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May 19, 2004

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Publication Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2004

New Menlo College president has deep roots in Atherton New Menlo College president has deep roots in Atherton (May 19, 2004)

** Dr. Carlos Lopez is the great-great-grandson of Faxon Atherton.

By Marjorie Mader
Almanac Staff Writer

When Menlo College looked for a new president, the unanimous choice, Dr. Carlos Lopez, was close at hand, a prominent figure on the Atherton campus since 1962.

"It was a surprise when the presidency was offered to me because I've been here so long," said Dr. Lopez. "I'm not a newcomer to the area. I've lived in Menlo Park for almost 50 years."

His roots go back even further -- to Faxon Atherton, who in the 1860s purchased some 600 acres of land in what is now the town of Atherton. Dr. Lopez's grandmother was Elena Edwards, a granddaughter of Faxon Atherton. Her mother, Isabel Atherton Edwards, a daughter of Faxon Atherton, moved to Chile, where Dr. Lopez was born and raised.

Several streets in Atherton are named after the Atherton children.

Young Carlos came to the Peninsula in 1954 as a student at Santa Clara University. He received a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctor of letters from the Inter-American University in Mexico.

Dr. Lopez will assume the presidency of Menlo College on July 1. He takes over from Dr. James Waddell, who resigned as president, effective June 30, to pursue his interests in writing, research and teaching.

"Lopez brings great experience and a high level of academic excellence to the college," said Russell Frankel, chairman of the college's board of trustees. "The board was looking for a strong leader who could immediately connect with the students, alumni and the local community, and they were unanimous in their support for Lopez."

Since coming to Menlo College in 1962, Dr. Lopez has served as chairman of the Humanities Department, a faculty member, director of athletics and a soccer coach.

Colleague says his charismatic and engaging teaching style has brought history and humanities to life for his students. He has been a mentor to many Menlo students, led study abroad programs to Europe and South America, and has been instrumental in developing educational exchange programs with universities in Chile and Mexico, school officials say.

"Because I'm local, I want to extend our (the college's) relationship with the surrounding communities," said Dr. Lopez.

The college's main focus, he said, is business management with a strong component of liberal arts. The college also has a strong and growing evening program for working adults, he said.

"Contrary to a published report, I'm not in my late 70s, but in my late 60s," he said.

Dr. Lopez has authored 13 books about California and Chilean history. His most recent book (El Real Ejercito de California ) is about the Royal Spanish Army in California.

Dr. Lopez married Eveleen Johnston of Menlo Park, whose father was a Menlo Park branch manager for Bank of America. They live on Johnson Street in Menlo Park, near Valparaiso Avenue and Menlo College.

Their three grown children attended St. Raymond School in Menlo Park. Son Larry attended Menlo School and Menlo College, and is an executive with Silicon Valley Bank. Daughter Andrea now works with a publishing company, and daughter Elena is a stockbroker.

E-mail Marjorie Mader at

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