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Memorial Tribute
Dr. Alex Garcia-Rivera

died: 2010


Dr. García-Rivera joined the faculty of the Jesuit School of Theology in 1993 as a professor of systematic theology with a special emphasis on grace in the human person and Latino/Hispanic theology. Originally trained in physics, his scholarship as a theologian bridged the disciplines of science and religion and he was a crucial collaborator between the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and the Santa Clara University Center for Science, Technology and Society. In recent years, he became one of the leading voices in the United States in the field of theological aesthetics, among the most innovative thinkers writing in this field today. He offered a series of very popular courses such as Suffering and the Human Person, Theological Aesthetics and Creation in an Evolutionary World.

Alex was beloved as a teacher at the JST's Instituto Hispano summer training institute for Hispanic ministry, as well as at his home parish, St. Leander's, where he led a weekly Bible study. He was remarkable in his ability to work both with people "en la base" as well as those in the academy. Originally from Cuba, Dr. García-Rivera was one of the founders and most important voices in the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS). An important commentator and friendly critic of liberation theology, he was deeply respected in Latin America as well as in the United States. He made a unique contribution to this field by directing a significant number of doctoral dissertations by Latino and especially Latina theologians.

Dr. García-Rivera won several awards for his writings, which include spiritual essays in publications such as U. S. Catholic and Momento Catolico and scholarly works such as St. Martin de Porres: The Little Stories, The Semiotics of Culture; The Community of the Beautiful: A Theological Aesthetics; A Wounded Innocence: Sketches for a Theology of Art; Living Beauty: A Liturgical Aesthetics; and The Garden of God: A Theological Cosmology. His most recent book, Encounters of Faith: Art and Devotion in Latin America, co-edited with Dr. Mia Mochizuki, was published in November, 2010. Earlier this year, Alejandro received the GTU's highest honor presented to a teacher, the Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award, as well as a Santa Clara University President's Special Recognition Award.

Perhaps most impressive was Dr. García-Rivera's service to the theological academy, his service to the GTU and JST, and above all, his direct contributions to the integration of JST and SCU. Over the last four years he convened or co-convened no fewer than three interdisciplinary conferences: Encounters of Faith: Art and Devotion in Viceregal Latin America (Symposium and Exhibition, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, 2006); Beauty: the Color of Truth (International Theological Aesthetics Conference, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, 2008); Pierre Teilhard de Chardin for a New Generation (Santa Clara University, November 2010). Alex was one of the founders of a joint JST-SCU colloquium on science, art and religion with colleagues from JST, the SCU School of Engineering, and the SCU College of Arts and Sciences. In addition, he was the one who generated the initial idea for the Teilhard de Chardin conference held at SCU this past November.



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