A Wide-Ranging Legacy

The late accounting Professor Mario Belotti came to Santa Clara from a farmhouse in Italy in time to study the ascent of Silicon Valley.

The late Santa Clara economics and accounting professor Mario Belotti influenced students, Bay Area business leaders, and entire countries. Born in a farmhouse without water or electricity near Bergamo, Italy, the story of Belotti’s remarkable immigrant life, chronicled in his 2015 memoir, tells the tale of the American Dream that led him to Santa Clara in time to witness—and study—the ascent of Silicon Valley.

By the timeBelotti retired in 2019 after 60 years of teaching Santa Clara University students about the world of economics and accounting and their practical applications in life, he’d witnessed the valley surrounding campus transform into a global hub for innovation and become one of the wealthiest regions on earth.

For most of those years, he kept alumni and Bay Area business leaders up to speed with his popular economic forecasting program, held every January, to present his year-ahead expectations for the United States economy.

His influence even extended around the globe during the 22 summers he worked—often with his wife, Rose, and three children in tow—as an economic consultant in developing countries from Brazil to Egypt, Hungary to Kenya, Thailand to Nepal.

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Mario Belotti was born to a sharecropper family in Italy, and emigrated to the United States in 1951 with a few dollars to his name. Photo provided by the Belotti family.

As Belotti wrote in his memoir, It Was All for the Love of a Horse, he’d come a long way from a life of grinding poverty in Italy to a chance meeting with an American sponsor, his arrival in the U.S., and a teaching career at Santa Clara.

Belotti died on Nov. 17, 2023, at the age of 97. “My motto in life was to work where I could,” he told Santa Clara Magazine in 2020. “Know who you are, and do the best job you can. That’s all I can say.”

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