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June O'Connor is Recipient of the Distinguished Campus Service Award


By Karen Wong, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

Professor June O'Connor

June O’Connor, Professor and Chair of the Religious Studies Department, was one of the two 2006 UCR Distinguished Campus Service Award Recipients. O’Connor’s contributions throughout the years have led to the great advancements in the university.

Having served as a faculty member at UCR since 1973, O’Connor has played a leading role in the development of Religious Studies as an academic unit through her initiatives of demonstrating the intellectual and curricular importance of the discipline to administrative staff and both on and off-campus constituencies. Through her efforts, Religious Studies has expanded from a program to a department that has grown beyond being an undergraduate major to one offering graduate degrees. With her belief that “educated persons informed about the many religious worldviews that constitute our global village are well-positioned to initiate conversations about religion that encourage people to discover,” O’Connor continues to contribute to the department, including fundraising annually to establish merit scholarships for students and creating guest speaker opportunities on campus.

O’Connor also greatly contributed to obtaining a $150,000 endowment for the Holstein Family and Community Chair in Religious Studies established in 1993, the first endowed chair in the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. In addition, O’Connor has been serving on and chairing the Senate Committee on Academic Personnel. Gaining much inspiration from this commitment, O’Connor states, “It has been a privilege to review the work of faculty across campus and to articulate admiration and appreciation for their impressive research, teaching, and service.”

Having served as the director of the University Honors Program, O’Connor finds gratification in making presentations to Honors students and prospective UCR students. She embodies a passion for assisting students with their learning experience and “enabling them to discover alternative ways of seeing things and discovering useful strategies for discerning and deciding ethical dilemmas.” With a strong emphasis in the importance of initiative in learning, O’Connor aims to open doors for students and to encourage them to take initiatives in learning at UCR and throughout their lives.

O’Connor is currently working on a project titled “How Can I Live With What Happened?”: The Moral Challenge of Life after Torture, based on interpreting human rights atrocities. She is also working on a paper focusing on ethical practices related to religion and globalization, which is entitled Crossing Borders: The Globalization of Religions.

 


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