Large-Scale Breakout Sessions

Saturday, 11/4, 8:20-9:10 PM

Panel Topic: Racial Justice

Maureen O’Connell, Ph.D.

Associate professor and chair of the Department of Religion, La Salle University

After eight years in the Theology Department at Fordham University, Maureen H. O’Connell returned in 2013 to her native city of Philadelphia to Chair the Department of Religion at LaSalle University where she is also an Associate Professor of Christian Ethics. She holds a BA in History from Saint Joseph’s University and a PhD in Theological Ethics from Boston College. She authored Compassion: Loving Our Neighbor in an Age of Globalization (Orbis Books, 2009) and If These Walls Could Talk: Community Muralism and the Beauty of Justice (The Liturgical Press, 2012), which won the College Theology Book of the Year Award in 2012 and the Catholic Press Association’s first place for books in theology in 2012. Her current research project explores racial identity formation, racism, and racial justice in Catholic institutions of higher education. She serves on the board of the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies and is a member of St. Vicent De Paul parish in Germantown, where is also a member of POWER (Philadelphians Organizing to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild). POWER is an interfaith federation of 90-faith communities committed to making Philadelphia the city of “just love” (as well as “brotherly love and sisterly affection”) through a more just wage for workers, fair funding for public schools, immigration reform and decarceration.

Cecilia Gonzalez-Andrieu, Ph.D.

Cecilia González Andreiu, Ph.D.

Faculty, Loyola Marymount

Theologian Cecilia González-Andrieu returned to her alma mater LMU after completing the doctorate at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, where she was the first to combine the studies of systematic theology with religion and the arts.

González -Andrieu is one of the leading scholars of theological aesthetics, which she proposes as a way to bring communities together, respect and celebrate otherness, and lift the theological insights of those who know and express themselves in ways beyond the textual.

She has been recognized with awards for her writing by the Catholic Press Association, and singled out as one of the most promising theologians of the next generation by America Magazine. Her book Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty has received international acclaim and praise for its ability “to link art’s power to move beyond the discursive, cognitive and propositional to a theology grounded in an experience that opens the imagination and moves one to encounter ‘God in all things’” (The Pneuma Review). Gonzalez-Andrieu is also active on research and advocacy for issues of Latino/a Theology, immigration and educational justice.

Other recent publications include co-editor of Teaching Global Theologies: Power and Praxis, and contributor to Go Into the Streets: The Welcoming Church of Pope Francis, along with key articles for The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and the Arts and The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States. She co-chaired the National Symposium on Hispanic Ministry (2014), and contributed the opening reflection to the Journal of Catholic Education special issue on “Latinos/as, education and the Church,” (2016).

González -Andrieu teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs of LMU’s Department of Theological Studies, co-chairs the LMU Latino Theology and Ministry Initiative, is a member of the Theological Commission of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and active on several ecumenical and interreligious projects including CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) and SARTS (the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies. She is an active mentor and alumna of the Hispanic Theological Initiative, Princeton and co-founder of LMU’s Viernes por la tarde Latino issues working group and mentors the Social Justice Scholars community.

Mary J. Wardell-Ghirarduzzi, Ph.D.

Vice Provost for Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach

Dr. Mary Wardell-Ghirarduzzi brings passion for creating more equitable, inclusive and caring campus climate and culture for all. She is an executive leader skilled at building organizational capacity through strategic initiatives with over 20 years experience in California higher education in academic affairs, student life, community engagement, and diversity and inclusion. Currently she is the Vice Provost for Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach and an associate professor of organizations, communication and leadership at the University of San Francisco. Mary leverages the university’s mission and commitment to social justice, equity and inclusion to strengthen the campus for students, faculty and staff and expands the university’s community engagement, particularly for multicultural and marginalized communities. She has been a leader in developing a creative framework for how the university’s mission can be more fully realized as part of the community it resides within; for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. Mary has created strategic new initiatives including: Diversity Scholar & Visiting Professor, Diverse Workforce Initiative, Stakeholder Community Forums (such as Latinas in Leadership), the Diversity Talks series, and diversity intensives (And Still We Rise, Allies in the Academy, and the USF Staff Diversity Intensive) for greater intercultural and interpersonal understanding. These activities promote more inclusive practices within USF and beyond. In 2014, Mary was appointed by Mayor Edwin M. Lee to serve San Francisco citizens as a Library Commissioner for the San Francisco Public Library. Dr. Wardell-Ghirarduzzi was recently awarded the San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s Hero Award and listed in Diversity MBA Magazine’s Top 100 Under 50 Executive Leaders. Prior to leading diversity and community initiatives at USF, Mary served as the USF Associate Vice President and Dean of Students leading and supporting campus-wide student services, including behavioral intervention and crisis response. Prior to Jesuit Catholic education, she was the Dean of Student Affairs at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, CA and the Assistant Dean of Students at the California State University, San Marcos, CA. She enjoys the arts and lives in San Francisco with her husband.

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