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May 2024

Photo of the 45 students in JST's Class of 2024

Photo of the 45 students in JST's Class of 2024

JST-SCU Commencement 2024—A Graduating Class "En Camino"

Build bridges across cultures, speaker urges new theologians.

BERKELEY, Calif., May 18, 2024—The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University (JST-SCU) today celebrated its commencement, with the graduate school’s newly minted theologians encouraged to build bridges across cultures as a way of reconciling our fractured world. 

At the afternoon ceremony at All Souls Episcopal Parish in Berkeley, the honorary degree recipient—renowned theologian María Pilar Aquino, S.T.D.—spoke about the power of an embodied theology to bring people together.

Photo of JST Commencement Speaker Maria Pilar Aquino at podium

In her address, Aquino focused on the importance of intercultural dialogue, referring to interculturality as “un camino,” a way of crossing borders and building bridges for “a more just and peaceful world, so that a reconciled humanity and creation can be actualized.” She called upon the graduating class to embody "convivencia," a way of being in the world that promotes and strengthens relationships of reciprocal dignity and equity.

Aquino celebrated the “cosmopolitan features” of JST-SCU, calling attention to its global reach and sense of hospitality. She also praised the contextual approach to ministry and theology that characterizes JST-SCU. 

Aquino encouraged the graduating Class of 2024 to go out into the world to connect paths leading to solidarity and intercultural dialogue. "Graced by the presence of the Holy Spirit who renews the face of the earth, let’s continue proclaiming together, in the creative interaction of diverse cultures and languages, the mighty acts of God in our midst,” she said in closing her remarks.

About the Speaker

Born in Ixtlán del Río, Nayarit, México, Aquino grew up in Sonora, along the Mexico-United States border, and was educated in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru and Spain. She served as co-founder and first woman president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States, and helped develop an epistemology and method for engaging in theology from a Latina feminist perspective. Former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, she is internationally renowned for her pioneering work in Latin American and U.S. Latina feminist theologies of liberation. Her other primary contributions have been in the fields of social ethics, and feminist theologies. 

A strong believer and practitioner of “teología de conjunto”—theology as a community—her work has brought to the fore theological reflection produced by numerous Latin American women theologians—many of whom did not have doctorates and whose work was often ignored previously.

The first woman to earn a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical University of Salamanca, Aquino also holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Helsinki. 

She has served on the faculty of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego and as a visiting professor there and at the Universidad Iberoamericana of Mexico City and the Divinity School of Harvard University. Now retired, she continues to serve on national and international editorial boards of prominent theological journals. 

Honors Awarded to Graduates

Among the students who received membership awards from Alpha Sigma Nu, the honor society of Jesuit Colleges and universities, were Lisa Calvez, F.M.V.D., M.Div., S.T.B.; Lawrence Ryen Dwyer, S.J., M.Div.; and Anne Hayes, M.Div.

Forty-five students received 58 degrees from JST-SCU, including 11 students receiving Master of Divinity (M.Div.); 14 Master of Theology Studies (M.T.S.); 12 Master of Theology (Th.M.); two Master of Arts (M.A.); four Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.); 11 Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) and three Doctor of Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) degrees. 

The invocation was conducted by graduating student Joanna Elvis, M.Div., S.T.B., and the benediction was conducted by graduating student Daniel Everson, S.J., M.Div. The student speaker was Fabio Colorado, S.T.L., Th.M.

About the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, located in Berkeley, California, is a preeminent international center for the culturally contextualized study of theology. Its mission is to inspire and prepare men and women to become leaders in the Church, academy, and society, serving others through a faith that does justice. Rooted in the Catholic and Ignatian tradition, JST-SCU educates and trains Jesuits, religious, ordained, and lay students from across the United States and from 40 other countries for lives dedicated to ministry and scholarship.

About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Ranked among the top 15 percent of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education.  For more information see 

Media Contact
Preston Carmack | JST External Relations | | 541-908-1696



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