history and traditions

Race matters

Race matters
by Anne Federwisch |

When Antonio Estremera ’72 came to Santa Clara in 1968, he intended to major in history, not make it. But when an article using wording insulting to minorities appeared in the student newspaper in January ’69, he and some others felt compelled to respond.

The article, introducing a new English course in basic communication skills, described its prospective students as “disadvantaged” and “underprivileged,” and their home environments as “functionally illiterate.” It suggested that they had difficulty with abstract thought. Ethnic tensions were already rife in the Bay Area, with student protests not uncommon elsewhere; that article sparked a minor explosion on the Mission campus.

Several weeks later, Estremera and students from the Black Students’ Union, Mexican American Student Confederation, and Students for Democratic Action, as well as a few faculty members—about 30 people in all—demonstrated in the cafeteria during dinner. Using a speaker system, each group made its demands known to the administration, including review of the newspaper before it went to press and new courses in both Black history and Chicano history.

One month later, the administration responded to lingering discontent by organizing group discussions between faculty and students about the “minority perspective.” Ethnic studies courses were developed as part of the undergraduate curriculum that fall and a director of an Ethnic Studies Program appointed.

Thirty years after Antonio Estremera graduated, his son Michael Estremera ’02, J.D.’06 studied at SCU—as an undergraduate and as a law student. Notably, in recent years the law school has ranked in the top 10 schools nationally in terms of diversity.

Spring 2014

Table of contents


Radiant house

Building a house for the 2013 Solar Decathlon. That, and changing the world.

Américas cuisine

Telling a delicious tale of food and family with chef David Cordúa ’04.

Lessons from the field

Taut and tranquil moments in Afghanistan—an essay in words and images.

Mission Matters

Carried with compassion

The Dalai Lama’s first visit to Santa Clara.

Farther afield

Building safer houses in Ecuador. Research on capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica. Helping empower girls in The Gambia. And this is just the beginning for the Johnson Scholars Program.

What connects us

The annual State of the University address, including some fabulous news for the arts and humanities. And the announcement of Santa Clara 2020, a new vision for the University.