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Thornton, Walter F., S.J., Fr.



Father Walter F. Thornton, S.J., was the 15th President of Santa Clara University, from 1913-1918. He inherited a university that had ambitious plans but very limited resources. The university was in $237,000 worth of debt. Thornton cut costs by firing four secular teachers and every workman that was not 100% necessary. He also stopped all new construction, which he described as being impossible given the university’s financial situation. Thornton also tried to reverse freedoms given to students under Morrissey; this caused 100 students in November 1913 to refuse to attend compulsory evening chapel. They sang and marched to the city park where they held a meeting to protest the strict rule changes. A few days later, seven of these students were suspended from the university. In 1917 the United States entered World War I, and in the fall of that year the War Department had established an infantry unit at the university. The ROTC program was officially inaugurated on January 20, 1918. After the war, Fr. Thornton was reassigned.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Records of the Presidents, 1856-1921

 Record Group
Identifier: 3DB
Scope and Contents Files include primarily correspondence of the early presidents of Santa Clara: Congiato (1856-1857), Cicaterri (1857-1861), Villiger (1861-1865), Varsi (1868-1876), Brunengo (1876-1880), Kenna (1883-1888), Pinasco (1888-1893), Riordan (1893-1894), Kenna (1899-1905), Gleeson (1905-1910), Morrissey (1910-1913), Thornton (1913-1918), and Murphy (1918-1921). Boxes 5 and 6 include Fr. Kenna's breviary and crucifix and Box 7 includes 2 copies of Rev. John Ryan, S.J.'s "Memoir of the Life of Rev....
Dates: 1856-1921

Records of the Walter F. Thornton, S.J., 1913-1918

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 1989-060
Dates: 1913-1918