In Memoriam: Rev. Paul Locatelli, S.J.
From University President Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx S.J.:
It is with great sadness that I announce today the passing of the Rev. Paul Locatelli, S.J., who died this morning following surgery and treatment for pancreatic cancer. Fr. Locatelli was the Secretary of the International Committee on Jesuit Higher Education and from 1988 to 2008, the President of Santa Clara University.
Fr. Locatelli was a good friend to me as he was to so many, a man of great warmth, intelligence, and enthusiasm for people. He was also a committed friend and supporter of Fairfield University and our shared mission. Many of you in the community had the opportunity to meet and work with him in 2007 when he came to Fairfield to serve as chairman of the Visiting Committee that oversaw Fairfield's re-accreditation with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). During that time and in the years since, he remained deeply interested in our University and its growth and vitality, and engaged in dialogue with us as we implemented our vision for Fairfield's future.
Fr. Locatelli was an inspirational figure for all of us in Jesuit higher education. He was 49 when he took over as President of Santa Clara and began immediately to stress the importance of an increasingly global perspective, the obligation to embrace diversity, and to work to promote justice at home and in the developing world. As such, he was a leading figure in the Jesuit Justice Conferences that began in 2000, and his keynote paper at the conference at John Carroll University in 2005, "The Catholic University of the 21st Century: Educating for Solidarity," has had a profound influence on the direction of our universities. It was Fr. Locatelli who organized the recent International Conference on Jesuit Higher Education, "Shaping the Future," in Mexico City, and who was charged with presiding over the effort to integrate all the Jesuit institutions of higher education towards greater global cooperation in the Jesuit mission.
Fr. Locatelli was in attendance when Fairfield hosted the Jesuit Justice Conference last year, and we were pleased and honored when he agreed to come to Fairfield this coming September to deliver the keynote address on global citizenship at the annual President's Retreat, and to address the University's President's Circle members at the President's Lecture. Unfortunately, we will now be without his guidance and insight.
Born and raised in Boulder Creek, California, Fr. Locatelli was the first in his family to attend college, and graduate from Santa Clara in 1960. After serving in the Army, he joined the Society of Jesus in 1962. He received his Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of Southern California in 1971, and a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley in 1974. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1974.
Before becoming the President of Santa Clara, Fr. Locatelli served as Rector/Professor of Accounting at Loyola Marymount, and as Academic Vice President and Associate Dean of Business at Santa Clara, as well as a member of the Accounting faculty. In 1994, the California Society of CPAs named him the Distinguished Professor of the Year.
Fr. Locatelli served on a number of Silicon Valley and national boards, including Campus Compact, Council of Presidents for the Association of Governing Boards, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the American Leadership Forum, and the Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network. His work earned him the 1999 John Gardner Leadership Award from the American Leadership Forum.
It was Fr. Locatelli's dedication to Jesuit higher education, and specifically his global outlook that led Superior General Adolfo Nicolas to ask him to come to Rome to begin the work of promoting cooperation between Jesuit institutions in the role of Secretary of the Committee on Jesuit Higher Education.
All of us who knew Fr. Locatelli will miss his friendship and inspiration very much, but we are all fortunate for his leadership and his example will continue to guide us as the Fairfield community moves ever more deeply into our shared mission of service.
Posted on July 12, 2010