A Bittersweet Religious Studies Spring 2021 Reception
Students and faculty give their thanks and say their goodbyes.
For the second year in a row, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Religious Studies community gathered virtually via Zoom for our annual reception. 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 the participants, and Cathleen Chopra-McGowan provided a moving invocation. This was followed by Pearl Barros’ talk, on the theme of “Perfectly Imperfect: The Power of Vulnerability.” In the talk, Pearl Barros reflected on her transition from SCU student to graduate student at Harvard Divinity School, and the challenges that she had to work through to make the transition from student to scholar and teacher.
Following the talk, we moved on to welcoming the new members of Theta Alpha Kappa and then presented the awards. We then honored our graduating majors and minors. We concluded, or so it seemed at the time, by turning over the microphone to our 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.
However, this was not the end of the reception. When the last student had spoken, and David Gray was asking if anyone else wanted to speak, Boo Riley “zoom-bombed” the reception, with a secretly planned final item for the reception, namely the recognition of David Gray’s six years of service as department chair. During this period four faculty members (Boo Riley, Daniel Morgan, Jim Bennett and Sarita Tamayo-Moraga]and one student (Kelby Uebelhor) spoke on the impact David Gray had on the department as well as on them personally.