Janet Napolitano ’79, confirmed as director of Homeland Security the day of Obama’s inauguration; and Leon Panetta ’60, J.D. ’63, to the new head of the Central Intelligence Agency. (The former governor of Arizona and head of the National Governors Association, Napolitano had her own cheering section at the inauguration ceremony; a posse of her fellow governors shouted out in unison, “Hey, Janet!”)

Where Napolitano and Panetta will help lead the country remains to be seen. (Again, it’s not an easy time to be president—or advise one.) But, as the San Jose Mercury News observed in an editorial about these appointments (along with the dig, “Stanford, eat your heart out”), bringing clear principles and compassion to bear on ethical dilemmas is a good way to find your way when there are no easy answers. We’ll be waiting to see what happens next in this big story, too.

Keep the faith.

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