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Department ofReligious Studies


Religious Studies Reception 2024

Religious Studies majors, minors, faculty, and staff gathered at the Adobe Lodge.

On May 22, 2024, Religious Studies majors, minors, faculty, and staff gathered together at the Adobe Lodge, for the RS Reception, our big event of the year. Everybody enjoyed having the opportunity to see each other and celebrate the achievements of RS graduating students and honor society inductees.

RS faculty and students in the Adobe Lodge

Daniel Morgan served as our Master of Ceremonies and was skillfully assisted in this by his daughter, Uma. He welcomed everyone and introduced Karen Peterson-Iyer, who began the program with a moving invocation. After that, everyone had a delicious southwest buffet dinner.

Then students receiving awards were acknowledged. New members of Theta Alpha Kappa honor society were announced and received certificates, and graduating seniors who are TAK members were given honor cords to wear at commencement. After that, department student awards were presented, including the RS Prize, Tennant Wright Award, Bell Award, Grassi Award, and Mackin Award.

The conferral of the awards was followed by the featured faculty speaker of the evening, the newly tenured and promoted Professor Roberto Mata. He wove an engaging narrative, relating his life and intellectual journey, from an undocumented agricultural worker in Bakersfield, California to a professor at Santa Clara University. He described his challenging years in high school in which he struggled to graduate, his unlikely but ultimately successful transition to college, in which he discovered his vocation of Biblical Studies, and his acceptance to Harvard Divinity School, where he mastered the skills of his vocation.

Finally, at the conclusion of the reception graduating seniors were invited to speak, and they talked about their experiences as students of the RS Department, noting the classes and teachers who inspired them to pursue Religious Studies beyond the core requirement. Many thanks went out to the faculty who inspired them, including stories about what made being an RS major or minor such a rewarding time at SCU. We concluded with words of gratitude for Vicky, our wonderful department manager. Thanks are also due to Professor Haruka Umetsu Cho, who volunteered to serve as our photographer for the evening.

RS Awards: Religious Studies Major Prize: Laura Clark
Tennant C. Wright SJ Outstanding Religious Studies Minor: Marie Jordaan
Theodore Mackin Senior Thesis Award: Blaise Burbank
Catherine Bell Award: Grace Urbinato
Joseph A. Grassi Social Justice Award: Daniel Martinez

2024-25 Theta Alpha Kappa Inductees:
Blaise Burbank
Laura Clark
Cecilia Grassi
Marie Jordaan
Daniel Martinez
Julia Quiroz
Clifford Stocks
Borina Sutikto
Jose Wray
Libby Slater
Grace Urbinato

Note: Libby Slater and Grace Urbinato are Juniors - the rest of the TAK members are Seniors.

Students with their awards in the Adobe Lodge(Pictured L-R) Laura Clark, Blaise Burbank, Marie Jordaan, Daniel Martinez

Roberto Mata, Ana Maria Pineda, Paul Schutz(Pictured L-R) Roberto Mata, Ana Maria Pineda, RSM, and Paul Schutz

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