Letters Summer 2017

Let’s look back at the future of STEM. Comments on our Spring 2017 mag.


As I read the article about John C. Cruden J.D. ’74, it brought back memories of my time as an admiralty attorney. On March 24, 1989, at about 4 a.m., I was awakened by a call from the general counsel of Exxon Shipping, who needed to negotiate a salvage contract. I told him to wait a moment; I put the phone down, got out of bed, washed my face, put on my bathrobe and went to the kitchen.

I came back on the line and he explained the Exxon Valdez had run aground in Prince William Sound. He did not have many details, but believed it could be a serious oil spill. He desired to hire my client’s three large ship-assist tugboats based in Valdez, Alaska, for docking and undocking of tankers. Over the next half hour, we worked through my client’s standard salvage contract, reached an oral agreement, and the tugboats began assisting the Valdez. I got dressed and drove to my office in San Francisco to prepare the written agreement.

Exxon Valdez

Exxon Valdez photo by Associated Press

The following week, I completed contracts for three more clients to assist with cleanup operations. These contracts required almost daily modifications as equipment was added and subtracted from the operation. I received a status call at about 7 p.m. each evening to modify contracts and keep up with the facts. By May, my daily involvement tapered off and my wife and I went on vacation to get away from the intensity of this operation.

Following the enactment of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the U.S. Coast Guard signed a master contract so my largest client’s tugs, barges, and other marine equipment would be readily available in the future.

Dennis Kelly ’68
Hillsborough, California


Love the two-page photo of the South Fork of the Yuba River [Timestamp, Spring 2017] near Nevada City, California, during this great winter! I’ve enclosed a video of this wonderful old bridge taken from the newer one during similar conditions in February. The roar of the churning river adds a stunning effect. This stretch of Highway 49 has been bypassed by a newer span downstream. During the summer, the river is a mere stream, with intermittent deep pools, meandering down the canyon. The raging river pictured conceals the huge boulders in the riverbed. Locals frequent the site and it’s common for daring young folk to jump from the bridge into the pools. Another fine issue!

Woody Nedom ’60
Los Gatos, California

When we saw Kristóf Hölvényi’s photo of a man at the Serbian border, we were transfixed. It served as the Timestamp for our Summer 2016 edition. In March it was recognized with a gold medal for photography from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. We weren’t the only ones pleased about the award.—Ed.  Thank you for your letter sharing the news of Kristóf Hölvényi’s award. He was also involved in the Hungarian Jesuit Refugee Service activities, and his pictures bring value to Hungarian people as well.

Annamaria Jacso
Budapest, Hungary

Refugee in Serbia

A refugee man stands at the Serbian border Photo by Kristóf Hölvényi


I am a third-generation alumna and current SCU staff member. I’ve been reading Santa Clara Magazine since I was a little girl. Even after my grandfather John “Jack” Bonnel ’52 swore an oath against Fr. Locatelli in the ’90s, the most recent issue of SCM always held a place of pride on his reading table, just next to his beloved National Geographic. When my father, Tim Bonnel ’79, would bring home our most recent copy, I would grab the magazine and take it up to my room as if it were addressed to me alone. I love your magazine and enjoy reading the beautiful hard copy you send to me. Best wishes to you and your team for continued success!

Sarah Brockmeyer ’07
San Jose


Page 8 of the Summer 2016 edition asked: “What would the Bay Area be without Santa Clara University?” That is an important question to me. The one thing that sets America apart from other countries is our spirit of entrepreneurship. It is okay to try, fail, dust oneself off, and try again with renewed vigor. The whole Bay Area thrives on this.

Geoff Fox

Dirty business: physics teacher and motocross entrepreneur Geoff Fox ’62. Photo courtesy Fox family

I attended Santa Clara in what might be called the glory days of early tech—1970–74. I was exposed to the precision of Gerald Alexanderson as a teacher in mathematics and the beauty of discovery with Dick Pefley in mechanical engineering. I conducted experiments with Larry Nathan in inorganic chemistry and learned responsibility from Tenny Wright, S.J., in religious studies. But I learned to think from Geoff Fox ’62 in physics.

