The annual State of the University address, including some fabulous news for the arts and humanities. And the announcement of Santa Clara 2020, a new vision for the University.
Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J., began his annual State of the University address on Feb. 19 by citing some wisdom as to what makes a “perfect” president—from having many “number one” priorities to having skin as tough as a rhino’s. Amid a reality of competing priorities, Fr. Engh took as the organizing principle of his look at the University’s accomplishments and trajectory “The What, the How, and the Where To.”
THE WHAT: BUILDING FOR THE ARTS
A great piece of news: Ed Dowd ’72 made a gift of $12 million toward construction of the Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building. The new building will be on Franklin Street—which, thanks to a gift of $500,000 by Peggy Bradshaw ’72 and her husband, Richard, will be transformed into a pedestrian mall. Also, the Jesuit Community of Santa Clara has given more than $500,000 to endow a center for the arts and humanities.
Professor Emeritus Victor Vari taught students and has given a love of Italian language and culture to Santa Clara students for more than six decades. Now he and wife Julia Botto Vari have given $8 million to support the arts and humanities. You’ll see their names emblazoned on the newly named Victor B. and Julia Botto Vari Hall. Grazie!
THE HOW: MOVING FORWARD
At the center of President Engh’s discussion of “how we have faced issues” was the concept of shared governance at SCU—a topic of concern to faculty and staff in recent months. In October 2013 Fr. Engh announced that the University’s health care plans would no longer cover abortions that were not deemed medically necessary. The decision sparked heated debate, including questions about the decision-making process, and it brought into focus some of the toughest questions about what it means to be a Jesuit and Catholic university at the beginning of the 21st century. (That is a topic that Santa Clara Magazine, recognizing the importance of modeling thoughtful discourse, will tackle in greater depth in the months to come.)
Since October, Fr. Engh said, “I have learned a great deal about shared governance and how it has been lived at Santa Clara.” He promised a renewal of commitment to the process. “We shall move forward, not alone or isolated, but in partnership,” he said, “and, as we have worked through past differences, together we can—and shall—do so again.”
THE WHERE TO: SANTA CLARA 2020
The highlight of the president’s speech came with the unveiling of Santa Clara 2020, a new Integrated Strategic Plan that provides concrete objectives to realize six strategic goals for the University:
➊ Imparting a transformational Jesuit education
➋ Fashioning a more humane, just, and sustainable world
➌ Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in service of humanity
➍ Advancing contemporary theological studies, education, and ministry
➎ Increasing diversity, access, and affordability
➏ Enhancing Santa Clara’s reputation and national visibility
The integrated plan brings into focus ideas first outlined in the 2011 Strategic Plan, coordinating them with plans for enrollment and facilities to bring greater clarity to how the University will emphasize “the distinctive and transformative educational experience that is the hallmark of Santa Clara University,” Fr. Engh said. “We shall leverage our values and expand our impact in the lives of our students for the benefit of our world.”
Story updated on May 8, 2014 to note that Peggy Bradshaw ’72 and her husband, Richard, donated $500,000 for a new pedestrian mall on Franklin Street. —Ed.