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Letter from the President


A headshot of John Torrey

Generally speaking, I have no complaints. This is a lesson I’ve learned over the course of my life, in large part due to my Catholic faith, my parents’ examples, the incredible blessings of my wife, Juliette (SCU class of 1993), and our kids, and the amount of business travel I’ve completed without incident over the course of my career — all of which have taught me well to be, as much as anything else, grateful.

But, I have to say, 2017 was a difficult year, particularly the end of it. Within four trying days in December, memorials were held for Sister Christine Ostrowski and for Fr. Flavian Welstead, both of whom graced the Our Lady of Angels community in Burlingame, California for so many years. Sr. Christine was a humble and kind powerhouse, who literally inspired thousands of children with the gift of the English language. Fr. Flavian was a priest’s priest, a man who was equal parts prankster and spiritual sherpa and 110% true friend to all. Both will be dearly missed by so many.

In my experience, however, things, especially bad things, tend to happen in threes. So, I was more than a little terrified of what might happen next after those four trying days. Sadly, it didn’t take long for me to learn. On the 9th of December, Santa Clara University lost one of its own, and one of its very best. Michael Zareski, a beloved veterinarian from the class of 1993, died tragically in a plane crash near his home in San Diego County. He is survived by his wife, Shanna, and their four children, ages 3 through 7.

Mike Z was simply one of those people who made everyone better. Funny, charming, deeply caring, kind, interested, interesting, inspiring, humble — a man of unquestionable compassion, competence, and conscience. Everyone who knew him, I’m sure, has a Mike Z story — he didn’t just pass through people’s lives, he constructively changed them.

So, as we begin a new year, and in honor of Mike, I am reminded and challenged to be more kind, to take more time with people, to show more compassion to everyone, to be a better friend, to make new friends, to help more people (and animals), to be more patient, to try to make a positive difference — ultimately, to love more, in an honest effort to be more like Mike. 

Take care,

Class of 1993
National Alumni Association President


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