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

Note from the Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends,

David GraySpring is often characterized as a time of new life and hope, and this seems to be the case now more than ever, with the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, and the prospect of a return to normal life on campus in the Fall. Spring quarter this year will be the conclusion of fifteen months of relative isolation for most of us, interacting with each other primarily via the Zoom video conferencing service. We look forward to a return to more direct, embodied communication.

This year was also marked by a number of transitions. One of our faculty members, Father Francis Smith, S.J., who retired in December 2020, unexpectedly passed away on March 25, 2021. David Pinault will also be retiring at the end of this academic year and was just accorded emeritus status. We also conducted two searches this year in the area of systematic theology, and are happy to announce that two scholars who just completed their doctoral programs will be joining us in the Fall. They are Haruka Umetsu Cho (Ph.D., Harvard Divinity School) and Elyse Raby (Ph.D., Boston College). We will profile them in the Fall edition of Perspectives. In addition, this Spring I will have completed my second term as chair of the Department of Religious Studies. My successor as chair will be Jim Bennett. However, as he will be on sabbatical next year, Philip Boo Riley will serve as interim chair for the 2021-22 academic year.

I would also like to acknowledge that this issue of Perspectives was co-edited and designed by our department manager, Vicky Gonzalez, and our student assistant Isaiah del Rosario '21. I am grateful to both of them for their excellent work on this issue.

David Gray Chair, Religious Studies Department

Cover Story

June 2021: Post-It scribblings found by SCU custodial staff in the cleared-out drawer of an empty desk in a vacated office in Kenna Hall; transcribed as a historical curiosity.

Read More

News & Events

Remembering Francis Smith, S.J.

Teacher, scholar, and author came to Santa Clara University in 1974.

Read More


Social Media Apps Inspire Senior Lecturer To Create "Trust Pods"

Sarita Tamayo-Moraga finds success applying social media’s chat format to video discussion assignments.

Read More


Finding Common Ground in the "Seeking Unity Amid Division" RS Conversation

Professors Karen Peterson-Iyer and Paul Schutz lead a conversation on interdenominational relations & Christian tradition.

Read More

A Bittersweet Religious Studies Spring 2021 Reception

Students and faculty give their thanks and say their goodbyes.

Read More

Faculty Updates
Teresia Hinga

Teresia Hinga

Writes and speaks about Global Ethics and Sustainability.

Read More


Margaret McLean

Serves on SCU COVID Resilience & Recovery Team and completes 3 major research & teaching projects.

Read More


Eugene Schlesinger

Publishes and presents on the topics of Henri de Lubac, and the Anglican tradition.

Read More

More faculty updates from David DeCosse, Janet Giddings, David Gray, Roberto Mata, Katia Moles, Michelle Mueller, David Pinault, and Sarah Robinson. Read More

2021 Student Award Winners
Alina Pincombe and Olivia Hill
Religious Studies Major Prize
Kristen Lee, Mary Maas, Lauren Schiek
Tennant Wright, S.J. Minor Prize
Kelby Uebelhor
Theodore J. Mackin Senior Thesis Award
Gina Chavez, Abby Fafinski, Haley Howard, Tegan Smith
Joseph Grassi Social Justice Award
Ramon Duran
Catherine Bell Award

Class of 2021

Congratulations Class of 2021 Religious Studies Senior Students!

Olivia Hill  
Alina Pincombe  
Kelby Uebelhor  
Amaya Ada-Vibar Kristen Lee
Anthony Avila Mary Maas
Joshua Belong Alyssa Millwood-Donahue
Georgina Chavez Lauren Schiek
Abby Fafinski Tegan Smith
Haley Howard Samuel Wickstrom

Kelby Uebelhor '21

Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Management triple major reflects on his time at SCU.

Read More

Alumni Updates

Cameron Heon '20

Completed a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and is heading to graduate school

Read More


David Bibee '13

David completed his Master of Divinity at Princeton and is Pursuing Ordination as a Presbyterian Minister.

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