The Julian calendar, which had been established by an edict of Julius Caesar in 45 BC posed a problem for 16th century Catholics—its system of years and leap years were not in exact alignment with the length of the astronomical year, so important Christian feasts became misaligned with the seasons. In 1579, Pope Gregory XIII commissioned German Jesuit priest, mathematician and astronomer Christopher Clavius, S.J., to oversee its reform. Three years later, Clavius presented the new “Gregorian” calendar, which is still in use today.
Christopher Clavius, S.J., was born March 25, 1538 and was ordained into the Society of Jesus in 1555. He led the department of mathematics at Collegio Romano from sometime in the 1560s to 1610, during which time he is said to have frequently corresponded with (and was visited by in 1611) Galileo Galilei. Clavius died February 6, 1612, at the age of 73. A large crater of the moon is named for him, as is Gonzaga University’s society honoring science, technology, engineering and mathematics benefaction.
Established by engineering alumnus and member of the Board of Regents Jeff Reed (’75), the Clavius Society was established in 2020 to celebrate those who help to build the future of STEM at Gonzaga. Donations to any fund supporting Gonzaga’s STEM resources, facilities, student clubs and scholarships qualify for Clavius Society membership. Members enjoy special communications and opportunities throughout the year.
Current priority areas of impact include facility support for the John and Joan Bollier Family Center for Integrated Science and Engineering and STEM equipment (specific to use in the Bollier Center). Thanks to the generosity of some dedicated Clavius Society members, the following gift-matching opportunities are now available:
- Your donation in support of STEM equipment will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $200,000
- Your donation in support of the Bollier Center will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $700,000
Contact your Clavius Society representative