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Ciocca Center
for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
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Reflecting on Art Ciocca’s Legacy at SCU

By Chris Norris, Executive Director of Ciocca Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

I’ve worked for 35 years in Silicon Valley in very entrepreneurial companies and roles and before I met Art Ciocca two and a half years ago, if you had asked me if I knew most everything about “Silicon Valley-style” entrepreneurship, I’d have been inclined to say “yes!”. 

Art’s vision of entrepreneurship, which I’ve had the extraordinary opportunity to help implement at Santa Clara University, wasn’t one of teaching students how to start, build, or run a business.  Rather, Art was focused on how we think like entrepreneurs and the tough problem of how we teach the elements of an Entrepreneurial Mindset to students from all disciplines and walks of life, regardless of whether that student will ever start a business. 

Art saw entrepreneurship as a set of life skills - empathy for those who are in pain and whose problems we attempt to solve; the optimism to approach problems as opportunities; confidence in taking risks; and an awareness of the impact of our actions.  I still blink in surprise when I recall my initial conversations with Art as he described his vision to me in such a pure form.

 I spent quite a few hours with Art on the phone, and sharing ideas through email, in the short time that I was privileged to know him.  It remains a disappointment in my life that I didn’t meet him many years earlier in my career.  But I’m grateful for the time I had with him, and how much he taught me about a subject where I already considered myself an expert.  

For me, the good news is that every day I get to think about Art and what he would have liked to see come of his ideas.  I’m honored to be able to continue the work of building a campus-wide center, the Ciocca Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University, so generously funded and supported by Art and Carlyse Ciocca.  And I remain inspired to help students from all backgrounds and disciplines become equipped with the tools of an entrepreneur as Art Ciocca envisioned.

Your Resource for All Things Entrepreneurial


Ciocca Center is a campus resource that encourages the Entrepreneurial Mindset through academics,
hands-on learning, and university-wide programs and events.

An entrepreneur understands and recognizes a problem or pain point and has the determination to solve it.
This form of empathy, and the courage to pursue new ideas, innovate and find solutions to problems, is the
Entrepreneurial Mindset.

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