Trouble viewing this email? Read it online.
Religious Studies header

Note from the Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends,

This fall the University returned to what we now call “face-to-face” or in-person instruction for most of its undergraduate classes. While faculty and students were glad to be back on campus after more than an entire year online, the transition back to normal was not without its challenges. Faculty and students alike have responded with goodwill and generosity of spirit as we all navigated these waters in our own ways.

This year opened with the arrival of two new tenure track faculty in the area of systematic theology: Haruka Umetsu-Cho and Elyse Raby. Their colleague Prof. Daniel Morgan orchestrated the profiles featured in this issue of Perspectives.

We also welcomed a new academic year lecturer, Thien-Huong Ninh, who is offering courses in Buddhism this year while David Gray is on sabbatical. We also were joined by Jason Schwartz, who is completing graduate studies at UCSB and taught RSOC 9 this fall, and Michael Rende, a Lonergan scholar who is teaching TESP 004, Christian Tradition for us.

This issue of Perspectives offers a glimpse into department events and faculty achievements over the past couple of months. As a special bonus, our department manager Vicky Gonzalez shares with us a perspective from her 30 years at SCU. We are glad to have her with us, and look forward to another 30 years!

Vicky’s article reminded me that I too have been here for a while. It has been an honor to serve the department as interim chair this year—a role I played once before, in 1988-89, while long-time chair Jim Reites, S.J. (rip) was on a sabbatical in Rome. In a future newsletter, I will try to capture the contours of the changes I’ve seen in the department since that first tour of duty.

Wishing everyone a healthy and blessed holiday season!

Philip Boo Riley
Interim Chair, Religious Studies Department

Cover Story
Haruka Umetsu Cho and Elyse Raby

Introducing our Two New RS Tenure-Track Faculty - Haruka Umetsu Cho and Elyse Raby.

Read More


News & Events
Vicky Gonzalez with Award

Vicky Gonzalez – 30 years at SCU!

Read More

religious studies graduates

GPPM Graduation Event

Read More

Hashtag Me Too

RS Conversations - Sexual Violence & Jesuit Universities

Read More

Day of the dead altar

Day of the Dead Altar

Read More


The Religious Studies Department welcomed five student assistants to the RS Team for the 2021-22 academic year. They are Bryce Hong, Travis Lee, Alex Iosivas, Lydia Sandy, and Hydeia Wysinger. We are very grateful for all their help!

During Summer & Fall '21 Quarters, the Religious Studies Department welcomed these new majors and minors:

Class of 2025

Hydeia Wysinger (Minor)
Grace Urbinato (Major)
Ellie Griffith (Major)
Cacia Roy (Minor)
Gabby Martinez (Major)
Tobey Enns (Minor)
Kristie Wong (Minor)
Tran Bui (Minor)
Denel McMahan (Minor)

Class of 2024 

Julia Quiroz (Minor)
Anna Johnson (Major)
Nicole Maxwell (Cruz) (Major)
Marie Jordaan (Minor)
Laura Clark (Minor)
Blaise Burbank (Major)
Adelyn Livingston (Minor)

Class of 2023 

Jessica Lee (Minor)
Petra Glenn (Minor)

Faculty Updates

Ana Maria Pineda, RSM

Honored with lifetime achievement award for her contribution to US Latinx Theology

Read More

Sarita Tamayo-Moraga & Philip Boo Riley

Sarita Tamayo-Moraga & Philip Boo Riley

Religious Studies & Public Health faculty and students join to observe UN International Day of Nonviolence

Read More

Daniel Morgan

Daniel Morgan

Presented a paper on Occult Reformism

Read More

Updates from Teresia Hinga, Paul Schutz, C. Vanessa White (GPPM), David Pinault, David DeCosse, and Gene Schlesinger Read More

Alumni Update
Connor Holttum

Connor Holttum '18

RS alum answers call to service as wildland firefighter

Read More

We would love to hear from you! If you have any news or memories to share (tell us your best RS story!), would like to update us about your current life and work, or have any ideas for RS programs and initiatives, please email

You might include a story or photo of a recent event, or just let us know about your current location, career, or thoughts. Thank you!


Santa Clara University
Department of Religious Studies
500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053
Phone: 408.554.4547

© 2022