Santa Clara University


Mission Matters

A banner beginning for Madam Speaker

Pelosi at Mass
Pelosi and family leaving Mass. Photo: Courtesy of Nancy Pelosi's Office

The call came on Friday evening at a quarter to six, the last day of the fall quarter. Jerald Enos was tying up loose ends before leaving for the holiday break, but he answered the phone anyway. On the line was Stephen Privett, S.J., president of the University of San Francisco.

Privett had a request: Could Enos, the resident scenic designer for SCU’s Department of Theatre and Dance, create two banners for the liturgy and swearing-in ceremony for the first woman in history to be elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives? Reason being that Enos had been the artist behind banners painted in memory of six Jesuit priests and two women murdered in El Salvador in 1989—banners that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had seen and admired. And she wanted him to use a similar technique to feature the faces of children she visited in Darfur and New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Enos, who lauds Pelosi as “the new voice of the voiceless,” agreed to the request without hesitation.

The timeline was tight. Enos had to have the banners completed and mailed to Washington, D.C., before Jan. 1. In order to do this and not have the project interfere with his holiday plans, he needed to design, create, paint, and ship the banners by Dec. 22 —just one week after receiving that late afternoon phone call.

Enos gathered his supplies over the weekend and, with help from student Robert Campbell, fellow scenic artist Shawn Andrei, and colleague Joanne Martin, worked from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. for the next four days. Enos chose the faces of children to incorporate in his banners from images sent by Pelosi’s staff.

“It was like a meditation on the gift of life and the abundance of things we have,” he said, referring to the experience of looking closely at the faces of children in a time of need.

The two 36-inch-by-54-inch banners were finished and shipped to D.C. and were on display at Trinity (Washington) University, Pelosi’s alma mater, where she attended Mass the day before she was sworn in.

“This is an opportunity to tell a story the country—the world—needs to be aware of,” said Enos, who declined payment for the project and donated the banners to Trinity. “If it raises the consciousness of one person, then I’ve been paid.” KCS

Meet the new secretary of higher education, S.J.

Paul Locatelli, S.J. Photo: Charles Barry

The start of the new year brought with it a new role for SCU President Paul Locatelli, S.J.: secretary for higher education for the Society of Jesus. Locatelli was appointed by Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., superior general for the Society of Jesus. Because this is a part-time position, Locatelli will continue as president of SCU.

As secretary for higher education, Locatelli  will convene meetings of the International Committee on Jesuit Higher education, plan periodic meetings of Jesuit University presidents, and encourage programs of collaboration among Jesuit universities. “He will provide me important perspectives on higher education,” Kolvenbach said.

“I am grateful for the honor and for the confidence Father Kolvenbach has in me,” Locatelli said. “This appointment speaks well for the Santa Clara University community because without the commitment to excellence in teaching and scholarship as a Jesuit University by faculty, staff, students, trustees, and friends, I would not have been selected.”

A.C. “Mike” Markkula, chairman of the Board of Trustees at Santa Clara University, noted the appointment is “a great honor for Father Paul and for Santa Clara University. I look forward to seeing his wisdom, experience, and advice help the greater Jesuit community accomplish its goals in Jesuit higher education.”

Leon Panetta ’60, J.D. ’63, former White House chief of staff and classmate of Locatelli, said that “Paul’s appointment to this new position is in recognition of his outstanding leadership at Santa Clara University and in Jesuit higher education. It will give him the opportunity to bring his commitment to a just, compassionate, and humane society to a larger global family.” DA

Time to fix our priorities

Gates shares a new vision for health research. Photo: Charlotte Fiorito

Bill Gates came wearing two hats to the Tech Museum Awards on Nov. 15: that of chairman of Microsoft, and that of co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He was on hand to receive the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian award, which honors individuals whose broad vision and leadership are helping to address humanity’s greatest challenges. In his keynote address, he reminded listeners that the goal in broadening use of technology in the developing world is not to elevate technology, it’s to meet human needs—and that market forces alone will not ensure that the necessary work is undertaken, let alone accomplished.

“Left to themselves,” Gates said, “market forces create a world, which is the situation today, where over 90 percent of the money spent on health research is spent on those who are the healthiest.” As an example, he cited $1 billion annually spent on combating baldness. “That’s great for some people,” he said, “but perhaps it should get behind malaria in terms of its priority.”

The Tech Awards seek to recognize innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity. This year marked the awards’ sixth anniversary, and Gates’ appearance drew the largest crowd ever to the gala event

Twenty-five laureates are named in five categories: Environment, Economic Development, Education, Health, and Equality. Laureates honored in 2006 were selected from entries received from 98 countries by Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society. Multiple projects were submitted to address the issues of water shortages in developing countries; technologies for assisted living; and the environmental and economic challenges facing impoverished African and South American communities. KCS & SBS 

Share and scale

Green is the color of hope: the first laptop off the production line from One Laptop Per Child. Photo: Charles Barry

Say your goal for the next five years is to figure out how to improve the educational opportunities for over 500 million children in developing countries. That’s the challenge that the $100 laptop unveiled at the Silicon Valley Challenge Summit at SCU on Nov. 16, 2006 was designed to address. The laptop was the very first unit off the production line for One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), an organization dedicated to making the laptop available to developing countries—and one of several such endeavors by different companies now under way.

