to the
GTU's Class of 2020

scroll down
for more

The Graduate Theological Union honors thirty-one graduates at its virtual 2020 Commencement Exercises



Dr. Susan Aguilar, graduate of the PhD program in History, shares these reflections – “Lech Lecha: Journeys and the GTU.”

Greetings and Announcements

Dr. Uriah Kim, Interim President and Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs, offers welcome remarks.

President Kim is also pleased to announce the recipient of the 2020 GTU Excellence in Teaching Award — Dr. Rebecca Esterson. 

Read the full story here. 

Play Video
Play Video

Remarks by Faculty Member

Dr. Michael Dodds, OP, professor of Philosophy and Theology at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, offers remarks entitled “The Truth about GTU.” 

Read More about the Speaker and Read the Remarks Here.

Conferral of Degrees

The Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Arts graduates represented below have successfully completed rigorous programs of study.

Our Doctor of Philosophy graduates have completed disciplined original research and examination for the highest degree the academy can offer. With the Ph.D., they join the esteemed ranks of centuries of scholars and thinkers who have committed their lives to the learned profession; along with its rights and privileges, the Ph.D. carries with it responsibilities: a commitment to learning; to the pursuit, profession, and transmission of truth, and to the advancement of human civilization.

On the recommendation of the Core Doctoral Faculty, Dean and President who have certified that the candidates have completed all of the requirements for graduation and by the authority vested in the Board of Trustees of the Graduate Theological Union and the State of California, the following candidates have been conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Arts, with all of the rights and privileges appertaining thereto.

We invite visitors to click on the photographs of our graduates below to review the graduate’s abstract, committee information, reflections moving forward and a faculty tribute. 

Master of Arts

Renato Paolo Villareal Aguila
Paschal Mystery, Communion, and Ecology: Towards a Deep Eucharistic Theology
Saad Akbar
Ideas Have Consequences: The Difference of Adler's Ideas and the Difference It Makes to Muslim Ideals
Elizabeth (Aya) Baron
Black Fire on White Fire: The Amplification of Women’s Roles in Rabbinic Accounts of Redemption
Brianna Noelle Deutsch
Barriletes Gigantes in Guatemala: Kites as a Communication with the Past and Future ​
Warren Gilchrist (Siddique Abdullah)
Forgotten Roots: The Early History of Islam in America Debunking the Myth of the Foreign Religion ​
Brian Johnson
Rumi as Philosopher: Love, Pain and Virtue in the Masnavi
Victoria Price
Theology vs. Praxis of Sevā in the Ramakrishna Mission and Mata Amritanandamayi Math
Joseph Schuman
Arising, Ceasing: Hegemonic Masculinity, Complicated Grief, and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy
Huzaifa Shahbaz
Islamophobia, White Supremacy, and the Far-Right
Edward J. Stewart
One Body, Many Members: A Case for Greater Diversity within the Body of Christ
Bran Stigile-Wright
Stories in Transition: American Evangelicalism, Heathenry, and Narrativizing Trans Identities
Ryoze Wada
Public and Private Aspects of Seikaku: Tendai Preacher and Pure Land Buddhist

Masters of Arts in Biblical Languages

Albert Douglas Honegan
Biblical Hebrew (Primary) Biblical Greek (Secondary) Spanish (Modern Language) French (Modern Language) ​
Kyoungdeuk Min
Biblical Hebrew (Primary) Biblical Greek (Secondary) English (Modern Language) ​

Doctor of Philosophy

Susan L. Aguilar
To See and Be Seen: Jews, Civitas, and Urban Processions in the Late Medieval Crown of Aragon​
Kamal Akram Abu-Shamsieh
Interdisciplinary Studies
End-of-Life Care and Islamic Practical Theology – A Case Study: The Dying Experience of Prophet Muhammad​
Elaine Elizabeth Belz
Art and Religion
Is It Art? Looking at ‘Ruin Porn’ through the Lens of Theological Aesthetics​
Lindsey Grace Dean
Interdisciplinary Studies
Mapping Meaning: The Role of the Humanities in the Modern Cosmic Imaginary​
Hannah Pheasant Faustino
Interdisciplinary Studies
Decolonizing the Digital Sphere​
Jennifer Fernandez
Theology and Ethics
Theology of Bread and Roses: A Feminist Relational Theology Embracing Women’s Social Movements as Divine In-Breaking​
Hamza Yusuf Hanson
Interdisciplinary Studies
The Normative Islamic Tradition in North and West Africa: A Case Study of Transmission of Authority and Distillation of Knowledge in Ibn 'Ashir's Al-Murshid al-mu'in (The Helpful Guide)​
Sukhun Huh
Systematic and Philosophical Theology
A Theology of the Event: A Dialectical Understanding of the Collective Event in Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Alain Badiou​
Yong Yeon Hwang
Interdisciplinary Studies
A Theological Criticism of South Korea's National Narratives through Re-reading Korean Minjung Theology from a Postcolonial Perspective​
Yohana Agra Junker
Art and Religion
Unsettling the Landscape: Representation, Appropriation, and Indigenous Aesthetics in the Land Art of the American Southwest​
Sungrae Kim
Interdisciplinary Studies
Harmonious Peace and Just Peace: The Prospects of a Confucian-Christian Dialogue Toward Interreligious Peacebuilding in East Asia​
Justin Rock Lipscomb
Interdisciplinary Studies
Philosophy as Dissent: On the Possibility of Disenclosure from the “Erotics of Domination” in the Western Philosophical Tradition​
Nathan Jishin Michon
Historical and Cultural Studies of Religions
Awakening to Care: The Formation of Contemporary Japanese Buddhist Chaplaincy​
Mauricio Najarro
Christian Spirituality
Towards a Christian Spirituality of Radical Hope: Reading, Writing, And Translating in Simone Weil and Michel de Certeau​
Pasesa Sapolu
Biblical Studies
Reconciling Identities: Social Identity, Hybridity, and Leadership in the Nehemiah Memoir​
Maria Cecilia Titizano La Fuente
Systematic and Philosophical Theology
The Divine Feminine in the Andes: A Comparative Triadic Theology from an Indigenous Feminist Perspective​
Andrew Younan
Theology and Ethics
Matter, Mathematics, and the Mind of God: Essentialism, Laws of Nature, and the Fifth Way of St. Thomas Aquinas​
Play Video

Remarks by Graduate

Dr. Yohana Junker, Faculty Associate in Theology, Spirituality, and the Arts at the Pacific School of Religion, (PhD, Art and Religion) offers remarks entitled “Entre a Sombra e o Sonho: Reflections on What We Must Re-Member.”

Read More about the Speaker and Read the Remarks Here


Albert D. Honegan, (MA, Biblical Languages), offers the following benediction to bless the GTU 2020 Commencement exercises with a series of images from the GTU member schools accompanied by a reading of scriptures from the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and the Qur’an. Albert shares the following: “In honoring the GTU’s commitment to inter-religious harmony, these scriptures celebrate divinity in three distinct traditions to bless today’s ceremony in an interfaith way. The first three scenes include four verses from Psalm 118 in the original biblical Hebrew that encourages us to give thanks to God and rejoice. The next five scenes of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in various languages may comfort us during this time of major global crisis and transformation. The final three scenes feature Al-Fatiha that opens in the Qur’an (in Arabic) in the name of Allah. I hope that these sacred scriptures and images of our campuses will bless us as we come together as a community, over this distance, together in spirit.” 

Play Video

to the
GTU's Class of 2020