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Photo courtesy of SCU Archives
The Thomas I. Bergin Legacy Society of Santa Clara University

Each generation is enriched by the previous one. A legacy is the enrichment we receive from those who have walked before us. When many walk together, great institutions grow and flourish.

Over the years, many have walked together through the Mission Gardens of Santa Clara; Fathers Joseph Alemany and Michael Accolti, Fathers John Nobili, Robert Kenna, Willaim Gianera, Patrick Donohoe, and Walter Schmidt, the Bannans, the Heafeys, the Leaveys, the Orradres, the Sanfilippos, and the Swigs.

Thomas I. Bergin, Santa Clara's first graduate and recipient of the first bachelor's degree awarded in California, was one of the earliest people to enrich the legacy for what we have come to know as Santa Clara University. After graduating in 1857, Bergin went on to study law in New York and later practiced in San Francisco. The legacy he left to his alma mater in 1915—a $100,000 cash bequest in his will—was one of the first received by Santa Clara and helped to finance the founding of Santa Clara's School of Law.

In 1987, President William Rewak decided to honor Thomas I. Bergin and to exemplify his generosity to Santa Clara University by creating the Thomas I. Bergin Legacy Society. This Society honors and thanks those alumni, friends, parents, faculty, and staff who have either made a provision or have stated to the University that they intend to make a provision for Santa Clara University in their estate plans. Gifts that qualify for membership include bequests, life income gifts through a pooled income fund, charitable gift annuity or charitable trusts. Additionally, one may also name Santa Clara University as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or a retirement plan.

The intention of the Thomas I. Bergin Legacy society is to build Santa Clara University's endowment and to ensure that it will have the financial resources to provide excellent educational opportunities for future generations.

Click here to view frequently asked questions about the Thomas I. Bergin Legacy Society.

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