The Broncos celebrate the historic inauguration of Julie H. Sullivan, Ph.D., the first woman and first lay president.
SANTA CLARA, Calif.October 7, 2022 – Santa Clara University today celebrated the historic inauguration of Julie H. Sullivan, Ph.D.the first woman and the first lay person to lead the university in its 171-year history.
The historic, joyful and community-based event drew more than 2,000 guests, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, as well as leaders from businesses, religious institutions, elected offices, universities and of the Ohlone and Muwekma Ohlone tribes, whose ancestors land seat of Santa Clara University.
The two-hour ceremony was commemorated with tradition and significance, beginning with the vibrant inaugural procession. During the ceremony, a tradition that dates back to the 1960s but includes customs from earlier decades, Larry Sonsini, chairman of the board of trustees of Santa Clara University, officially invested Sullivan with the office of president. This moment was marked by the laying of the president’s chain, featuring a large medallion containing the university’s seal as well as symbols recalling the university’s Jesuit traditions.
President Sullivan was also officially commissioned into his role by Sean Carroll, SJ, M.Div. ’99, Provincial of the Western United States Province of the Society of Jesus. By accepting, Sullivan pledged to lead the university according to the mission of the Society of Jesus. During his comments, Carroll reminded the community that “Santa Clara joins in the larger task of expanding human knowledge, deepening human understanding, exploring human religions, and serving those in need. most needed”.
Among those who shared welcoming remarks at the event were former and former Defense Secretaries Leon Panetta ’60, JD ’63alumnus and former Secretary of Homeland Security and President Emeritus of the University of California, Janet Napolitano ’79and Diocese of San José Bishop Oscar Cantu. Lisa Gilmore, the mayor of Santa Clara, also spoke to welcome Sullivan to the role.
A vision of excellence
In her inaugural address, Sullivan shared Santa Clara University’s many strengths that she hopes to build on, such as its rigorous standard of academic excellence, commitment to inclusive excellence, high graduation rates from its low-income and first-generation students, and a drive to seek truth and social justice.
“Because ‘the world is our home’ as the early Jesuits said, every culture that inhabits it is our sister,” Sullivan noted in his remarks. “I see a future for Santa Clara where we are more inclusive and welcoming, and where we continue to increase and improve our racial, cultural and socioeconomic diversity to better reflect the world we live in,” she said. added.
She noted that universities are increasingly being evaluated on their ability to help students transition from one socio-economic reality to another, and that Santa Clara needs to build on its excellent record of supporting low-income and first-generation students. “I believe it is imperative that we assume our responsibility as a Jesuit Catholic university to make a greater contribution to social mobility in our society.”
She also shared how she sees leadership as both resolutely forward-thinking and grounded in proven values. “St. Ignatius himself described strong leaders as ‘contemplatives in action’, leaders eager to move forward and tackle the world’s toughest problems, while maintaining a grounding in their faith. and their values, and the call of God.”
A story of firsts
President Sullivan is the first woman and the first lay person (non-clergy) to lead Santa Clara University in its 171-year history. Before taking office on July 1, she was president of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she was also the first woman and first lay person to serve as president. Previously, she was executive vice president and provost of the University of San Diego, a private Roman Catholic university.
With 17 years of leadership experience in Catholic higher education, Sullivan is a champion of the principles of Catholic social teaching, including creating opportunity and economic inclusion through education; dismantling racism and strengthening belonging; and promoting environmental sustainability.
His nearly ten-year tenure at St. Thomas is recognized as a period of significant growth, expansion and transformation. Among many advancements, the physical footprint of the St. Thomas campus has grown significantly, its academic offerings have expanded to include new health and nursing colleges, and its athletic achievements have lifted St. Thomas from a Division III to a Division I institution. Under his leadership, St. Thomas also created innovative academic programs and expanded opportunities for students, such as Dougherty Family College, a two-year program for students facing challenges. barriers to obtaining four-year degrees.
Raised in Florida, Sullivan is a first-generation college student who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a master’s degree in taxation, and a doctorate in commerce from the University of Florida. She and her husband Bob, who was the founding dean of the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego, have five children and nine grandchildren.
She has served on the boards of Loyola University Chicago; Catholic Charities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis; and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. Sullivan has also served on the board and audit committee of TCF Bank, PICO Holdings and AppliedMicro.
A time of growth, opportunity and promise
President Sullivan takes the helm of the Jesuit Catholic University at a time of tremendous growth, opportunity, and promise.
“At Santa Clara, we maintain an uncompromising standard of academic excellence in our teaching, learning, creativity, and scholarship,” she said in her inaugural address. “And an education at Santa Clara has always been characterized by exceptional rigor and relevance.”
Founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus, a Catholic order of priests, Santa Clara University attracts more than 16,000 undergraduate applicants each year for an education that is both rigorous and relevant, and which produces students who devote their talents to create a fairer and more humane world. , and sustainable world.
Santa Clara’s newest freshman undergraduate class is the largest on record at 1,650 students. Eleven percent of new undergraduates are eligible for federal Pell grants, and 15 percent were the first members of their family to attend a four-year college. Santa Clara’s increasingly diverse student body is made up of 38% white, 30% Asian, 18% Hispanic, 8% from two or more races, and 3% black.
Supporters, alumni and donors have rallied together with Santa Clara students and faculty to create a rich and rewarding educational experience. More than $850 million in donations over the past few years have enabled advancements such as the new 270,000 square foot Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation; the Stephen C. and Patricia A. Schott Center of Athletic Excellence; and scholarships and other funds to increase the racial, socioeconomic, and ethnic diversity of the student body.
“President Sullivan is a strong and visionary leader who has the experience and compassion to move Santa Clara University forward at this pivotal time in its history,” Sonsini said. “She knows the enormous power of a Jesuit Catholic education and has the skills and wisdom to help our students thrive by learning how their gifts will improve our world.”
Friday’s dedication ceremony was preceded the day before by a live-streamed inaugural Mass and a campus-wide “Bronco Boardwalk” celebration on the evening of Oct. 5. The inauguration was broadcast live to a global audience of students, families, alumni and friends.
About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the most innovative and entrepreneurial region in the world. The University’s beautifully landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Ranked among the top 15% of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, SCU has one of the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is ranked by PayScale in the top 1% of universities with the highest paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the program combines high-tech innovation with a social conscience rooted in the tradition of Jesuit Catholic education. For more information, see www.scu.edu.