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Dean's Message

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A recent editorial in the San Jose Mercury News commended Barack Obama on his selection of two Santa Clara University graduates to top-level posts: Arizona Governor and class of ’79 valedictorian Janet Napolitano as Director of Homeland Security, and former California Congressman Leon Panetta ’60 magna cum laude, as head of the CIA.

The article points out the President’s turn toward an emphasis on values, stating, “It’s not surprising that Obama would entrust national security to products of a Jesuit education…Panetta’s values will help him set clear principles of conduct and sort through ethical dilemmas in the murky world of spying. As to Homeland Security—we suspect Jesuit compassion would have led to a better response to Hurricane Katrina and fewer of those misdirected raids by immigration authorities that have terrified the immigrant community.”

It is always nice to see that values are being valued, and reading this editorial caused me to reflect on how we, in Santa Clara’s School of Engineering, are contributing to this mindset and to the pool of ethical leaders of tomorrow. As part of a values-based institution, it is our goal to educate engineers of excellence in both technical ability and ethical behavior. At the very core of a Jesuit education is the desire to instill in students a sense of compassion toward those less fortunate, but compassion without action is of limited value. In educating our engineering students, we strive to inspire the head and the heart to guide the hands toward action. When this is accomplished, enormous good can be accomplished in the world, and engineers, with their ability to produce products, services, and devices that directly improve the lives of many, are in the perfect position to do just that.

President Obama has shown great faith in the two SCU alums he has selected as advisors. I have great faith, also, that our corps of engineering students will go out into the world as leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion, ready and able to make a difference.



Godfrey Mungal
Dean
School of Engineering

Read more about Dean Mungal’s reflections on engineering at a Jesuit University.