Engh, S.J., is a historian specializing in the American West. He is the author of Frontier Faiths: Church, Temple, and Synagogue in Los Angeles (1992) and has published extensively on the Catholic Church’s role in settling California and the history of Los Angeles.
Engh is Santa Clara University’s 28th president. He first visited the SCU campus in 1974 as a Jesuit novice. It was visiting historic sites such as the Santa Clara Mission that first drew him to the field of history. He knew early on that he wanted to teach, from entering his very first history class. He has a reputation for being a challenging professor and a tough grader that he acknowledges, explaining, “If you want the best for your students, you have to ask their best from them.”
Engh was active in founding LMU’s Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles and the university’s Center for Ignatian Spirituality. He served as dean of the school’s Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts from 2003 to 2008. Engh graduated from what was then Loyola University of Los Angeles in 1972 and was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1981. He completed his graduate studies in the history of the American West at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1987 and began teaching at Loyola Marymount University in 1988.