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About Ciocca Center

The History of Ciocca Center

As the Jesuit University in Silicon Valley, Santa Clara University is the destination of choice for students who want to be fully steeped in innovation and entrepreneurship, experienced through a university built upon Jesuit values.

Beginning in 2016, Santa Clara University began a faculty-led effort to re-envision a center on SCU’s campus to accelerate the work of its most promising programs and to emphasize themes that mirror the innovative work environments many students enter upon graduation.

SCU’s schools of business, law, and engineering already distinguish themselves with nationally recognized programs that advance knowledge of innovation and  entrepreneurialism. Given the impact of these programs, there was a strong desire to amplify their impact by offering new educational experiences, increasing collaboration with industry partners, and, ultimately, establishing the University as an internationally recognized leader in advancing a principled framework for entrepreneurial action. Now, that vision is being realized.

The newly named Ciocca Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is grounded in the idea that every single Santa Clara University student benefits from having an entrepreneurial mindset that makes them adaptable, resilient, and conversant in concepts like design thinking, problem-solving, and value creation.

Thanks to lead funding from donors Arthur and Carlyse Franzia Ciocca ’77, along with their frequent philanthropic partner, the Charles Koch Foundation, the Ciocca Center will also enable new faculty hires, research, programming, and student opportunities, including:  


  • Ensuring that current programming such as the School of Engineering’s prototyping Maker Lab receives ongoing funding and staffing support

  • Supporting enhancements to programming such as startup competitions, mentoring, and the entrepreneurship minor in the Leavey School of Business; virtual- and augmented-reality experimentation in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Imaginarium; and the Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic at the School of Law

  • Augmenting existing entrepreneurial programs on campus such as the social entrepreneurship programming in the Miller Center, the business pitch competition in the business school, the Maker Lab prototyping space, and SCU’s participation in KEEN, a collaborative network of colleges and professors championing the entrepreneurial mindset in engineering undergraduate students.

  • Considering new academic programs for submission to the Academic Affairs Committee

  • Funding for faculty research on the future of work, entrepreneurship, the gig economy, and more

  • Funding faculty to find innovative and entrepreneurial ways to advance their own teaching methods

  • Infusing entrepreneurial thinking and design thinking into and across a broad set of academic disciplines

  • Bringing to campus speakers and workshop leaders in key areas such as innovation in the context of responsible entrepreneurship, among others.

  • Engaging more serial entrepreneurs as mentors and professors of practice

  • Hiring new tenure-track professors in disciplines such as entrepreneurship, innovation, design thinking, business ethics, and/or workforce innovation

  • Providing faculty development funds to professors to introduce concepts of design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship into their courses

  • Promoting three dimensions of innovation and entrepreneurship that set SCU apart from other university centers of entrepreneurship, and elevate our impact throughout the world. The dimensions are Jesuit ideals, a responsible entrepreneurial mindset, and a deep commitment to experiential learning

  • Ensuring that all such efforts across campus benefit from a holistic view where collaboration, networking, and cross-pollination of ideas become the norm

 The Ciocca Center aims to help Santa Clara University promote innovation and entrepreneurship in service of humanity.