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Lilly Endowment gives $1.99 million to SCU to inspire a new generation of leaders

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Jan. 14, 2003 – Santa Clara University has been awarded nearly $2 million by Lilly Endowment Inc. of Indiana to create and enhance the Jesuit university’s programs for students, faculty, and staff to integrate faith commitments, professional choices, and a call to leadership in society.

The $1,996,552 five-year grant from the Endowment is the largest sponsored-project grant ever for the Jesuit, Catholic university, the oldest higher education institution in California. It was one of 39 grants to colleges and universities from the Endowment, totaling $76.8 million. In three years, the Endowment’s initiative called Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation has awarded grants totaling $171.3 million to 88 four-year church-related colleges across the U.S.

“These colleges have devised programs that encourage their students to reflect on how their faith commitments are related to their career choices and what it means to be called to lives of service,” said Craig Dykstra, the Endowment’s vice president for religion, in announcing the gifts.

The grant at SCU will fund a new program called DISCOVER, “Developing and Inspiring Scholarly Communities Oriented toward Vocational Engagement and Reflection,” which will capitalize on two recent developments at SCU, said William Spohn, director of the University’s Bannan Center for Jesuit Education.

The first, he said, is a shift from traditional residence halls to Residential Learning Communities, where students combine living and learning. The second is the new standard for Jesuit education, which calls for faith-inspired students to be in solidarity with those most in need.

The new grant will build on these in three ways, he said. It will provide funds for:

·         Students to examine their career choices in conjunction with courses, workshops, and retreats, and in contact with SCU alumni;

·         Faculty and staff development programs to provide mentors who can accompany students as they discover where their talents meet the world’s needs;

·         “Immersion trips” that create opportunities for more than 1,000 students to work with poor communities in California, Latin America, and abroad.

In addition, Spohn said the grant will create 15 ministry internships to enable students to explore the rewards and demands of church leadership.

“We hope the grant will have an impact on the entire University,” said Spohn, who will direct the DISCOVER program. “The Lilly Endowment grant could serve as a catalyst for conversation about vocation across the University. All parts of the community can reflect on how their work at Santa Clara and beyond can be a calling, and not just a job.”


            Media: To arrange an interview with William Spohn, call Media Relations at 408-396-4491.

About the Bannan Center for Jesuit Education

The Bannan Center for Jesuit Education, founded in 1982,  is an educational enterprise at Santa Clara University that assists the University in keeping its Catholic and Jesuit character at the center of the educational enterprise. The Center offers faculty, staff, students, and friends opportunities to explore the implications of Ignatian and Jesuit spirituality and mission in the ongoing life of the contemporary University. More information is online at

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California's Silicon Valley, offers its 8,060 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fourth-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is online at


<p>Students celebrate weekly liturgy at the Loyola Residential Learning Community.</p>

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