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Confirmed Keynote Speakers


DHEC LogoConfirmed Keynote Speakers


Fr. Christopher J. Renz, O.P.

Fr. Christopher J. Renz, O.P.

Academic Dean, Professor of Liturgical Studies and Science and Theology, Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology

Fr. Chris is the epitome of a renaissance mind: he is a biologist, musician, poet, and theologian.  He is the recipient of a John Templeton Foundation Award to investigate the anthropological foundations of Catholic Worship. In the Spring of 2017, he offered a new innovative course in sacred arts and neuroaesthetics, a course designed to help seminarians and priests explore the historical, philosophical and biological aspects of the meaning of “conscious and active participation” by the laity in Mass. Students learned how the natural ability of the human person to grasp and comprehend experiences of mystery, especially as manifest in natural beauty and the fine arts, impacts our participation in the Paschal Mystery.

Kathleen McManus bio photo

Sr. Kathleen McManus, O.P.

Director, Master of Arts of Pastoral Ministry Program
Associate Professor of Theology, University of Portland

Sr. Kathleen has spent much of her theological career at the University of Portland, forming young scholars and theologians in pastoral ministry. Concentrating her scholarly endeavors in the work of Schillebeeckx and the difficulties of human suffering, she offers a unique feminist perspective to the academy.  In 2017, she was selected as the Randall Chair in Christian Culture at Providence College for the celebration of its Centennial.  Recently, she wrote: “We are being summoned to risk a leap to the next evolutionary rung, to move from the ‘I’ to the ‘We’ to the ‘One’ in mission to a world fragmented by violence and in need of mercy.  As a theologian in this context, I feel called to embrace the tension between our presence to suffering human victims of injustice on the ground and fidelity to our evolutionary consciousness. A Dominican Theology is one that poses no dualism between the two.”


Sr. Diane Kennedy

Sr. Diane Kennedy, O.P.

Former Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Dominican University

It would be difficult, at best, to name all the things that Sr. Diane has done in her ministry as a Dominican and the impact that she has made on Dominican Higher Education. Most recently, the first Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Dominican University in River Forest, she has also served as director of formation for the Sinsinawa Dominicans, was one of the founders of the Parable Conference, and was the Vice President and Academic Dean at Aquinas Institute of Theology.  Professed for more than fifty years, she continues to advocate for the collaboration of the entire Dominican Family.