Walter Bender, the MIT scientist who took a leave of absence to serve as president for software development for OLPC, offered the laptop as a way to transform education in the developing world—and, in turn, tackle poverty and disease. The machine was also a clicking, chirping example of the task the summit set for itself and for the thinkers, movers, and shakers attending: how to collectively harness the potential of information and communication technologies in the service of international development.

Organized by SCU’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, the sold-out summit gave participants a look at how Silicon Valley has responded to then-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan’s challenge to “broaden its horizon and bring more of its remarkable dynamism to the developing world.” But the summit set out to do more than issue a report card; the challenge was to find sharable, scalable, and sustainable solutions to assist emerging economies.

Intel Chairman Creg Barrett and U.N. executive Sarbuland Khan provided opening keynote addresses. Participants were also treated to small-group discussions led by Valley luminaries including Regis McKenna, John Seely Brown, and Jeffrey A. Miller. Manuel Castells, one of the world’s leading theorists on economic and social transformations associated with the information technology revolution, put forward the idea of a “project clearinghouse” through which companies could collaborate on, evaluate, and advance international efforts. In finding models that worked, high-tech executive and investor Bill Davidow warned that there is also a need for “creative destruction” in order to “not keep pouring money into failed ideas.” Dan Shine, director of AMD’s 50x15 program, designed to get half the world online by 2015, discouraged companies from simply giving away technology because of the way it can diminish value in the eyes of the receiver. Paul Mountford, president of emerging markets for Cisco Systems Ltd., welcomed the meeting of the minds at the summit and called for serious follow-up collaboration. Jon Guice, vice president of business development for GreenMountain Engineering, was even more optimistic. “In the movement to harness technology and enterprise innovation to solve major global problems,” he said, “this meeting was a turning point.”

Read more about the summit at PR

The worst humanitarian crisis on the globe

Santa Clara students stand vigil outside a tent on the lawn of the Santa Clara Mall. Erected as part of Refugee Awareness week, the tent drew attention to the plight of refugees displaced by fighting in Darfur. Photo: Charles Barry

The weathered khaki tent looked decidedly out of place: soiled sides, frayed holes, and staked onto the manicured lawn of the Santa Clara Mall. But the stark disparity served a purpose: bringing attention to the plight of the refugees displaced by the genocide and unrest in Darfur, Sudan—which the United Nations has called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

Catholic Relief Services provided the tent, which stood on the mall Oct. 16-20 as part of Refugee Awareness Week. Members of Santa Clarans for Social Justice and other groups organized the event. Students lived and slept in the tent, held an all-night vigil, and kept to a 1,000-calorie-a-day fast—the same ration to which the U.N. cut refugee sustenance. They also hosted talks by speakers including Sudan expert Michael Kevane; Environmental Studies Institute Associate Professor Leslie Gray; religious studies Associate Professor Teresia Hinga; and Lynette Parker, a staff attorney with the Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center.

The United States labeled the atrocities in Darfur “genocide” more than two years ago. But the government of Sudan has resisted deployment of peacekeepers and implementation of a no-fly zone. So, does the fact that SCU students are educating themselves about the crisis and gaining press coverage make any difference?

Absolutely, says Kevane. He credits student organizers across the United States with helping keep Darfur in the press. He also stresses that keeping attention focused on Darfur is crucial in the next several years, since the south faces a referendum in 2010 on independence—that, in the optimistic scenario, might lead to a relatively peaceful consolidation of power. Or all-out civil war.

Is the president responsible?

It was a mock trial, but on Nov. 13 in a proceeding at the U.N. Church Center in New York, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. SCU Assistant Professor of Law Beth Van Schaack led the prosecution before the International Citizens’ Tribunal of Sudan.

Previously Van Schaack served as prosecutor at the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, and she has written on the genocide in Darfur. “There’s no question that the crimes were committed,” Van Schaack said. “The question really was: Could the president be held responsible for them?”

At issue are the atrocities committed by the roving bands of militia known as the Janjaweed. The Sudanese government denies that it controls them, but Van Schaack’s team argued that Khartoum is liable on the basis of complicity. Her team included Eric Ortner ’06 and third-year law student Kevin Osborne. All materials will be sent to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, which is investigating crimes in Darfur. KCS & AF

The war crimes brief

SCU Team
From left: Wil Burns with students Sharron Fang, Jacqueline Binger, and Jessica Tillson. Photo: Charles Barry

The judges included Benjamin Ferencz, the U.S. prosecutor at the post-World War II Nuremberg war crimes trials, and Peggy Kuo, legal officer for the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The case before them: alleged war crimes and other criminal acts by peacekeepers in the nation of Razachstan.

