University officials say Locatelli was surrounded by family and friends when he died of pancreatic cancer Monday.
A graduate of Santa Clara University, Locatelli became an accounting professor at the Jesuit campus in 1974 and became its 27th president in 1988.
Officials say during Locatelli's 20 years as president, the university saw a major construction boom and a tenfold increase in its endowment.
University President Michael Engh, who succeeded him as president, says Locatelli "profoundly shaped Santa Clara during his lifetime" and helped turn the campus "a globally recognized university."
A funeral service will be held for Locatelli on campus on Friday.