Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Rising Star Recipient
Kathleen Garces-Foley is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Marymount University, where she has been a faculty member since 2006. Her scholarship focuses on contemporary religious trends in the United States.
She has received numerous grants to study multiethnic/multicultural churches, which are the topic of her book, Crossing the Ethnic Divide: The Multiethnic Church on a Mission (Oxford University Press, 2007). Her current book project is a comparison of Catholic and Protestant efforts to create multicultural churches. Since 2010, Dr. Garces-Foley has been studying young adult engagement in congregational life as co-investigator of The Changing Spirituality of Emerging Adults Project funded by the Lilly Endowment.
Internationally known for her research on funerals and the modern hospice movement, she was invited to the University of Victoria to deliver a Lansdowne Lecture on American funeral trends in 2011. She has given more than 20 conference papers and invited talks over the past eight years and published more than a dozen articles and chapters about contemporary death practices and race and religion in the United States. Her edited volume, Death and Religion in a Changing World (M.E. Sharpe, 2006), is a popular textbook and was named an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice magazine.
At Marymount, Dr. Garces-Foley teaches courses on world religions, death practices, and religion in America. As the university’s first tenure-track faculty member in religious studies, Dr. Garces-Foley has restructured the curriculum, creating new courses—Religion and Violence, Religion and Sex, Buddhism, and Religion and Young Adults—as well as an interdisciplinary global studies minor. She organizes the popular annual Interfaith Forum and serves as advisor to the Muslim Student Association. Dr. Garces-Foley was selected by students in the university’s honors program as an Honors Fellow in 2010.
Dr. Garces-Foley received a B.A. in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. in theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in religious studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.View Nomination Packet
"Each semester when I greet new students I try to put into words what is gained by reading and thinking and experiencing new things. I talk about new perspectives, seeing complexity, finding clarity and empathy for others. What I don’t tell them, for fear they will label me a zealot, is that I am trying to help them have a life worth living."