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SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 25, 2019—On a bright Sunday morning, Santa Clara Law welcomed over 100 guests to celebrate the dedication of the Goda Gardens, in honor of Paul J. Goda, SJ, to mark his golden anniversary of dedicated service to the Law School. Santa Clara University leadership joined project donors as well as members of the Jesuit community, to acknowledge Goda’s impact on alumni, family and friends for the past 50 years.

Father Goda’s Connection to Santa Clara University and the Law School

Father Goda spent forty years teaching Santa Clara Law students Contracts, Community Property, Wills & Trust, Legal Research, and Jurisprudence. He was twice president of the Faculty Senate at Santa Clara University. He served twelve years on the board of trustees at Santa Clara University, and nine years on the board of trustees at the University of San Francisco. Following his retirement, Father Goda has remained active in Law School events as well as engaged with Law Alumni for family gatherings, both happy and sad, for the past ten years.

Dedication Ceremony

Santa Clara Law Interim Dean Anna Han welcomed guests to the event, noting that Father Goda has long been a source of wisdom for the community, “As every faculty here will know, whenever we have a question on faculty governance, resolutions passed in days long ago, the answer is always ‘Ask Paul.’ During all this time, as well as since then, Father Goda has been available for so many alumni and friends, celebrating life milestones with many of you. He continues to be a source of comfort, in good times and in bad.”

University President Kevin F. O’Brien, SJ blessed the newly dedicated gardens and shared a prayer for the students of Santa Clara Law, “May the [Goda] Gardens continuously offer tranquil spaces to study and reflect and serve as a resource for our law students as they work to become highly skilled and accomplished graduates who will reach their highest aspirations and become leaders in building a more just, gentle, and sustainable world.”

Sunday Brunch

After the ceremony concluded, the attendees were invited to a brunch in the Mabie Grand Atrium of Charney Hall, beginning with remarks from long-time Santa Clara Law Professor Kenneth Manaster. Professor Manaster noted the connection to Father Goda and the gardening spirit, “When I think of all that Paul [Goda] does for us–for his faculty and staff colleagues in the Law School, his brothers in the Jesuit Community, and above all his students–I think of how well he has tended us and helped us grow. For all of us, then and now, he plants seeds of caring, thoughtfulness, and generosity, and he sticks with us for months and years to help us flourish. I think that’s what a good gardener does.”

Arthur F. Liebscher, SJ ‘69, MDiv ‘84, STM ‘86 shared that Father Goda’s career has been, “marked by a fierce love and dedication,” and that commitment translated into, “a total engagement in Santa Clara, at all levels,” whether supporting students through teaching, his fellow faculty members, and engagement with the University trustees.

Father Goda spoke of his extreme appreciation for all who gathered, all who supported and all who led the effort in creating the gardens. His tribute to family, in particular, to his parents, was filled with gratitude and joy. The emotional words were balanced with his legendary humor when Goda referenced his ‘black thumb” history, and the irony of having a garden named for him.

When speaking of his parents, who immigrated from Hungary, Fr. Goda described the lessons he learned from them, the significance of this garden, and the meaning of the gathering space today. He concluded with, “[my father’s] transition to the United States was to make a better life for us, centered on economic reasons, which he extrapolated into the American Dream. [The truth is], he did give a dream. He made a better life for us, with my mother, a far better vision of the American Dream, not centered on goods but on people, to make a community. The flowers that you named after me are a great symbol of that community, to be watched, to be nurtured and to give hope. Thank you very, very much. I am honored.”

About Santa Clara Law

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