Steven D. Cannata Scholarship
Steven Cannata ’94 died Sept. 7, 2002, after a swimming-related accident at the age of 26. In his brief life, he made a lasting impression on all those who met him. His scholarship continues the good work Steven did throughout his life by ensuring that SI is a school for all. Numerous young men and women have been able to attend SI thanks to the three perpetually endowed scholarships named for this generous, loving young man. His family believes that Steven's legacy can do even more good, and hopes to add additional scholarships in Steven's name.
Please consider making a gift to the Steven D. Cannata Scholarship Fund using the form to the right.
Below you will find both obituaries and tributes to Steven.
Obituary from Genesis Magazine:
Steven David Cannata
Every student of Latin is familiar with the phrase “carpe diem.” All his life, Steven had a passion for living. He was blessed with a quick mind, a wonderful sense of humor and a gentleness of spirit.
“He was a very, very good kid, and very high-spirited,” recalled his father Steven Cannata ’66 in an interview in December. “Our house was always active with all of our children (Joseph ’92, Steven ’94, Bridget ’95, Chelsea ’97 and Teressa) and all of their friends.
Given his passion for sports, Steven set his sights at an early age on becoming a sports agent. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of Bay Area teams, and his friends were amazed by the extent of the sports trivia he knew by heart. A master storyteller (his rendition of the O’Malley twins complete with Irish brogue, was a classic), he loved the company of friends and his many first cousins.
Steven’s years at SI were integral to his spiritual, academic and personal development. At SI, Steven gained a reputation as a very inclusive personality who included as many people as possible into his circle of friends. People naturally gravitated toward this charismatic young man who cared far more for people and adventures than for material things. His first cousin, Michael Farrah, echoed this observation when he noted that “Steven realized that the experiences of life had more value than the things of life.” His sense of inclusiveness was also eloquently captured by one of the speaker’s at Steven’s vigil who said that “in high school, Steven did not know lines or popularity. He only knew people.”
Throughout college and in while living in New York, Steve continued to draw people to him. Ken Garcia, in a Chronicle column on Steve, noted that the young man was “a magnetic force, attracting those around him. He was the type of person who could persuade his friends to fly to Los Angeles at the last minute for a Giants-Dodgers game — and show up at the airport with a hibachi and a Hawaiian shirt but no overnight bag.… He could convince the Vatican police not to arrest him after deciding to break-dance for tourists inside the Sistine chapel. He ran with the bulls in Pamplona because, well, you just can’t pass up certain chances.”
After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in psychology, Steve went to New York where he worked as a paralegal. He returned to UC Davis in 2000 where he enrolled with honors in a four-year program that would have given him both a law degree and an MBA. There, his business school classmates elected him class president.
On Sept. 5, Steve went out with friends and spent a few hours at a bar. He then went with them to a student-complex to relax in a hot tub and go swimming. The group engaged in a contest to determine who could swim underwater the longest, and Steven remained in the pool swimming underwater while his friends returned to the hot tub. While doing this, he lost consciousness. An ambulance rushed him to Sutter Davis Hospital, but by the evening of Sept. 6, doctors told his parents, Steve and Catherine, that he would not survive. He died the following morning. Alcohol was a factor in the drowning.
The death has hit the family hard. “We all have a strong faith and can accept the fact of death and God’s will,” said his father. “What is difficult is acclimating ourselves to his absence. The everyday occurrences are the most difficult for us, as well as the sense of loss and awful finality of it.”
The family found solace in the overflow crowd of family and friends who attended the rosary and funeral Mass, in the beautiful eulogies, in Fr. Sauer’s moving homily and in the hundreds of poignant letters they received, including ones from strangers who had, themselves, lost young children.
The family found a eulogy delivered by Steven’s older brother, Joseph, at the funeral Mass to be particularly comforting. Joseph said that his brother “saw the beauty in all people and brought it out in them. He made people feel good about themselves, and this attribute was, by far, his greatest.”
Steven Cannata truly and joyously embodied the Jesuit maxim to be a man “for and with others” during the course of his short but inspirational life.
- Read Ken Garcia's story in the San Francisco Chronicle on Steven's passing.
- Read Catherine Bigelow's column on a fund-raiser spearheaded by Joey Cannata and Cesar Contreras.