What the numbers show

n the winter issue of Santa Clara Magazine, I was interested to read Cathy Horan-Walker’s report on the long, slow decline in alumni contributions, recently reversed but still well below 20 percent. In the same issue is a piece titled “What do the numbers show?” quoting business magazines which describe SCU as providing a good “bang for the buck,” and ranking it high on the list of colleges that “will make you rich.” That made me wonder: Do alumni support a school because it made them rich? And doesn’t the phrase bring up greed, that dreadful drain on hope, and on its product, social vitality?

I always feel glad and deeply grateful when I send my annual contribution, because my alma mater and the Society of Jesus showed me better ways of making choices. Santa Clara’s cheerful and confident instruction in matters such as faith, reason, ethics, and service gave me powerful antidotes to toxins like greed, though I must still pour the dose myself. I’m grateful to those who showed me those alternatives, and optimistic about today’s students of my favorite school. I know many other alumni have walked similar paths, love their SCU, and donate for the same reason.

And by the way, Santa Clara Magazine is a fantastic magazine. I appreciate your superb editorial work, and the equally fine work of the entire staff. It’s always a delight to find the magazine in my mailbox.

Alan Beilharz ’68
Placerville, Calif.


This edition brought home to me how much SCU has changed in 60 years—and not always for the better. Certainly the University then would never have thought to boast of its position on the list of “colleges that will make you rich” [Mission Matters, Winter 2010]; the Jesuits then seemed to have other values on their minds. Next, we see that by 1970 there were classes only four days a week. During much of my time as a student, six days was more the norm, including Saturday-morning labs. The sad news of the death of my classmate Gene Fisher ’50 [In Memoriam, Winter 2010], hired soon after graduation to spend many years on the mechanical engineering faculty, reminds me that although he was a good man and surely a fine teacher, he would not even be granted an interview today—no doctorate or even a master’s of science; no teaching experience; no research career; no publications list. And finally, no one in 1950 felt that the Quonset hut serving as our “student activities center” needed a “disco ball” hung from a 20-foot ceiling.

R. L. Nailen ’50
West Allis, Wisconsin

… And ladies of the club

Thanks for the article [on the Catala Club, Winter 2010]. My mother, Dorothy Gomes, was active in Catala Club for many years after I graduated. She was grateful for what SCU did for me as well as for her and wanted to give back.

Don Gomes ’66
Anchorage, Alaska


Shame on Santa Clara Magazine for dishonoring Winnie Hook, a wise and holy old woman, with the condescending description “104 years young” [Winter 2010]. Our culture despises elders, especially elder women, who are most likely to live in poverty or—if wealthy—to resort to plastic surgery to hide the natural aging of their sacred bodies. Glitzy Hollywood magazines fuel this climate by treating “old” as the highest insult and “young” as the greatest compliment. I expect much better from my alma mater, which claims to represent Gospel values, and its magazine.

Rev. Dr. Laura M. Grimes ’86
Dayton, Ohio

Combat engineering on the iPhone

Many of us in engineering are proud to read the story of our student John Judnich ’13 in the recent issue of Santa Clara Magazine [“An app with real firepower,” Winter 2010]. However, we notice a critical error in the article. John is a computer engineering major (which is in the Department of Computer Engineering within the School of Engineering), not a computer science major (which is in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science within the College of Arts and Sciences). As the chair of the Department of Computer Engineering, I feel compelled to correct this error; our department and school should receive the rightful credit and recognition. John has been and is supported by several grant programs within our department and the school; these include our Kuehler undergraduate research grant for him to work on a 3-D graphics project and our National Science Foundation S-STEM fellowship for each of his four years as an undergraduate major in our department. He also serves as a lab assistant in one of our undergraduate courses. Unquestionably, John is an exceptional student, and our department and school have invested academically and financially to retain him here at SCU.

Nam Ling
Sanfilippo Family Professor and Chair, SCU Department of Computer Engineering

Bedtime story

Bunk Bed
Experimenting engineers: How high can they go?
Photo: SCU Archives

Reading the winter print copy of the Santa Clara Magazine, I was pretty amazed to find myself and other members of the second-floor McLaughlin back on our bunkbed in the spring of 1970 [page 8, “Santa Clara Snapshot: 1970”]. And I mean “our bunk bed,” as to get it up to the height of the third floor took all our beds, and all our bodies!

Thanks to a higher resolution of the photo [courtesy of the SCU Archives], I and friends who were in the photo were able to discern seven of us on the bed: Jeff MillerJack FolchiTom BattleBob WilsonDan RiceMatt O’Brien, and Dave Adler. All of us were in the class of ’73. Five of us were electrical engineers, Dan and Dave business majors. All of us lived on the second floor of McLaughlin. My roommate, Jack Folchi, and I had been hosting some amount of parties and a resting place for “day students” in our room—210 McLaughlin. That had prompted us to procure a third level for our room’s bunk bed from a bed that had been abandoned in the hallway. This third bed was almost at the ceiling, allowing a person to slide in.

Those McLaughlin bunk beds were of the industrial sort—heavy-duty steel. Looking at our triple one day, we got to speculating how many beds one might stack. As this would take open space, we decided to build as tall as we might—outside. We waited for a quiet weekend day with no resident assistants or Jesuits in sight, and built on the concrete walkway between McLaughlin and Walsh dorms.