Ever seen the Fox logo as a decal on a vehicle or as a logo on a piece of clothing? I can’t drop my son off at high school without driving through the student parking lot seeing this decal proudly displayed on most vehicles. Well, what if I told you this logo originates with Geoff Fox, former student and teacher at Santa Clara? Fox is the founder and CEO of Fox Racing.

It was comical as a student waiting each Monday morning in Daly Science Center to see what new injury Dr. Fox would have because he loved dirt bike racing. But he conveyed his passion and made it all quite practical for each of us to follow our dreams.

It is no secret in the Bay Area that undergraduate engineering students coming out of Santa Clara are something special.

Bill Kerler ’74
Grass Valley, California


The Spring 2017 edition was truly fabulous. Terrific idea on the four-page foldout on the new STEM campus. And that nice page about the windows. One little glitch there: I was not the President at the time, I was the Rector of the Jesuit Community, which is why I was involved in the renovation, reconstruction of—and commissioning of the art work for—Nobili Hall.

I am so happy that you have created such an attractive and intelligent vehicle for communicating who we are and what we hope to achieve. You are explaining us well—and honestly.

William Rewak, S.J.
Chancellor Emeritus

We’re grateful for having our errors pointed out so graciously. While we’re making corrections, here’s another: “Cut and Paste Conservation” by Emma Marris made reference to amino acids where we should have referred to DNA. The right way to explain the CRISPR system: “‘Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats’ of DNA that give the technique its acronym.” —Ed.


The shuttering of local watering hole The Hut has brought in a few more memories. Here’s one.

I’d split a pitcher or two in The Hut, but I was hardly a denizen. Law school kept me pretty busy starting fall 1982. That was the year Silicon Valley got bombed with malathion to exterminate the medfly. It was a controversial move by the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown ’59. The governor’s chief of staff, Brien Thomas “B.T.” Collins ’70, J.D. ’73, famously demonstrated the safety of the pesticide by drinking a glass of it at a press conference.

By second year, the panic was off and I could take some fun classes. Among them a class on legislation, taught by Dorothy Gray J.D. ’79. Dorothy had been in Sacramento among Jerry Brown’s “kitchen cabinet” and became friends with Collins. She invited him to class.

B.T. lectured for well over an hour on how things really get done in the legislature. His case study was how he took the California Conservation Corps from one of the governor’s barking dogs and converted it into a shining star by cracking down on discipline in the camps and making sure it got good press. “In politics,” B.T. told us, “perception is more important than reality.” He must have said that half a dozen times.

At the end of the lecture, B.T. invited us all to The Hut and the beer flowed freely.

B.T. Collins

Wall of honor: B.T. Collins ’70, J.D. ’73 with the B.T. Collins Memorial Latrine in Heafey Law Library. It was, of course, his idea. Read more about B.T. in our archives. Photo by Charles Barry

About halfway into the second pitcher, I said, “Hey B.T.,” (we were all on a first name basis by then) “was there really malathion in that glass?” He said, “What do you think I have been trying to tell you for the past two hours?!”

Thomas Bonte J.D. ’84
Modesto, California


In April your magazine was honored with an unprecedented four MAGGIE awards, presented by the Western Publishing Association. The MAGGIEs honor the best of magazines west of the Mississippi and are presented at an Oscars-style ceremony in Los Angeles. The year’s honors: best magazine published by an association or nonprofit; best consumer magazine publication design; best editorial photograph for “Where are they taking us?” by Colleen Sinsky ’10; and best interview or profile for “Let There Be Light,” the profile of Frank Cepollina ’59, the NASA maverick who saved the Hubble Telescope, written by Robert Zimmerman. When the news broke, here’s what some readers had to say on Facebook:

Major congrats to Steven Boyd Saum and the Santa Clara Magazine team. Bravo! Santa Clara proud!!

Marie Barry ’68

Congratulations! This alum looks forward to every publication.

Anne Quaranta ’89

Excellent news. It’s a fabulous publication. Congratulations.

Heidi LeBaron Leupp ’84

This Summer Girls Ran the World

Swift Clara, the Bey Hive, honorary mayorships, and more: This summer, fanbases of mainly women helped rebound the U.S. economy.

A Billion for Tomorrow

A billion in support of scholarships, research, and facilities. Find out what it all means

Super Bloom!

What happens after the rains fall can be glorious.


Play—whether via imagination or with perspective—never stops being important to a person’s development.