Department ofReligious Studies


Alumnus Update from Mitch Finley '73

When I graduated from Santa Clara in May of 1973, with a major in Religious Studies, I was so proud of what I had accomplished. Four years earlier, fresh from four years in the U.S. Navy, my high school grades had been so poor that I had to get presidential permission to be accepted by Santa Clara. God bless Father Thomas Terry, S.J. for giving me a chance! I didn't graduate with honors, but I came darn close.

After a year off, I moved to Marquette University, where in 1976 I received an M.A. in Theology. Subsequent years saw me directing parish religious education programs and later a diocesan family ministry office. All along, however, I had a hankering to write, and in 1981—now married with three sons to raise—I began working full time as a freelance writer for many national level Catholic magazines and newspapers, including several articles that appeared in America, the Jesuit weekly magazine. Along the way, I also wrote for Santa Clara Magazine as the late Peg Major was getting it off the ground, and in recent years my work has appeared there again.

Eventually, I began to write books, and today I have more than 30 volumes to my credit, almost all written on Catholic themes: call it all popular theology, I suppose. Regardless, I have Santa Clara in general, and the Religious Studies Department specifically, to thank for giving me the foundation I needed to attain any success I've had as a writer. Along the way, my work received numerous awards from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada and various other press and writers' organizations, including an Excellence in Writing award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. More recently, my wife Kathy Finley and I were invited to participate in a panel presentation in late September of 2015, in Philadelphia, at the World Meeting of Families—where Pope Francis will be in attendance, too.

To this day, I'm still so proud to be a Santa Clara alum. Thank you, Santa Clara University.

religious studies
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