Founder of the Field

Remembering André L. Delbecq: four decades of teaching, service, and spiritual leadership.

Founder of the Field
Only connect: André L. Delbecq and the flag of Normandy, celebrating the launch of an exchange of French and Silicon Valley high-tech and government leaders in 1991. View full image. Photo courtesy SCU Archives and Special Collections

A founder of the field of spirituality and business leadership, André L. Delbecq applied his understanding and practice of prayer, meditation, and reflection to organizational leadership. His counsel and teaching deeply influenced business leaders, colleagues, and students around the world. Santa Clara was his home for nearly 40 years. He passed on Oct. 12, 2016.

André Delbecq was born in Toledo, Ohio, and received his B.A. from the University of Toledo and graduate degrees from the University of Indiana. He taught management at the University of Wisconsin before coming to Santa Clara, where his long and distinguished career began with service as dean of Leavey School of Business (1979–89). He served as director of the Institute for Spirituality of Organization Leadership, Faculty Senate president, Thomas J. and Kathleen L. McCarthy University Professor, and senior fellow of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education.

Santa Clara recognized him with numerous awards for teaching, scholarship, and leadership, including President’s Recognition Awards, Dean’s Awards for Exceptional Teaching, Faculty Senate Professor of the Year, and most recent, the Award for Sustained Excellence in Scholarship.

He consulted and lectured from Australia to Norway, South Africa to New Zealand. And he earned international recognition for executive programs delivered to high-technology industries as well as health, human services, and government organizations.

True to the Ignatian charism that animated him, he applied his understanding and practice of prayer, meditation, and reflection to organizational leadership. He played a foundational role in developing and shaping the field of spirituality and business leadership.

At Santa Clara, he founded the Ignatian Faculty Forum in 2002, and for almost 15 years he led the Forum in helping to engage faculty in reflective discernment and to discover Ignatian spirituality as it is lived by faculty. In 2013, he founded and designed the Senior Leadership Forum, a program that invites those in senior leadership at the University to explore Jesuit higher education and to reflect on their own calling as leaders in higher education.

Near to his heart: his English mastiff dogs; his Harley Davidson; his boat; cooking gourmet meals with Mili, his beloved wife and partner for 27 years (who also earned an MBA from SCU in 1978); his children, grandchildren, and brother. He also loved his students and colleagues and held them in his prayers whether they knew it or not. André is survived by Mili, daughter Adrienne Delbecq-Backos, brother Jean Pierre Delbecq, and three grandchildren, Max, Mireille, and Jean-Luc. He was preceded in death by his son, Jean-Marc Delbecq.

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