If you haven’t heard of Razachstan, that’s because the country does not exist—save for in arguments made by moot court teams in the International Criminal Court’s moot competition, held at Pace Law School in November. Competing were teams from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the United States—including one from SCU. Teams argued for the prosecution, the defense, and as victims’ advocates.

The Santa Clara team came away with first place honors, beating out New York University and Louisiana State University in the finals. SCU student Jessica Tillson won the award for Best Defense Brief, and Jacqueline Binger was named Third Best Oralist. “If you win in front of these judges, it means you really know international law,” said Wil Burns, senior fellow of international environmental law and coach of the International Criminal Moot Court team.

SCU’s School of Law has several external moot court teams that compete throughout the year. The teams focus on cases involving high-tech law, intellectual property, the First Amendment, environmental law, and space law. In 2008, SCU will host the International Environmental Law regional competition for teams from the United States and Australia. KCS

Mission control, all systems are go

The nanosatellite in orbit. Photo: Charles Barry

The launch came just before sunrise, the clouds turning pink against the deep blue sky above the Virginia shore. With the roar from a quarter million pounds of thrust, the Minotaur rocket was airborne, lofting into the heavens a pair of tiny satellites. One of them is the most autonomous biological device ever flown. At its controls: Santa Clara engineering students.

NASA’s GeneSat-1 went into orbit on Dec. 16, carrying a non-lethal strain of E. coli bacteria. SCU students used software that they had designed to control the satellite from the mission operations center at NASA Ames, including satellite command, telemetry analysis, and tracking. That meant getting up at 2 a.m. and being focused on critical tasks, says SCU engineering graduate student Mike Rasay. “The weight of the project was sitting on our shoulders,” he says.

GeneSat-1 is small—about the size of a shoebox—which puts it in the “nano” satellite category. But this little satellite is playing an outsized role. “It is a technology precursor for a series of more advanced biological satellite missions that will follow over the next several years,” says SCU Robotics Lab Director Christopher Kitts.

Scientists used the satellite to study the long-term effects of radiation and space on a living organism. With plans for astronauts to return to the moon and travel to Mars in the coming decades, data gleamed from GeneSat-1 could prove invaluable.

The biology experiments are finished, but the satellite is expected to stay aloft for another year—and engineering experiments will last as long as the satellite is in orbit. And when all primary science and engineering mission requirements have been met, the satellite will be turned over to the SCU Robotics Lab.

GeneSat project manager John Hines notes that the students have been working on the same level with senior staff at NASA. And SCU students and faculty will continue working with NASA in the months ahead as they prepare for the follow-on mission, PharmaSat, tentatively set for launch at the end of 2007.

For links to the “mission dashboard” and more, visit KCS & SBS

Blood, sweat, and photovoltaics

3D Model
Fun in the sun: SCU students have begun work on this house as part of the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon. 3D Model: Gerardo Buendia
The house they’re building is small, but the SCU engineering students working on it have big ambitions: move their generation away from  fossil fuels.

The house is being built as part of the Solar Decathlon, an event held by the U.S. Department of Energy. SCU is one of only 20 schools in the nation chosen—and the only school in California—to participate in the prestigious competition.

When the house is built, it’s going to be trucked across the continent and put on display at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., next October.

Project manager James Bickford, a junior mechanical engineering major and English minor, says team members see the competition as both a great opportunity to show their stuff as engineers and as a tremendous responsibility. “Being at an engineering school in Silicon Valley, we have the chance to influence a lot of development in the world,” he says.

Having spent the summer on research and planning, this fall SCU students worked with architects to finalize the design for the 600-square-foot house, and they began raising funds to pay for construction. Groundbreaking was slated for the end of February, with the house going up on the former location of the batting cages in Buck Shaw Stadium.

The house will be judged in 10 areas, including aesthetics, engineering, and its ability to produce enough solar power for multiple tasks—from keeping the house warm to washing and drying a dozen towels for two days, and from cooking meals and cleaning dishes to providing hot water for the shower. Excess electricity will be used to run an electric car.

Find out more about the project at KCS & SBS

Cherry Jones
Cherry Jones
Cherry Jones Photo: Charles Barry

Just say the lines

Tony Award-winning actress Cherry Jones visited Santa Clara on November 28 for a conversation on the craft of acting. Conducting the hour-long interview in the Fess Parker Studio was Scotty Arnold, a junior in Theatre and Music. Lauded as perhaps the finest stage actress of our age, Jones said it was at American Repertory Theater that she “learned how not to act,” to “just say the lines,” and to recognize “the power of stillness.” Jones also credits her mother for instilling in her the confidence and resolve that are necessary to succeed as an actor. “She told me, ‘Never confuse your self worth with your professional accomplishments.’” RH
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