Santa Clara University

Mission Matters

Locatelli gives State of the University speech

At the 2006 State of the University speech on Feb. 14, University President Paul Locatelli, S.J., reflected on his hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the future. He connected his personal journey toward vocation and mission to his role as president. As the University progresses into the 21st century, he said, SCU will continue to rely on three pillars: programs and Jesuit education; people in community; and resources.

Supporting Santa Clara’s Jesuit identity, Locatelli said, requires a constant consideration for social justice. “I want a Santa Clara education to develop your intellectual talents, inspire you to be ethical in your personal and professional lives, and to have compassion to actively construct a more humane and just world,” he explained.

People and community already play a key role in the university’s overall excellence, Locatelli noted. He attributed Santa Clara’s designation as one of the 10 best places to work in the Bay Area—the only university to achieve that status—in large part to the people and community working here. But he encouraged all to strive for an even better future by reviewing and revitalizing academic programs to best prepare students to be “ethical, compassionate, global leaders who will be effective citizens and professionals upon graduation… and throughout life.”

Improving resources at Santa Clara will continue to involve updating facilities on campus, which Locatelli acknowledged will involve continuing fund raising as well as dislocation and disruption for students, faculty, and staff, particularly during the two-year library building project.

In closing, Locatelli urged all to find their personal calling within the context of their roles at the University. “Responding to your call in life, discovering your vocation, is not a one-time zap from God, but a lifelong journey.” Locatelli’s journey will continue to be at Santa Clara, as he assumes his fourth six-year presidential term in August.

For complete text of the speech, visit

SCU hosts Mexican presidential debate

On Jan. 23, the Mayer Theatre was the venue for the first Mexican presidential debate in Northern California. Approximately 200 people attended the event, which was co- hosted by the Global Leadership and Ethics program at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, The World Affairs Council of Northern California, and Bank of America.

From left, Sen. Hector Osuna (PAN), Congressman Juan Jose Garcia Ochoa (PRD), and Ambassador Roberta Lajous (PRI)
From left, Sen. Hector Osuna (PAN), Congressman Juan Jose Garcia Ochoa (PRD), and Ambassador Roberta Lajous (PRI) participated in the Mexican presidential debate at SCU. Photo: Charles Barry

Mexican law prevents actual candidates from campaigning outside of Mexico. So high-ranking representatives of the three major political parties—the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN), and the Partido de la Revolucion Democratica (PRD)—answered the questions crafted by the Ethics Center with input from faculty, staff, and members of the local Mexican community ranging from laborers to executives.

“This July, for the first time, Mexicans living abroad will be able to vote without going back to their country,” said Almaz Negash, director of the Global Leadership and Ethics Program. Being able to hear the issues discussed in person was an opportunity some may not have gotten had Santa Clara not hosted the event, she noted. “This debate gave them a chance to see where the next president stands on a variety of issues. We may have helped shape their thinking.”

Questions touched on the economy, society, politics, international relations, corruption, and drugs. “With only two minutes to answer and one for rebuttal, there wasn’t a lot of time, so you can’t expect representatives to have answered everything,” observed Negash. “But I think attendees got a flavor of who was who and what they stand for.”

For information, visit

New bioengineering program

According to School of Engineering Dean Daniel Pitt, the most frequently asked question of the engineering school at student recruitment fairs across the country is, “Do you have a program in bioengineering?” Finally, he can answer that with a resounding “Yes!” The engineering school recently created a new concentration in bioengineering within the general engineering major, as well as a new biomedical engineering minor.

“The future of engineering over the coming decades will be dominated by, or at least have a significant proportion of work in, the bioengineering areas,” Pitt commented.

The new program is likely to draw students to the University who previously might not have chosen SCU if it had no bioengineering program. “If you look at the national trends, the bioengineering programs are seeing growth where many other departments are seeing flat enrollment or declining enrollments,” said Tim Hight, department chair of mechanical engineering and the current director of the bioengineering program. The new degree option is likely to increase the number of women within the engineering department, as well. “Traditionally, engineering has low female enrollment in most disciplines other than bioengineering, which has the highest level of female students of any engineering major across the country,” Hight said.

Excitement about the program has already begun to build on campus among faculty members as well as students. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm throughout engineering and the sciences,” Pitt said. “And now I’m starting to hear a buzz on campus from students who want to sign up.”

Indeed, many students have already enrolled in the program’s first offering this spring, Introduction to Bioengineering.

“Like many of our programs, it will have a very strong element of cooperation with Silicon Valley,” Pitt said, such as biomedical device companies and local medical centers. “And it will also have the Santa Clara University flavor, as well, with ethics being an important part of it.”

For more information, visit

New music delights at February festival

Some people came to hear the Chinese pipa, some for the stringed gu-zheng, others for the lively accordion. But all came for the 2006 Santa Clara New Music Festival, Feb. 1-4, featuring guest composer Chen Yi. Other highlights included a piece by returning 2003 festival guest composer Alvin Singleton for baritone, harp, percussion, accordion, and string orchestra, which was commissioned and sung by Thomas Buckner ’64; and a selection for piano and electronics by Samuel Pluta ’01, commissioned by Teresa McCollough, associate professor of music at SCU and director of the festival.

The world-renowned Chen was chosen as festival composer because of her unique blending of Western and Eastern instruments and sounds. “I knew that many students would not be familiar with most of those Chinese instruments. So I thought it would be interesting for them to see how these instruments sound and how they can be combined with Western instruments to create new pieces,” said McCollough.

The goal of the festival, which is held at SCU every three years, is to introduce audiences to new music by living composers, McCollough explained. “It can’t just be somebody who is famous, though,” she said. “It has to be somebody who can also work well with students and communicate with our audience.”

I-Lan Lin
I-Lan Lin, a member of the Firebird Youth Chinese Orchestra, plays the Chinese pipa during SCU’s New Music Festival. Photo: courtesy of Taylor Alexander

Chen, fellow composers Pluta, Singleton, Alex Shapiro, and resident faculty composer Pamela Quist certainly had no problem delivering on that expectation. “The students were thrilled to have all these people on campus. Not only did they get to hear music that they had never heard before, but they got to interact with guest composers and performers,” McCollough said. “That’s really what it’s all about.”

The composers enjoyed the festival, as well. “Each time I’ve visited Santa Clara University, I’ve been deeply impressed by two things: the focus and enthusiasm of the students, and the support and keen interest of the audiences attending the concerts,” said Shapiro. “Those two elements together are a powerful message that contemporary music is alive and joyous.”

The festival was funded by the Center for Multicultural Learning and the James Irvine Foundation, with generous support from the Phaedrus Foundation, the SCU Center of Performing Arts Advisory Board, the Friends of Music, the SCU College of Arts and Sciences, and the SCU Office of the President.

For more information, visit the New Music Festival Web site. To read more about McCollough’s recent trip to China, visit