Steven Guerrero, CSOM ’18, was awarded the Archbishop Oscar A. Romero Scholarship at a ceremony on Saturday night that featured a celebration of Romero’s life and a tribute to former University president and chancellor Rev. J. Donald Monan, S.J., who died last week. Juan Lopera, BC ’99, was awarded the Father John A. Dinneen, S.J. Alumni Award.
According to Rev. Michael Davidson, S.J., Guerrero, a finance major and African and African Diaspora Studies minor, has always had a love for baseball and plays on BC’s club team, which influenced his approach to being in a team setting. He likes applying his classroom knowledge to the broader community, which he refers to as “taking the Heights to the streets.”
“I get really inspired by reading the applications of the students and seeing all that they have done, and thinking about all the things they’ll do with the talents and the dedication that they have,” said Ines Maturana Sendoya, co-chair of the scholarship committee. “When I think about the young people that are here today, it gives me hope for the challenges that we will have coming ahead.”
This is the Scholarship’s 25th year—the committee narrows the applicants down to three finalists from a large pool. Academic achievement, leadership, community service, and involvement in the Latino community are the criteria.
“These are not easy times in our country and they’re not easy times in our world,” said University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., who presented the award to Guerrero.
“Our world needs individuals of conviction who do say they are not going to give up, and who maintain that spirit of service and conviction,” he said.
Guerrero said he entered BC as a “scrawny, hot-headed freshman” full of Boston pride, which on paper, he said, is perfect. But he didn’t realize that learning about philosophy and theology was the best thing for him, and he referenced the conception of communal justice laid out in Plato’s Republic.
“For me, this is when I am happiest, when I am helping my neighbors be a better version of themselves,” Guerrero said.
“The fight will continue, and I know we will rise, because our language will become the language,” he said.
Lopera could not attend the ceremony because his wife was having their first child, but his sister accepted the award on his behalf. His speech, titled “I Was Not Supposed to Be Here,” recounted the sheer luck Lopera often had on his journey to success. For example, papers that gave him political asylum in the U.S., required for a college student, arrived just days before the deadline for deciding to go to BC.
The two runners-up were Adonis Bonilla and Sacha Hauc, both MCAS ’18.
Rev. Tony Penna, S.J., the director of Campus Ministry, introduced Bonilla, who he said takes great pride in his role in organizations like the Dominican Association of BC and Hispanic Heritage Month.
“Love, peace, patience, and humility are pillars that I carry around everywhere I go, and that guide my everyday life,” Penna read, quoting Bonilla.
Karen Kiefer, the associate director of the Church in the 21st Century Center, introduced Hauc, who works in C21 doing Latino outreach. Hauc, a double major in biology and philosophy, dreams of returning to his native Colombia to work in public health in his community. He is the president of the Public Health Club at BC, and spends his Fridays working for St. John’s Project, delivering food for Boston’s homeless population. Kiefer met him in September of his freshman year.
“We made a faith connection and I soon realized Sacha’s faith in God was at the forefront of everything he does,” she said.
The event opened with a tribute to Monan by Juan Arteaga, BC ’99, who emceed the event—in 1989, after six Jesuits, their housekeeper, and her daughter were murdered at Central American University, Monan encouraged Congress to withhold aid from El Salvador until its leaders were held responsible for the killings.
“As a Jesuit whose mission it is to fight for justice and to find God in all things, Father Monan was an unapologetic advocate for creating a more diverse and welcoming community at BC,” Arteaga said.
Featured Image by Jake Catania / Heights Staff