Dig in!

News from around the mission campus.

With a cloud of dust and a mighty cheer, 16 shovels plunged into the earth between the Leavey Center and Buck Shaw Stadium on the afternoon of Sept. 28 to mark the symbolic beginning of construction of a new edifice to rise on campus: a student activity center named in honor of Chancellor Paul L. Locatelli, S.J. ’60. As president from 1988 to 2008, Fr. Locatelli exhibited a boundless energy and deep concern for students (a fact noted by more than one speaker at the ceremony), so it’s only appropriate that the hub of student activities on campus bears his name.

The new building was made possible thanks to a $7 million donation from Mary Matthews-Stevens ’84 and husband Mark Stevens, a partner in the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. The family was on hand for the groundbreaking, and Matthews- Stevens wiped back happy tears at the podium. “It was a stretch financially for my parents to send me here,” she acknowledged. “But it was a worthwhile stretch. Thank you, Mom and Dad.” She encouraged all the “lucky students” out there who would use the new center to enjoy their time at Santa Clara, to value the bonds of friendship they were building, and to “give back when you can.”

Santa Clara Trustee Mike Carey ’74 emceed the event. Among the dignitaries present was Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who said that “we are gathering the dust on our shoes today” to celebrate a “great gift that will last for decades and decades to come.” Speaking on behalf of SCU students was Sean Brachvogel ’10, student body president. He welcomed the move from the basement of the Benson Center to the new building, whose second floor will be home to the Center for Student Leadership, Associated Students, the Santa Clara Community Action Program, and the Activities Programming Board. The ground floor in the new center will be a 6,000-square-foot open hall where student organizations will be given priority to schedule events.

Back from Rome for the occasion, Chancellor Locatelli called the building “the next in a long line of construction projects that have changed the University,” buildings that together serve as important gathering places for “students, scholars, and friends.” He thanked a number of those present— including members of the Locatelli family and his Jesuit brothers—and shared appreciation for students who not long ago rounded out his education by introducing him to In-N-Out Burger.

New for alumni too
StudentCenter_cropped_220
Student-centered: Construction is slated for completion this spring.
Photo: Charles Barry

The new building has been some five years in the planning. In terms of architecture and engineering, it raises the bar on campus for energy efficiency. Central skylight shafts bring sunlight through to the ground floor, trellises and overhangs reduce direct solar gain, and building water runoff is diverted to planting areas. These and other features will allow the building to exceed California energy-efficiency standards by 25 percent. Construction is slated for completion in June 2010.

The new construction brings one notable change for alumni: a renovation of Kerr Alumni Park, which will be relocated next to the new student center. Originally created in 1975, the park was designed, built, and landscaped by alumni and volunteers and has hosted barbecues, reunions, student receptions, and numerous other events. In 2003 it was renamed in honor of former Alumni Association Director Jerry Kerr ’61 in recognition of his more than 30 years’ service to the University. Alumni Association Executive Director Kathy Kale ’86 expressed hopes that the many people who had created and cherished the park will “join us later this year as we begin to create new memories at our new outdoor gathering spot.”

post-image Breaking ground for the new Paul L. Locatelli Student Activity Center
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