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2016 Spring Reception

The Religious Studies Department gathered in Adobe Lodge for the Annual Spring reception on Thursday May 26th. It was an enjoyable opportunity to reflect on the academic year that was about to close and celebrate the achievements of our graduating majors and minors.

David Gray, serving as MC, welcomed all of the participants, and Teresia Hinga provided a beautiful invocation. After enjoying a delicious Italian-themed dinner, we welcomed to the new members of Theta Alpha Kappa, presented awards, and honored our graduating majors and minors. Among the graduating seniors, Lucille Duran, Katherine Enos, Kelsey Figone, and London Knight were admitted to Theta Alpha Kappa; among non-graduating students, those admitted to Theta Alpha Kappa included: Kathryn Burke, Meghan Carlsen, Brittany Cheung, Julie Dinh, Taylor Ferdinandsen, Jessica Frydenberg, Jennifer Gleitsmann, Nicole Nasser, and Deanna Smith. Julie Dinh was then awarded the Catherine Bell Award, and Jenna Lipman the Joseph A. Grassi Social Justic Award. The Theodore Mackin, SJ Award for the best senior paper went to Bev Olivo, and the Tennant C. Wright, SJ Award for Outstanding RS Minor was awarded to Katherine Enos and Sophia Lyon. The Religious Study Prize for the Academically Outstanding RS Major was awarded to Gus Hardy.

2016 Spring Awards
There were two highlights to the evening, Thao Nguyen, S.J.’s talk on comparative theology and our student speakers. Regarding the former, Thao Nguyen first introduced us to his work in the field of comparative theology, looking at Catholicism and Buddhism as practiced in Vietnam, and introducing to his comparison of the Virgin Mary and the Buddhist bodhisattva Guanyin. He then discussed comparative theology in action, relating how he helped facilitate interreligious understanding when his sister, a Catholic, married a man from a Buddhist family. His effort included setting up an interreligious Catholic-Buddhist wedding ceremony.

The other highlight was the reflections of the graduating majors and minors, who spoke of their experiences in the department. They thanked faculty who they found particularly inspiring and spoke of their intellectual and spiritual growth as they made the transition from new students to seniors on the verge of graduation. As always, their reflections were very moving for everyone attending the reception.