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Paul Locatelli, S.J. 1938-2010
Monday, Jul. 12, 2010
SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 12, 2010-- Paul Leo Locatelli, S.J., Santa Clara University's chancellor and former president, died early this morning from pancreatic cancer.
Locatelli, 71, was surrounded by his family and Jesuit brothers at the time of his death. For 20 years he was the president of Santa Clara University, and was most recently its chancellor. He also served the international Society of Jesus, headquartered in Rome, as Secretary of Higher Education.
Locatelli joined SCU as an accounting professor in 1974, the same year he became an ordained priest and earned his master of divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He had previously earned a doctorate in business administration from the University of Southern California in 1971 and an accounting degree from Santa Clara University in 1960.
Within a few years of joining SCU, he was appointed academic vice president, voted outstanding teacher of the year, and made associate dean at the Leavey School of Business.
In 1988, he was selected as the university's 27th president.
“Father Locatelli profoundly shaped Santa Clara during his lifetime,” said university President Michael Engh, S.J., who succeeded Locatelli as president in 2008. “It was his vision that moved the university to a globally recognized university that strives to be a prophetic voice in the community and world around us.”
A viewing will be held Friday, July 16, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Mission Church on SCU’s campus at 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, California 95053. A funeral Mass will be held that evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Mission Gardens, with a reception following. A private committal ceremony will be held at a later date.
From the start as president, Locatelli ably coalesced the university around several themes: a need to connect more with the world outside the university and have a voice in the global dialogue; a need to increase student diversity to continue the Jesuit emphasis on education for all; and a need to tap into the rich resources of the university's Silicon Valley neighbors, entrepreneurs and businesses.
“Paul had the rare combination of charisma and compassion, dedication and determination,” said Jim Purcell, vice president for university relations at Santa Clara University. “He inspired people to contribute, to reflect and to grow, He truly transformed the university, and will be deeply missed.”
A Force for Change
Locatelli presided over SCU for a tremendously prosperous 20 years, during which the university evolved into one of the preeminent Jesuit, Catholic universities in the country.
During Locatelli’s four terms as president, SCU’s endowment grew tenfold from $77 million in 1988 to approximately $700 million just before he stepped down from the presidency. Facility expansions included the construction of new residence halls, the learning commons, technology center and library, the arts and sciences building, a music and dance building, the business school, the baseball stadium, a new parking structure, a new Jesuit residence, the fitness center, and the doubling of the Alumni Science Building.
“It was his unique stewardship that made it possible for Santa Clara to grow and prosper during his twenty years as president,” said A.C. Mike Markkula, Jr., former chairman of the board of trustees. “Without his financial acumen and skill I don't know how it would have been possible to build all those buildings. Without his insistence on academic excellence Santa Clara would not have the outstanding reputation it has today. His contributions to the university and to Silicon Valley are countless.”
With his support, the university developed the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics into an internationally recognized resource; launched the Center for Science, Technology, and Society to address increasingly complex and interrelated questions; and formed the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education to carry the work of faith and justice education into the 21st century. To bolster scholarship and research, Locatelli oversaw the founding of a score of endowed chairs. Above all, he tried to foster the growth of an increasingly diverse student body and faculty. “It was,” he said, “paramount to fulfilling the central mission of the university: the education of students.”
Locatelli also made some tough calls as president: moving fraternities and sororities off the Santa Clara campus and, in an era of expensive athletic programs, discontinuing football.
“From the many buildings erected under his leadership, to the conception of the ethics center and the Arrupe partnerships, to the university’s ongoing dedication to the principles of competence, conscience and compassion, his influence will long be felt on this campus,” said Michael Zampelli, S.J., rector of the Jesuit community at SCU.
His Broader Leadership
During his leadership of Santa Clara, Locatelli wrote and spoke on topics such as Jesuit education in a globalizing world, educating for justice, Catholic education in the 21st century, and the role of the teaching scholar. He worked with the goal that a Jesuit education provides an “integrated humanistic formation of the whole person.” It is a vision he traced to the founder of the Jesuit Order, St. Ignatius, with the understanding that the greater world benefits when graduates from Jesuit colleges and universities become “socially responsible, ethical, and moral citizens who would aspire to leaven the community with wisdom, faith, knowledge, and virtue.”
A hallmark of Locatelli’s presidency was his commitment to ethics and social justice and his emphasis on developing leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion. He spoke about the importance of being a “university first,” — unafraid to engage in any dialogue, any discussion, while maintaining the standard-setting values of a Jesuit, Catholic institution. “We really learn by a diversity of perspectives, respectfully and mutually looking at these critical issues,’’ he said.
Locatelli stepped down from the presidency in 2008 after Jesuit Superior General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J. appointed him as Secretary for Jesuit Higher Education for the Society of Jesus, with responsibilities for shaping Jesuit higher education worldwide.
“Paul has been an incredible practitioner, spokesperson, advocate, and most importantly a role model for Jesuit higher education. His death is a true loss for everyone at Santa Clara and Jesuit institutions,” said Rev. Charles Currie, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
Locatelli served on the board of directors of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, Catholic Relief Services, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and the Bill Hannon Foundation. In addition, he served on the board of trustees of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and on the International Committee for Jesuit Higher Education for the Society of Jesus.
Among the awards Locatelli received during his lifetime: the 2009 David Packard Award; the 2007 Community Builder Honoree from PACT (People Acting in Community Together); the 2005 Distinguished Service Award from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley; the Exemplary Community Leadership Award from the National Conference of Community and Justice/Silicon Valley chapter; and the Spirit of Silicon Valley Lifetime Achievement Award from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
Raised in Boulder Creek, Calif., in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Locatelli was the first in his family to attend college. His father, Vincent, was in the family lumber business on land that is now part of Big Basin State Park. His late mother, Marie, greatly influenced her son’s views on immigration through stories of her own arrival in the U.S. from Italy.
In addition to sharing his professional and spiritual vision, Locatelli was a beloved, joyful presence on campus, running four miles each morning (sometimes cleaning up trash and tossed soda cans along the way), inviting colleagues to elaborate home-cooked Italian dinners, and sharing his mother’s recipes and his love of photography with the campus community and friends.
“His fingerprints are everywhere on campus,” said Markkula. “If this were the 49ers, we’d be retiring his frock, and inducting him into the Jesuit Hall of Fame. We will miss him very, very much.”
Locatelli is survived by his two brothers, Albert and Harry, and five nieces and nephews living in California and Nebraska.
Those who would like to make a donation in Fr. Locatelli’s name can contribute to the Paul Locatelli, S.J. Memorial Fund for Student Scholarships, by mail at Santa Clara University Development Office, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053-1400 or at www.scu.edu/give/how-to-give/make-your-gift/.
More information on Locatelli’s life, and the July 16 viewing and funeral services, can be found at www.scu.edu/locatelli.
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 more than 8,600 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, 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. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see www.scu.edu.
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