New SCU President announced tomorrow

SCU will announce the new president tomorrow in front of Mission Church at 10:30. It will be on Facebook. Hopefully, the new President is pro-Athletics. Facebook posts says “New President will be a lay person”. I am sure Herb Sendek is trying to get a contract extension after a big season. Maybe be on hold until new President takes over.


Any idea on who its supposed to be?

Julie H. Sullivan from U. St Thomas in Minnesota. First layperson to lead SCU.

Have no idea the long term impact for basketball but the first words out of the chairman of the board (?) announcing her was “dedication to improving athletics” which stood out.

She’s spent 16 years at UNC-Chapel Hill, so maybe she’s a basketball fan?


St. Thomas just jumped from D1 to D3, so she has experience growing/investing in athletics.


Useful background on St. Thomas! Thanks 92.

she’s mentioned athletics as a point of emphasis in her speech.

Yes, St Thomas went from D3 to D1…Summit League for hoops, Pioneer League for football just like USD. Looks like she was at USD for stint.

I hope someone asked what her thoughts are on effective & high quality livestreaming of sporting events?

In all seriousness, looks like a good move by the board…


Is anyone else taken aback by the continued secularization of SCU? I’m not much of a practicing Catholic (I can’t remember the last mass I attended), but this move just strikes me as a significant departure from tradition. I know that it was foreshadowed by the Board of Trustees’ actions last summer to remove the “Jesuit priest” requirement.

Having said that and given that the choice would likely be a lay person, I’m glad that the school chose a female with a quality track record (at least on paper). The Church’s continued ban on female priests bugs me.


I would think she’s a sports fan in general. She went to school at University of Florida!

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I recall Georgetown and LMU doing the same in last however many years.

As someone who grew up in the Episcopal church, which has female priests, I’ve also been a little baffled as well. Then again, Episcopal clergy of either sex can also marry.

They mentioned at the beginning that the “talent pool” of Jesuit priests has shrunk. I’m glad that we went after the best available candidate.


Many Jesuit universities have non-Jesuit presidents . Not many jesuits left in the pipeline

And even fewer with the skills/interest in leading a major university. It helps to remember that all the Jesuit colleges and universities basically started more-or-less as log cabin seminaries. The Jesuits did a good job adapting as those grew into major colleges and universities, and there’s nothing about being a Jesuit that makes a person any less qualified to lead them. But as the institutions grow, the pool of individuals capable of providing the necessary leadership shrinks. And the center of the Venn diagram with ordained religious starts getting very small.

Regarding the religious element: I think, counterintuitively, that the appointment of a layperson may actually be more helpful for maintaining the religious identity of Santa Clara. A priest might feel more pressure to demonstrate the independence of the university from the Church and the Society to counterbalance the optics of his leadership. A layperson, especially one who is herself a person of faith, may not have those same incentives. Santa Clara won’t be and shouldn’t be Catholic U West, but I think SCU’s spiritual tradition matters and think that a layperson may actually have more credibility in the decisions she makes when that tradition causes some friction with the many complex issues at a modern major university.


Well said, Patty Mac. I think that’s an astute take and should bode well for our future.

Some good insights PattyMac. I can see how a layperson like Dr. Sullivan might receive a broader reception throughout Silicon Valley and Northern California, or even throughout the West Coast, because she does not wear a collar. Interestingly, she is formally educated as an accountant like former University President Paul Locatelli, SJ. It appears she is very comfortable in both the world of finance and the place of higher education. The transformation she achieved at St. Thomas is quite remarkable, and I am not just talking about elevating sports to D1. She is impressive and a breath of fresh air.

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Good to have a female Pres and obviously that only happens if it’s opened up to non-SJ’s.
And not just to be PC or demonstrate we’re open minded, progressive, etc. The female/male gender split at the school is now something like 55/45 or close to it, in other words there are 20% more female students on campus than male; good for young women to see themselves in someone at the top.

I’m all for tradition, and I hope the Jesuits continue to have a very visible presence throughout the school, on campus and in upper leadership and I hope we maintain our Ignatian ideals. But this is a good move, progress and tradition can co-exist.


Actually 50/50 male/female at SCU right now according to the 2021-22 Undergraduate bulletin:

Student Body · Santa Clara University Undergraduate Bulletin - 2021-2022.

I would hope SCU would hire based upon merit above all else (for every open position). From what I can tell, she really hits the mark.

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Hmmm… I thought we were told enrollment (our kid is an undergrad) but maybe it was 55/45 applicants.

Regardless, my opinion remains the same. There is a dearth of women in top level leadership positions, change is overdue.

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