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Santa Clara University Hosts Virtual Celebration for Class of 2020

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“We’re all better off when we’re all better off,” alumnus and California Gov. Gavin Newsom ’89 tells class in a pre-recorded congratulatory message.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Reminding Santa Clara University’s Class of 2020 that the United States needs to re-order its “hierarchy of values,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a 1989 alumnus of Santa Clara University, helped SCU’s graduating seniors mark what would have been their Commencement Day in a virtual event celebrating their accomplishments.

The celebration was held at noon on June 13, 2020.

“All of us can do more and be better when we see the world with a different set of eyes, a little more empathy, a little more care, a little more collaboration, a little more recognition that we, as a society, are leaving too many people behind,” Newsom told the estimated 1400 students graduating from what he called “one of the world’s great institutions, Santa Clara University.”

Newsom was among more than a dozen Santa Clara leaders, professors, and alumni sending messages of congratulations to the graduating seniors, who hail from 42 states and 10 countries. Fifty-three percent of the class is female; 47 percent male.

“Your education here is not about jumping through hoops, nor is it an obstacle course to graduation,” SCU President Kevin O’Brien, S.J., said in his message to students. “As a Jesuit university, the measure of who we are as a university is who you become as persons.”

Among the other Bronco supporters sending congratulations were:

Comedian, satirist, and former SCU Frank Sinatra Artist-in-Residence W. Kamau Bell

Former NBA all-star legend Steve Nash ’96

University of California system president and former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano ’79

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta ’60 J.D. ’63

Former Olympian and FIFA World Cup soccer champion Brandi Chastain ’91

Former NBA champion Kurt Rambis ’80

Grammy-winning artist and 2019-2020 SCU Frank Sinatra Artist-in-Residence Rhiannon Giddens

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown ’59

The virtual event was preceded by a livestream montage of senior photos and congratulatory messages posted by family, friends, professors, and other Bronco supporters.

In response to preferences of the class, Santa Clara plans to bring back the Class of 2020 for an official, in-person, commencement ceremony in Spring 2021.

About Santa Clara University

Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Ranked among the top 15 percent of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent 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 curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see


Deepa Arora | Communications and Media | | 408-554-5125

Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | | 408-554-5121