Newsletter Articles

A collection of Ignatian Center newsletter Articles.

Laurie Laird Farewell

by Michael C. McCarthy, S.J. |

Nearly anyone who has had anything to do with the Ignatian Center in the last fifteen years knows and loves Laurie Laird. So it is with a mixture of joy and sadness that Laurie announced she would be moving to Portland with her husband Jeff, in order to take a position as Associate Director of Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. We are very happy for her: both she and Jeff have wanted to move to the Northwest for a long time, and we are glad she is still “in the family” (so to speak) at JVC. Still, we will miss her terribly. On Friday, September 27, however, we will be celebrating her tenure with a reception in the Nobili Dining Room, beginning at 4:00, with a short program at 4:45. Please join us as we thank Laurie for her wonderful service and colleagueship. For the formal announcement made to the University Community on August 5 detailing her accomplishments, see below.

Reception Information:
Friday, September 27, 4:00-6:00PM (Short program at 4:45PM)
Click here to RSVP

Dear SCU Community,

I am very sorry to announce the departure of Laurie Laird from Santa Clara University. Laurie and her husband, Jeff, will be moving to Portland, Oregon, where she has accepted a position as Associate Director of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Northwest.

For all of us who work closely with her, it is difficult, frankly, to imagine the Ignatian Center or Santa Clara without Laurie, and we feel great loss. Since 1998 she has been a wonderful colleague: first as Program Director in the Arrupe Program (then called the Eastside Project), then as Associate Director of the Ignatian Center, and more recently as the Director of Community-based Learning.

Laurie characteristically prefers to see her work as one of deep collaboration and mutuality, but she herself has come to embody the heart of Santa Clara. Her personal contributions have been far-reaching. The steady growth in our Weekly Engagement Program throughout her tenure, the founding and expansion of the Donovan Fellowships and Loyola RLC, the development of the Core requirement in Experiential Learning for Social Justice, the success of so many faculty/staff delegations to El Salvador, the establishment of community-supported agriculture, and the advancement of the Juan Diego Scholarship—all these programs and initiatives have been beneficiaries of Laurie’s gentle, steady care. Her inspiration and vision to build deeper ties between the university and neighborhoods in San Jose have led to the new SCU Thriving Neighbors Initiative, which we expect to be one of her most enduring legacies.

Underlying Laurie’s work at the university has been an abiding commitment to the values of social justice and solidarity. As champion of a philosophy of education that regards our community partners as co-educators, Laurie and her team have steadily built excellent relationships with over 60 non-profits in the area. As a result, not only is the university better recognized as a good citizen of Silicon Valley but our students’ experience at Santa Clara is substantially enriched. Many of these students have found in Laurie a mentor, guide, and role-model.

We certainly understand that after 15 years, Laurie and Jeff need to respond to new calls and different challenges. They shall go with our sincerest prayers and best wishes, and we are heartened that, in going to work at Jesuit Volunteer Corps, she will still be in the family as a promoter of the faith that does justice. Nonetheless, because of the depth of Laurie’s friendships with so many members of the SCU community and the affection we have for her, she will be sorely missed. Her last day at Santa Clara will be Friday, August 23, 2013.

Because so many people at the university are away during these weeks of the summer, the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education will host an official farewell in late September or early October. That way, we will be able to celebrate our friend and colleague with proper gratitude. An announcement will be sent out in a few weeks.

In the meantime, please join me in thanking Laurie Laird for all that she has done during her exceptional tenure and in wishing her all good things as she and Jeff move to the great Northwest.


Mick McCarthy, S.J.
Executive Director
Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education

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