Santa Clara University

Office of the President

President's Updates


Back to Blog

May 2010 Update

Wednesday, May. 19, 2010

Campbell Avenue Building Proposal

We received good news last week about a housing proposal that has been in the works for several months. On May 14, the Board of Trustees approved a proposal put forward by Trustee John A. Sobrato that includes a long-term lease to SCU of land near Schott Stadium. As part of the proposal, Mr. Sobrato will construct apartments with a total capacity of 400 beds. SCU will lease the apartments as student housing for upper division and graduate/law students. Projected occupancy for the units is fall 2011.

This proposal was a welcome and unexpected opportunity for the University to expand its housing capacity, especially for this demographic. Administrative staff including Bob Warren, John Ottoboni, the University Finance Office, the Housing Office, Facilities, and the Office of Student Life reviewed the proposal to ensure that it was consistent with the housing needs identified in our Master Plan. I am pleased that this proposal meets our long term goals. The project will fill a housing demand on campus and reduce some of the pressure and problems of students living off campus.

By approving the proposal, SCU seeks to gain financial benefits as well. Our leadership has carefully analyzed the proposal and identified several financial benefits including a projected cumulative net revenue during the lease, and a significant opportunity to generate substantial revenue if SCU acquires the property in the future. We are confident this proposal is a financially sound business transaction and one that will serve Santa Clara well in years to come.

In working out the agreement, the University was committed to all due diligence and compliance with the SCU Board of Trustees Statement of Policy Regarding Conflict of Interest. Santa Clara is very fortunate to have the staff and resources to take advantage of serendipitous business opportunities like this one that also meets our strategic goals. We are also fortunate to have generous donors like the Sobratos. I am very grateful for the careful and attentive work done by our staff and trustees in reaching a successful conclusion to the proposal process.

Sustainability Initiative at Santa Clara

Last week our campus had the pleasure of hosting Debra Rowe, President of the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development. Ms. Rowe challenged the community about our understanding of sustainability and presented her model of the Triple Bottom Line of Sustainability. As the inaugural event of our year-long Sustainability Initiative at Santa Clara, Ms. Rowe's visit serves as the jumping off point to move issues of sustainability and environmental justice to the University's core, to promote these issues as central to our educational mission, and to captivate the minds and hearts of students, faculty, and staff.

Santa Clara is far ahead of other institutions in our understanding of sustainability and environmental justice. This became very apparent to me at the recent international conference on Jesuit higher education in Mexico City. Much has already been accomplished at Santa Clara including our Comprehensive Policy on Sustainability, the Environmental Studies Institute, the Penstemon Project, and the various sustainability programs, initiatives, and resources on campus. These efforts affirm our commitment to integrating sustainability and environmental justice into our curriculum and campus life.

I applaud the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, Environmental Studies Institute, and Office of Sustainability for organizing Ms. Rowe's visit and the future events that make up the Sustainability Initiative. The series of lectures and workshops will take the University - students, faculty, and staff alike - to the next level of understanding around the complex issues of sustainability and environmental justice. And from that enhanced understanding, action - in scholarship, political mobilization, and a renewed concern for the environment - can only follow. The outline of this year-long Initiative is now in place. For more information, visit the Sustainability Initiative website

Vice President for University Relations

The Search Committee for the Vice President for University Relations has received a strong pool of candidates. The committee will conduct the first round of interviews on May 24-26, and will invite finalists to come to campus for a full round of interviews in the first week of June.

Reception for Jim Purcell

On May 25, 4-5:30 p.m. in the Mission Gardens, we will be honoring Jim Purcell as he steps down from his position as Vice President for University Relations. A short program is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. All are welcome and encouraged to attend the gathering. Please join me in wishing Jim well as he takes on new endeavors.

Building and Renovation Updates

Construction of the Locatelli Student Center is nearing completion with an expected opening in fall 2010. In June, we will host a preview of the building for our graduating seniors.

Several capital projects are scheduled for this summer, including expansion and enhancement of labs in the School of Engineering, and improvements in Bannan Hall and Heafey. Donohoe renovations will begin in the summer and conclude in November. Renovation to Swig will continue throughout the summer with a completion date of September. The student rooms in Walsh Hall and McLaughlin Hall will be renovated. In the Mission Church, restrooms will be added and the exterior will be repaired.

Benson Center will see some changes over the summer months as well. Market Square will undergo a remodel. The Office of Multicultural Learning and the Writing Center will relocate to Benson. New spaces for a tutoring center, Disabled Student Resources testing, and a student media cluster including KSCU radio station will be created in Benson.

After the heavy rainy season this year, it is very timely we attend to the roofs of our campus buildings. New roofs will be installed on Benson, Dunne, Walsh, and McLaughlin, while the roofs of Cowell Health Center, Fine Arts building, Donohoe boiler room and Daly Science 100 will be repaired or replaced.

International Conference on Jesuit Higher Education

In April, I attended the international conference on Jesuit higher education, "Shaping the Future." Presidents and representatives from 180 Jesuit colleges, universities, and centers of advanced learning worldwide gathered for the conference in Mexico City. Organized by SCU Chancellor Paul Locatelli, S.J., the conference focused on developing a stronger global network of Jesuit higher education. Father Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., Superior General of the Jesuits, challenged the delegates to use Ignatian imagination to envision extending Jesuit education to more poor and marginalized people. Groups at the conference prepared action plans and work products which they would implement after the conference. To learn more about the conference and the topics discussed, visit the "Shaping the Future" website.

What's Ahead on My Calendar

  • May 19 – Staff Coffee Session
  • May 22 – Law School Commencement (morning)
  • May 22 – JST Commencement (afternoon)
  • May 25 – Reception for Jim Purcell
  • May 26 – Staff Coffee Session
  • May 29-30 – Trip to L.A.
  • May 31 – Memorial Day
  • June 4 – Board of Trustees Meeting
  • June 4 – Locatelli Center Preview for Seniors
  • June 7 – Staff Coffee Session
  • June 11 – Graduate Commencement
  • June 12 – Undergraduate Commencement
  • June 15 – Staff Recognition Event

 Michael E. Engh, S.J.


Printer-friendly format