Leah Gunning Francis, Ph.D., joined Matteo Ricci College faculty and students on February 23rd. She is the Dean of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. She authored her first book, Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community, while on faculty at Eden Seminary in St. Louis. Ferguson and Faith tells the stories of St. Louis area activists and clergy who engaged in the protests following the shooting death of Michael Brown. Dr. Francis calls her audience to recognize that “being called to lead a faithful life can take us to places we never expected to go, with people who never expected us to join hands with them.” Following her presentation, Dr. Francis met with Dr. Park-Hearn’s HUMT 3020 section for a more informal conversation around Ferguson and Faith.
After graduation with a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and theology, Senator Saldaña began to work for the Oregon farm worker union. This experience set her on a path of advocacy and social justice work. When I asked Senator Saldaña about how her Humanities education has influenced her activism and professional work, she explained that she has relied on the cross-pollination of history, language, politics, and identity. “[An] interdisciplinary approach requires thinking about [the human experience] from different perspectives.
She says her Jesuit education, which stresses sympathetically listening to different viewpoints, has led her to always look for a “win-win” within her work. One of the central themes in her career has been to focus on the question, “how do we improve economic policies that benefit historically low wage workers and women?” She spoke of the “Sectors of Care work”—initially performed by enslaved people and women and which has been historically undervalued and made invisible within our society. In the Senate, she asks how will our generation manifest our values by making sure job opportunities and other social goods are available to everyone in society, including those who do the necessary work of caring for the vulnerable.
Matteo Ricci College formed its first Student Advisory Committee in Winter Quarter. The members are Nakiya Baker, Jon Cantalini, Jonathan Choe, Harrison Feain, Mirella Galang, Nic Garcia, Daria Karraby, April Rhodes, and Sophia Xiques. The SAC meets with the dean and associate dean at least three times per quarter and provides a voice for
students in the decision-making processes of the College. In Winter Quarter, SAC members consulted with Dr. Kidder and Dr. Washburn about budget reductions, curriculum changes, and other items of importance to students.
Dance Marathon took place on Saturday, February 18th with three MRC students on the Steering Committee and many more participating. Congratulations to the students for raising $148,210 which will go toward Seattle Children’s Hospital and Strong Against Cancer.