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ST. JUNIPERO SERRA: THROUGH COLLABORATION and CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE, the UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO HONORS BOTH CATHOLIC HERITAGE and LEGACY of

San Diego, CA – In an effort to demonstrate inclusive excellence, the University of San Diego announced today plans to renameSerra Hall to Saints Tekakwitha and Serra Hall. The university will also rename the Mission Crossroads building to  Mata'yuum which means “gathering place” in the language of the Kumeyaay Nation.

 

In a campus wide announcement, USD President James T. Harris III, said, “It is hoped that by placing these two Catholic saints together, we will recognize that indigenous peoples preceded the Catholic missionaries who settled here. It is also meant to encourage continued dialogue on the important topics of colonialization, the spread of the Catholic faith and the impact both had on Native American populations.”

The renaming of the Mission Crossroads building honors USD's location in the traditional territory of the Kumeyaay Nation and supports our ongoing tribal initiatives that seek to create a more inclusive campus, while building relationships with local tribal nations.

“On our campus,” said Harris, “we have been engaging in dialogue for many years about how we acknowledge the history and legacy of the local indigenous tribes, and recognize that our beautiful campus is built on their homelands. We also had numerous debates and conversations about the history and legacy of Saint Junipero Serra who was canonized by Pope Francis four years ago. The friction between these two dialogues is not easily reconciled, yet our university mission and vision requires us to lean into these discussions with open minds and compassionate hearts.”

The name changes, approved by the USD Board of Trustees, will be made during the Fall 2019 semester under the guidance of a task force. Plans include ceremonies and academic symposia.

  • Saints Tekakwitha and Serra Hall - Serra Hall will be renamed Saints Tekakwitha and Serra Hall in honor of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American Catholic saint and St. Junipero Serra. Pope Francis’s message earlier this week inspired by the 2018 Synod on Young People refers to the influence of young saints, including St. Kateri Tekakwitha, who “allowed the features of youth to shine forth in all their beauty, and in their day they have been real prophets of change.” It is hoped that by placing these two Catholic saints together, we will recognize that indigenous peoples preceded the Catholic missionaries who settled here. It is also meant to encourage continued dialogue on the important topics of colonialization, the spread of the Catholic faith and the impact both had on Native American populations.
  • Mata'yuum - The Mission Crossroads facility will be renamed Mata'yuum, which means "gathering place" in Kumeyaay. The renaming honors USD's location in the traditional territory of the Kumeyaay Nation and supports our ongoing tribal initiatives that seek to create a more inclusive campus, while building relationships with local tribal nations. It also builds upon the partnerships we have developed with a number of Kumeyaay nations including the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, Barona Band of Mission Indians, and Jamul Indian Village.

In addition, USD will permanently honor two beloved Catholic figures and campus visitors. Plaza Mayor will be renamed in honor of St. Teresa of Calcutta, and Plaza Menor will be renamed to honor Francis Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận, the Vietnamese Cardinal and social justice advocate that Pope Francis named as Venerable in 2017. Recognizing them takes important steps toward strengthening our ties to Tijuana and the work of the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa in that community. It also acknowledges the significant Vietnamese Catholic community located in Linda Vista and throughout San Diego. In honor of these two holy people, who literally walked among us on this campus, the Plazas Mayor and Menor in front of the Student Life Pavilion will be renamed for them next fall. An appropriate date and time for the official renaming of these gathering spaces will be determined at a later date.

On Wednesday, April 17, the Canadian Feast Day of St. Tekakwitha, the USD community will gather for Mass at noon followed by a brief campus gathering on the Plaza de Colachis to celebrate these changes to our campus.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.

Contact:

Pamela Gray Payton
pgray@sandiego.edu
6192604681