Dallavalleis to direct Fairfield U’s Studies center

FAIRFIELD—Nancy Dallavalle, PhD, associate professor of religious studies, has hit the ground running in her new role as director of Fairfield University’s Center for Catholic Studies. Dr. Dallavalle holds a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame, has published in academic journals and the popular press, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Catholic Theological Society of America. Her appointment follows the retirement of Professor Paul Lakeland, PhD, the Center’s founding director, who served in the role for 19 years.

Energized by the Center’s mission to bring academic scholarship to a public conversation, Dr. Dallavalle plans a focus for the Center that “unpacks how Catholicism in the U.S. is lived today. Religious practice is changing rapidly, as are many social patterns and norms,” she observed, adding that, for Catholics, these practices are impacted by the U.S. Church’s current somewhat polarized climate, which “reflects the tensions of our national dialogue.”

Nevertheless, “The Catholic Church in the United States continues to be a place where the gospel speaks; a place of dialogue about the dignity of the human person, a place of sustained care for immigrants, the imprisoned and the poor; and a place where the sacraments are celebrated in parish communities across the U.S.”

Under the direction of Dr. Dallavalle, the Center for Catholic Studies will bring scholarship on the Catholic tradition ever deeper into the academic programming of Fairfield University — through a revitalized program to offer students a minor in Catholic studies, and the ongoing Presidential Seminar in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

The Center will also continue to offer thoughtful reflection on Catholic life and practice to both the on-campus community and Catholics throughout the Fairfield County region through the continuation of a series of free, open-to-the-public lectures, also available via livestream.

Fall 2023 Catholic Studies Lectures:

● Oct. 4 | 5 p.m. | BCC Dogwood Room: Meghan Clark, PhD, will deliver the annual O’Callaghan Lecture on Women in the Church, on constructing an ethic of “local listening” to advance the full agency of women in Catholic social teaching.

● Oct. 25 | 5:30 p.m. | BCC Dogwood Room: Hosffman Ospino, PhD, will speak on “The American Catholic Experience”– which continues to be renewed and redefined by cultural and racial/ethnic pluralism.

● Nov. 15 | 5 p.m. | DSB Event Hall: Maureen O’Connell, PhD, and Becky McIntyre, a community artist, will present “Young Adults, the Global Synod and the Arts,” reporting on their deep and creative engagement with the ongoing Synod on Synodality.