Michael Engh: Historian named college president

Historians in the News

Michael Engh, S.J., distinguished historian and current Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, has been selected the 28th president of Santa Clara University. Fr. Engh will succeed Paul Locatelli, S.J., who announced in March that he would step down after nearly 20 years as president. Fr. Locatelli continues as president of the University until December 31, 2008. For more information visit www.scu.edu/president/incoming.

Engh, 58, was elected by Santa Clara University's Board of Trustees during a special meeting of the governing body on September 17. He will take office in January 2009.

In making the announcement, A.C. "Mike" Markkula, Chair of the Santa Clara University Board of Trustees, said, "Fr. Engh brings to Santa Clara an outstanding record as a scholar, teacher, historian, and administrator. He has made significant academic contributions in his career as a historian, and understands the potential of Jesuit institutions to advance learning and artistic expression, faculty scholarship, and social justice."

He added that Fr. Engh emerged from a field of candidates as the best person to lead Santa Clara to new frontiers in academic excellence. "He possesses a rare blend of vision, compassion, and a deep understanding of Jesuit higher education that will serve students, faculty, staff and the broader Silicon Valley community very well."

Robert Finocchio, Vice chair of the Santa Clara University Board of Trustees and chair of the presidential search committee said, "Fr. Engh is the ideal person to lead Santa Clara University into the next stage of its history. He will continue building Santa Clara's reputation for academic excellence and supporting our mission of developing leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion."

"From the first conversations in the search process, Santa Clara's themes--the pursuit of academic excellence, social justice, community-based learning--have resonated with my core values," Engh said. "It is an honor and a great privilege to have been selected to join Santa Clara University as its next president."
A third-generation Angeleno, Engh graduated from what was then Loyola University of Los Angeles in 1972 and was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1981. He completed his graduate studies in the history of the American West at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1987 and began teaching at LMU in 1988. He was also active in founding LMU's Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles and the university's Center for Ignatian Spirituality.
He is the author of Frontier Faiths: Church, Temple, and Synagogue in Los Angeles (1992) and has published 18 articles or chapters in books on the history of Los Angeles, the Catholic Church in the American West, and the history of LMU.

"Santa Clara University is fortunate to have Fr. Engh come on board as President," said Robert B. Lawton, S.J., President of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. "He is a wonderful human being, and agreat academic who works very well with both faculty and students, and he is a terrificfund raiser," he said. "He'll quickly become a Bronco!"

As dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at LMU, a position he has held since June 2004, Engh has the responsibility for programs that enrolled approximately 1800 students. In addition, he oversees 151 tenured and tenure-track faculty, 85 to 95 part-time faculty each semester, and 26 staff members.
During his tenure as dean, he led a team in the implementation of a five-year strategic plan for the College: "Education That Transforms," initiated contacts with universities in China, encouraged foreign immersion trips for faculty, and founded two programs to promote inter-religious dialogue.

Prior to his work as Dean, Engh served as rector of the Jesuit Community at LMU from 1994 to 2000, where he coordinated, planned, and completed the construction of a new residence for the Jesuits.
In 1991, he cofounded the Los Angeles History Seminar at the Huntington Library, one of the largest urban history seminars in the country, and led the group until 2003.
Read entire article at WSJ

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