Re-imagining Jesuit education: the State of SCU

How can we reimagine the meaning of Jesuit education? That was the task President Paul Locatelli, S.J., set as part of the annual State of the University address on Feb. 13. Drawing on his 19 years of experience as president, he discussed the meaning of community and encouraged students, faculty, and staff to pursue learning and living our values every day.

The University is preparing its academic programs for the 21st century, he noted, undergoing changes to the Core Curriculum and a self-study in preparation for reaccreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

With funds raised by the recently concluded Campaign for Santa Clara, he noted, the University was able to establish 12 new endowed professorships—including one now held by Jim Koch, acting dean of the School of Engineering.

The audience gave several rounds of applause to retiring men’s basketball Head Coach Dick Davey—along with a standing ovation, not least because Santa Clara had defeated Gonzaga the night before to take first place in the WCC. Read “A Century of Bronco Basketball” for more.

One of Santa Clara’s goals as an institution is to be a community of inclusive excellence, Locatelli said. A recent off-campus theme party held by students from which offensive images were published online, compelled the president to address reinforcing our commitment to diversity and cultural sensitivity.

Other challenges facing the University, and students in particular, are the dangers presented by alcohol abuse and ever-more anonymous and widespread Internet communication. Locatelli urged members of the community to be cautious and responsible in their use of both.

The president also briefly discussed his appointment to the position of Secretary for Higher Education for the Society of Jesus. Although he said he was initially reluctant to take a position centered in Rome, he is looking forward to contributing to the improvement of Jesuit education around the world: There will be a new Jesuit university opening in Africa later this year, as well as an online institution.

Senior Jenny Moody, president of the student body, also addressed the state of the University from the student perspective. She cited increased student safety, additional study space, and confronting the pervasive alcohol culture as the ASSCU’s top priorities this year. SS

Read the full text of Fr. Locatelli’s address.

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