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‘The gold standard’ of university presidents
by A.C. “Mike” Markkula
With great pleasure and little fanfare, and after a lengthy process of deliberation and consideration, on Oct. 15 the University Board of Trustees unanimously elected SCU President Paul Locatelli, S.J., to a fourth six-year term beginning in 2006. Paul accepted the challenge.
The Board made this decision recognizing that this is an unusually long tenure for a university president. Among his peers, other Boards of Trustees, and in particular their executive search committees, Paul has earned the reputation of “the gold standard” of university presidents. The Santa Clara University Board is no exception. Paul’s leadership since 1988 has been nothing short of exemplary.
He spearheaded the development of the University’s Strategic Plan. Since then, his perseverance in implementing it has enhanced the quality and mission of SCU as a Catholic, Jesuit university on many levels.
Our University is clearly engaged in the advancement of teaching, learning, and research at highest levels; employs an excellent faculty that keeps getting better; attracts a diverse and high-quality student body that is clearly learning how to make communities better; and continues to increase the engagement of our alumni. Our staff does its work proudly in the context of mission and values.
The formation of four Centers of Distinction, our Residential Learning Communities, and the Alumni for Others Program have distinguished Santa Clara as an educational leader that serves society and our globalizing world. Through the centers of Jesuit education, ethics, technology and society, and community-based learning, faculty and students from every academic area learn and work with people from all walks of life—from corporate and community leaders to at-risk middle school students, and from fourth-generation alumni to new immigrants. Residential Learning Communities integrate the academic and residential experiences of students. And the Alumni for Others program enables alumni to stay involved with the University while serving the disadvantaged in the communities where they live.
We are now about two thirds of the way through a $350 million campaign, the largest goal ever set by Santa Clara. Even though the outside economic environment has been tough, we are moving steadily toward success, and every dollar being raised is going toward advancing the goals of our Strategic Plan.
Santa Clara is increasingly being noticed, called upon, and treated as a valuable asset by the community here in Silicon Valley, and in the nation and the larger global community. Because Paul and the University had the attention and respect of the leadership of the Society of Jesus, The Very Reverend Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., the superior general of the Jesuits, accepted the invitation by Santa Clara to give a speech on Jesuit higher education that is widely considered to be a seminal document on educating for the 21st century.
Paul’s consistent and unwavering leadership has been invaluable in keeping all of the University’s constituents moving along the same path as laid out in the Strategic Plan. The Board of Trustees would like to have him continue to serve here at Santa Clara for every second that he’s willing and able. We’re confident we made the right choice, and grateful that he has agreed to take the helm for another term.
A.C. “Mike” Markkula is chairman of SCU’s Board of Trustees.