A must-see piece of Spanish-California history in a beautiful, tranquil setting.. In Short The first sight that greets visitors to Santa Clara University is the facade of the restored church of Mission Santa Clara de Asis. Santa Clara University is the only college in the state to be the successor of a Spanish mission. The original Santa Clara mission was founded in 1777. Now a state historical landmark, the mission holds some interesting relics, including three bells that were a gift from the king of Spain.