As we went upward with the beds from our rooms, the bed developed a side-to-side sway. If you look at the picture, you can see two guy wires that we attached to the third story McLaughlin fire escape. There were two others attached to the Walsh fire escape, obscured in the photo by the sky. At that ninth level of bed, we decided we’d reached the limit of lateral stability, although the beds clearly could have supported more above!

Most important of all, we were not caught in the act. No authority figure ever arrived, and we disassembled and replaced the beds in our rooms without detection.

Matt O’Brien BSEE ’73

Our lovely Ship

As usual, I’m thoroughly elated with the quality of this magazine. However, I perceive an error in the letter by William P. Crawford ’43 [Winter 2010], and in the spirit of future editorial competence, I offer my recollection of the origin of the theater’s nickname, The Ship. Having performed on that stage a number of times, I often heard that the nickname is due to the building having been built to seaworthy standards that mimic soundworthy standards, much like the Mormon Tabernacle: all wood and wooden dowels—no nails. Like true sailors on the sea of make-believe, we thespians came to love our Ship, but mainly for its acoustics.

Robert E. Daley ’58

A legendary lawyer

Manny Gomez, SCU Archives
Carry the ball: Manny Gomez ’39, J.D. ’42 shows how to do it.
Photo: SCU Archives

I read of the recent passing of an SCU law school graduate described as one of the first Latinos recruited to SCU law school [in the 1970s]. It should be noted that Santa Clara University Athletic Hall of Famer Manny C. Gomez ’39J.D. ’42, was recruited by Santa Clara from Coachella Valley back in the late 1930s. (I know something about Manny since, in addition to being the father of an SCU alum, I am Manny’s son-in-law). Manny was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and considered himself a Mexican (not a Latino, Chicano, Mexican American or any of the other labels used by the media). He was amused by all of these labels. He was an American who was born in Mexico.

John A. Saunders

Manny Gomez was also a bit of a legend—as the obituary of him in the San Jose Mercury News in April 1993 notes, and which Mr. Saunders was kind enough to share. Gomez was originally recruited to SCU to play basketball. “As the story goes,” the Merc recounts, “Harlan Dykes, basketball coach at Santa Clara University, saw Manny’s younger brother, Ramon, play basketball and inquired about the possibility of his playing for him. Their mother said, ‘No, but you can take my older son.'” In fact, football turned out to be Gomez’s sport; he played for Buck Shaw’s team in 1936 and “ran the opening kickoff of the first game back 43 yards and almost scored. He did score the first touchdown in that Bronco victory over Stanford.” The team went all the way to the Sugar Bowl and beat Louisiana State 21–14. But the bowl game took its toll on Gomez; he contracted pneumonia and was so ill that one newspaper account reported him dead. “He licked the pneumonia, [but] he contracted tuberculosis.” He recovered after months in the campus infirmary, but his football days were through. His days as a lawyer, “pretty much serving all comers,” as Mr. Saunders told the Merc, were yet to come.— Ed.

Fr. Fagothey’s wisdom

Seeing the photograph of Fr. Austin Fagothey in the Winter edition of Santa Clara Magazine evoked my lasting image of him standing on a desk at the head of the classroom, eyes firmly affixed on the ceiling (or perhaps heavens), open palm of his hand placed firmly on his forehead, imparting knowledge to his awed spectators. Although we often joked about his methods, his wisdom had a profound effect on all of us.

Richard Callahan ’59
Orange, Calif.

A Jesuit legacy in Mexico

The Winter SCM contained a thought-provoking speech by the Jesuit Superior General at the meeting in Mexico City [“Shaping the future”]. The Jesuits have a long history in Mexico, especially with the indigenous people. As documented in one of the California Legacy Series books [see “Good Lit” in the same issue] by SCU professors Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. SenkewiczLands of Promise and Despair, the Jesuits financed the California missions starting in Baja California with Father Juan Maria de Salvatierra founding Loretto, named after his hometown on the eastern coast of Italy.

The Jesuits founded missions south and north from there up to the Baja California border with Alta California. Then the Jesuits fell out of favor with the European royalty, and the missions were turned over to the Franciscans in Alta California and the Dominicans in Baja California. If the Jesuits had continued to control the missions they might have evolved very differently.

Although not a legacy book, A History of Alta California by Antonio Osio, translated by professors Beebe and Senkewicz, inspired the writing of the legacy book. I am extremely grateful to both of these historians for translating this memoir from the original Spanish manuscript written in 1850, including mexicanismos, which are Mexican Spanish words not found in any Spanish dictionary. This is a very profound book capturing the culture of a people as it still exists today, and it should be required reading in all California public schools.

John Carrillo MBA ’86
Morgan Hill

Drumroll, Please!

Santa Clara University’s renovated jazz studio gives music majors and non-majors more space to find their sound.

A Plan For Tomorrow

Santa Clara President Julie Sullivan unveils a new strategic plan, Impact 2030, with a focus on increasing access and opportunity, and, of course, SCU’s Jesuit values and Silicon Valley location.

Hoops of Hope

From pink socks to non-profit outreach, Santa Clara Women’s Basketball hosted their annual Pink Game to honor families impacted by cancer.

Flight and Food

Birds can be the key to understanding the environment and SCU students are taking a closer look.