Recently, the University announced the largest fund-raising campaign in the school's 152-year history. At a kickoff dinner on Saturday, October 5, President Paul Locatelli, S.J. launched the official start of the campaign, which has been in a "quiet" phase for nearly three years.
During that initial quiet period, the University has benefited significantly as nearly $150 million of the goal was raised and a number of academic, administrative and capital improvements have been made as a result. In athletics, the impact has been tremendous. The extensive renovation of the Leavey Center has become the cornerstone of what will be a first-class athletics and recreation complex that will service the needs of students, faculty, staff, alumni and sports fans for decades to come.
Among the projects approved in the $42.75 million that is designated for athletics are the continuing renovation of the Leavey Center, a much-needed baseball stadium, renovations to the Buck Shaw Stadium and Stanton playing fields and, with the help of the Bronco Bench Foundation, the addition of 20 athletic scholarships. Those additional scholarships are crucial to our ability to maintain a broad-based athletic program capable of achieving the type of regional and national success our coaches, staff and student-athletes are working toward.
Another key component included in the athletics portion of the campaign is a special fund that was started two years ago called the Strategic Initiative Fund. This program has a profound effect on our student-athletes and coaches because it gives them the necessary resources - from soccer balls to recruiting tools - to be competitive in the dynamic world of NCAA Division I athletics. Often the price of success comes unexpectedly and this fund allows us to meet those needs outside of our regular operating budget.
To learn more about the Campaign for Santa Clara, please visit the university's website by clicking here.
We have successfully kicked off the 2002-2003 athletic season right where we left off a year ago. Our men and women's soccer and volleyball teams have each appeared in the national rankings and are in the thick of league championship contention. The men's and women's cross country teams are continuing to reach new levels of performance and will challenge for WCC titles as well. And, first-year coach Keith Wilbur has taken a young team and created a strong base from which to continue to build our water polo program.
I'd like to applaud the accomplishments of our young volleyball team so far this season. Despite season-ending injuries to two key starters, Jon Wallace has the team playing with confidence, energy and an incredible desire to win championships.
The team only lost two matches during its difficult non-conference schedule, at fourth-ranked Nebraska and eighth-ranked Minnesota, and is at the top of the West Coast Conference standings. At this writing, the Broncos are ranked 13th in the nation and are knocking on the door for their first top-10 ranking in school history.
With that success, we have also seen a tremendous amount of support for our program. Our attendance average has doubled from a year ago, some of the top recruits in the country continue to show interest in our program and there is a great deal of excitement on our campus for volleyball.
I'm proud of the job Jon Wallace and his staff has done in creating a volleyball program that continues to reach for new heights and bring honor and distinction to Santa Clara University.
I encourage you to come out to the Leavey Center, watch these young women play and support Bronco volleyball!