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Santa Clara University and the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley Joining Forces

Monday, May. 4, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 4 – The boards of Santa Clara University and the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (JST), along with the U.S. Jesuit provincials, approved an integration of the two Bay Area institutions that will enable each to draw upon the academic and theological strengths of the other, officials announced today.

Under the new arrangement, which officially begins July 1, JST will remain in Berkeley and become a school of Santa Clara University known as the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. Degrees granted by JST eventually will bear that name.

“This partnership solidifies and fortifies SCU and JST in their shared goal of engaging in global theological study, contextual education, and justice-oriented ministry,” said Michael Engh, S.J., president of Santa Clara University. “It will also help ensure a continued, strong Jesuit presence at SCU,” he added.

School officials say that many prized facets of JST and SCU will remain unchanged after the integration. For instance, JST will remain a member of the nine-school ecumenical Graduate Theological Union, which operates a world-class theological library and the largest doctoral program in theology in the United States. JST students will continue to have the right to cross-register at UC Berkeley. And both schools will retain the academic freedoms they currently enjoy. The Vatican Congregation of Catholic Education in Rome will continue to set standards for the granting of JST ecclesiastical degrees.

Santa Clara University will continue to offer a masters of arts degree in pastoral ministries with available emphases in catechetics, liturgical music, pastoral liturgy, or spirituality.

The Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley is one of only two Jesuit theological centers in the United States operated by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), as the order of Catholic priests is known. Drawing on the diversity of people and cultures in Northern California, the Jesuit School is an international center for the culturally contextualized study of theology and ministry, and currently includes students from nearly 40 countries.

“The integration with Santa Clara University represents a crossroads for the Jesuit School of Theology,” said Kevin Burke, S.J., the executive dean and acting president of JST. “This transitional moment ranks among the most significant in our history, on a par with our foundation as Alma College in 1934 and our move to Berkeley in 1969. Indeed, we are entering an exciting moment for both institutions as well as for the mission of the Society of Jesus in the United States.”

“The Society of Jesus, The Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, and Santa Clara University share a rich tradition of fostering a strong and growing environment for theological study” said Thomas H. Smolich, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States. “By bringing those traditions together, this partnership will ensure a strong future for the education of tomorrow’s Jesuits, religious women and Catholic lay ministers.”

The Jesuit School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the American Association of Theological Schools, and by the Vatican Congregation of Catholic Education as an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Theology.

“With the integration of JST into the university, JST students will have access to the breadth of Santa Clara’s resources in religious studies and other disciplines, and SCU faculty will benefit from a relationship with theologians at JST,” said Paul Crowley, S.J., chair of the religious studies department at SCU.

The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University will have a board of directors numbering between 15 and 27. Seven of these directors will be Jesuit priests, a majority of whom must approve certain matters, including those pertaining to the ecclesiastical degrees conferred by the school.

About the Jesuit School of Theology
JST is one of only two Jesuit theological centers in the United States, offering three ecclesiastical degrees qualified by the Vatican Congregation of Catholic Education. Ecclesiastical degrees are granted largely, but not exclusively, to Jesuits training for priesthood or to teach in Catholic seminaries. JST also offers four additional advanced theological degrees, as well as sabbatical and certificate programs for clergy, religious, and lay people.

The student body— nearly 200 in 2008— is roughly 40 percent Jesuit, 20 percent other religious or diocesan priests, and about 40 percent lay people. Approximately 40 percent are women, and 35 percent are international students from around 40 different countries.

Since 1969, the school has been located in Berkeley, California, drawing upon its diverse and academically thriving community. From 1934 to 1969, the school was located in the Santa Cruz Mountains and was known as Alma College, affiliated with SCU.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,758 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. masters universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see


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