On March 5, the SCU Alumni Association bestowed its highest honor on five alumni whose lives reflect the ideals of excellence, judgment, worldliness, and service. Established in 1981, the Ignatian Award recognizes alumni who live the SCU ideals of competence, conscience and compassion, and have been a credit to the University through outstanding service to others.
Shelly (Bruneau) Barsanti ’72
Barsanti is an active volunteer for the American Cancer Society and focuses her efforts on childhood and breast cancer. An advocate for 19- to 30-year olds with cancer, she helped found, fund, and organize a unique support group called Healthy Young Attitude. The group’s mission is to provide support and ideas to young adults who are dealing with the physical and psychological effects of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Since 1985, Barsanti and her husband, Dan ’71, have been members of the SCU Board of Fellows.
Daniel C. White ’70 and Sue Cassel White ’69
For the last three years, the Whites have devoted two days a week to work at Los Angeles’ Verbum Dei Prep High School, an inner-city school that seeks to provide primarily disadvantaged students with a holistic Catholic education. The Whites share their extensive knowledge of mathematics with groups of two or three students doing independent study courses in calculus and pre-calculus. Because of the Whites’ dedication and knowledge, these inner-city students have the same college-prep experience (including the rigorous preparation for the Advanced Placement Calculus test) as students in other prep schools.
Leon Panetta ’60, J.D. ’63
After graduation and military service, Panetta worked in Washington, D.C., eventually becoming the director of the U.S. Office for Civil Rights, responsible for enforcement of equal education laws. Panetta returned to his hometown of Monterey, and was elected to Congress in 1976. He served as a U.S. Representative from California’s 16th (now 17th) district from 1977–1993. He then left Congress to become director of the Office of Management and Budget for the Clinton administration. He was appointed chief of staff to President Clinton in 1994, and served in that position until 1997. Currently, Panetta and his wife, Sylvia, co-direct the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy at California State University, Monterey. The institute serves as a non-partisan study center for the advancement of public policy.
Navah Statman MBA ’84
Since 1991, Statman has been a volunteer with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) of Santa Clara County, and she has served as president since 2002. NAMI is a nonprofit organization that provides support, education, and advocacy for families and friends of people with mental illness. She is also a member of the advisory board for the Youth in Transition Project, a collaboration between the Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System Mental Health Department and Pacific Graduate School of Psychology Clinical Services Interventions and Research Team. She previously was a member of the Santa Clara County Mental Health Board, eventually serving as chair from 1998-2000. She says the motivation for her volunteer efforts comes from the struggles of her eldest daughter, who is mentally ill.