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Thousands Come to Santa Clara University to Celebrate the Life of Former President, Chancellor Paul Locatelli, S.J.

Sunday, Jul. 18, 2010

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 17, 2010 — Nearly 2,500 people filled Santa Clara University’s Mission Gardens Friday evening to celebrate the devoted and passion-filled life of Paul Leo Locatelli, S.J., 71, Santa Clara University’s chancellor and former president who died July 12, 2010.

As the sun set and the summer air cooled, Locatelli was remembered as a man of multiple passions—for his Jesuit brotherhood and its values, for the causes of social justice and solidarity with the poor, for his family, and for cooking and eating Italian food, with its power to create community.

Speakers noted that the capacity crowd of students, friends, faculty and staff and community members gathered for the night was a testament to how revered "Loc" or "Papa Loc," as he was known by friends or students, had been. It was also a testament to how many people he touched with his ministering, his persuasion on behalf of the poor, his zest for life and his role as "colossus of strength" for so many.

"It is precisely Paul’s capacity to bind himself emotionally to others that made him such a wonderful priest," said homilist Michael McCarthy, S.J. "These Mission Gardens have never been so full of people longing to show their love and affection," he said.

Virtually every speaker mentioned Locatelli’s passion for social justice—for providing for those who have little, and using one’s position to help. He had an "acute sense of the possible," as his niece Lynn Locatelli said. And when professors or CEOs would complain "that he was talking too much" about social justice or solidarity with the poor, McCarthy said, "he had a classic Locatelli one-word response…Tough."

His love for cooking and eating Italian dinners with fine wine was also mentioned often. Mario Prietto, S.J., the rector of University of San Francisco’s Jesuit community, called Locatelli’s cooking "one of the many ways he nurtured and showed us his love."

The evening Mass began with a procession accompanying Locatelli's casket, with 100 Jesuits from SCU, California and the U.S. and Rome walking slowly in clerical garb to the Mission from the nearby Jesuit residence. Locatelli’s family and close friends acted as pallbearers.

Among those in attendance for the service were U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Bay Area congressional delegation members, Reps. Anna Eshoo, Mike Honda and Zoe Lofgren, as well as Santa Clara and San Jose mayors Patricia Mahan and Chuck Reed. Retired chief justice of the California Supreme Court and close Locatelli friend, Ed Panelli, was an honorary pallbearer.

As a priest, Locatelli was a good example of a servant to his faith, many speakers said.

In a letter to Locatelli, Adolfo Nicolas, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus in Rome, said Locatelli had lived "a lifetime devoted to serving faith and promoting justice through our ministry of higher education."

"He was a Jesuit’s Jesuit," said John McGarry, the superior of the California Province of Jesuits. "He was always available to go wherever there was the greatest need," including his recent calling to be Secretary for Higher Education and the Intellectual Apostolate, responsible for providing advice and input on Jesuit education matters, encouraging programs of international collaboration, and convening periodic meetings of Jesuit university presidents.

There were many moments of laughter during the service, such as when McCarthy recalled his surprise years ago when Locatelli informed him that he’d chosen McCarthy – an Irish priest – to give the homily at his funeral despite his oft-stated annoyance at long-winded sermons such as those at Irish funerals. McCarthy said he had jokingly threatened Locatelli that there would be an "open mike" at his funeral someday, which he said elicited an "earthy" response from Locatelli at the time.

Others provoked laughter with reference to Locatelli’s daredevil driving style, and to his failure to comprehend why anyone would ever want to eat anything other than Italian food.

Locatelli, a Jesuit priest for 36 years, died just two months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, passing away at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos. Several speakers mentioned his daily, heartfelt gratitude at the support he received during his illness. “He wanted you to know that in the end he did have it all,” said his niece Lynn.

Locatelli was born in Santa Cruz on September 16, 1938, and grew up in Boulder Creek. He attended the University of California at Berkeley from 1956 to 1958, and transferred to Santa Clara University, where he graduated with a degree in accounting as part of the Class of 1960. He served in the Army and while stationed at Fort Ord, began to think seriously about a vocation to the priesthood and religious life as a Jesuit. He entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Los Gatos on September 7, 1962.

He received his doctorate in business administration from the University of Southern California in 1971 with a dissertation on ethical responsibility in the professional practice of accounting. He received a master of divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, and was ordained to the priesthood in St. Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco, in 1974.

He joined Santa Clara’s faculty the same year as assistant professor of accounting. In addition to teaching, he served as associate dean of the business school and academic vice president. In 1986, he was named rector of the Jesuit community of Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, and two years later returned to Santa Clara as the 27th president.

He 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.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Vincent and Marie (Piccone) Locatelli, and his sister-in-law, Carol Locatelli.  He is survived by his two brothers and their families: Al Locatelli and Diane Kranich of Scotts Valley, and Harry and Lydia Locatelli of Santa Cruz.  Nieces and nephews include Lynn Locatelli DVM of Watrous, NM, Russell Locatelli of McKinleyville, CA, and Paul Locatelli, Amy Bosinger and Matthew Locatelli of Santa Cruz.  He also leaves several grandnieces and grandnephews.

Contributions can be made to the Paul Locatelli, S.J. Memorial Fund for Student Scholarships, Santa Clara University Development Office, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053-1400 or at

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

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