On a Mission

Welcome to the Campaign Edition of Santa Clara Magazine!

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It is said that you cannot know where you are going until you know where you have been … So, let us consider where we have been.

Santa Clara University sits on the land of the Ohlone people, who for generations inhabited the territory from San Francisco to the lower Salinas Valley.

Jesuits by the names of John Nobili and Michael Accolti built our campus around the Mission, which today remains our anchor and spiritual center.

We evolved into an institution of higher learning, the first of its kind in California. We recognized the importance of increasing our academic offerings, adding schools to complement our college—and, in 1961, finally admitting women to the University.

We created centers of distinction, expanded enrollment, and increased our majors, minors, and study abroad opportunities.

We graduated scientists and doctors, politicians and philanthropists, athletes and educators: thoughtful citizens in all areas of study.

And as we have grown, we have built, and built, and built again.

All this progress demonstrates our evolution as an institution over the years, reflecting where we have been.

But, I ask, where are we going? How will we influence and inspire change in the world? What will Santa Clara do in the 21st century? Where can Santa Clara’s mission reach beyond that?

Consider our Mission: the historic adobe walls, the eight white martyr crosses, and the great wooden doors. These images tell stories of both triumph and toil for humanity—stories that reflect where we have been, and that offer hope for where we are going. As we walk up the steps, pull open the doors, and enter the Mission, we cross a threshold. We blur the boundaries of outside and inside, of past and present. As we bring our personal stories within—our own toils and triumphs—we share in each other’s struggles and successes. Our kinship grows. Our humanistic bond strengthens. Our shared vision expands. But, to share Santa Clara’s vision with the world, we must start by swinging open the Mission doors and inviting others to join us.

Join us as ethical leaders.

Join us as compassionate problem-solvers.

Join us as sustainable innovators.

As I invite you into our Mission, I welcome you on our mission to share Santa Clara more widely with the world. It is my pleasure to announce the start of our shared journey, our public campaign: Innovating with a Mission: The Campaign for Santa Clara University. Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless Santa Clara University.


Michael E. Engh, S.J.

Looking Up

Spotted by stargazers this summer, during a profoundly difficult period for humanity, NEOWISE reminded us to look up, together.

The First

Mel Lewis ’53—the first Black graduate of SCU—reflects on his days as a Bronco.

Following the Trail

Spaniard Franciscan priest Magin Catalá arrived at Mission Santa Clara in 1794. His legacy is deep rooted in campus, literally.


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