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The Graduate Theological Union is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Cecilia González-Andrieu (PhD, ’07) as the GTU’s 2020 Alumna of the Year. Dr. González-Andrieu is a professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University, one of the leading scholars of theological aesthetics, and an advocate for issues of Latinx Theology, immigration, and educational justice.
“I am proud to honor Dr. González-Andrieu as Alumna of the Year,” said Dr. Uriah Kim, President of the GTU. “As a leader in her field, a rigorous thinker, and a tireless activist and advocate, she truly embodies the best of the GTU community.”
Upon receiving news of her selection, Dr. González-Andrieu wrote, “If this recognition helps other Latinas to keep going through long hours of study, demanding schedules and multiple obstacles, by knowing that their voice matters, then, it will be a good thing. I am grateful that through this honor the GTU is honoring my teachers, my classmates and those women who will come after me to help us heal our world.”
At the GTU, Dr. González-Andrieu was the first to combine the studies of systematic theology with religion and the arts. She proposes that theological aesthetics are 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. Her writing — which has received awards from the Catholic Press Association — includes Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty, co-editing Teaching Global Theologies: Power and Praxis, and contributing to many other books and international journals, including Go Into the Streets: The Welcoming Church of Pope Francis and the forthcoming Miradas a todo color: Teologías feministas contextuales ibero-americanas.
In addition to teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level, Dr. González-Andrieu also leads the work with undocumented students and vulnerable worker communities at LMU and co-chairs the LMU Latino Theology and Ministry Initiative. She is a member of the board and active supporter of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, alumna of the Hispanic Theological Initiative, Princeton.
“My life at the GTU prepared and formed me for my work after graduation,” Dr. González-Andrieu said. “First, of course was the extraordinary and challenging learning, which made me comfortable with the feeling that the more I learned the more I realized I knew very little. This humility is necessary for any scholar, it keeps us curious, open and engaged. Second, was the experiences as a teaching assistant and academic advisor, which allowed my faculty mentors to steer me into the practical realities of grading, helping students and course dynamics. Third, was the opportunity to serve, on campus committees and conferences, in the local parish, and on social justice initiatives.”
She says some of her most cherished memories from her time on Holy Hill are of those with her teachers and mentors who are no longer with us, including Alex García-Rivera, Doug Adams, Jane Daggett Dillenberger, and Timothy Lull.
“The GTU is a beautiful place with a vision for what a world looks like when it is committed to the common good,” Dr. González-Andrieu said, “but it is this because it is made up of extraordinary people who give it life.”
As part of the GTU’s Spiritual Care and Ethical Leadership for Our Times initiative, Dr. González-Andrieu shared written and video reflections on her work navigating the frontlines of 2020 and the changes this year has brought, in particular with respect to the immigrant community.