2017 Authors and Presenters

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James J. Tracy, PhD

"Faith, Doubt, Mystery: A Catholic Journey"

Location: Pigott 101

Time: Session 1: 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

Themes: Religion, Faith and Ethics, Spirituality and Wellness

Description of Presentation

James J. Tracy, PhD James J. Tracy, PhD Book Cover

In his memoir Faith, Doubt, Mystery: A Catholic Journey (2015), psychologist James J. Tracy shares his trek in Catholicism. He started out as a sickly first-grader in parochial school, where he daydreamed about God and infinity. As a teenager, he confronted sex and faced guilt. As a Jesuit, Tracy struggled in a whirlpool of devotion, doubt, and a desire to know. The arc of his memoir, which was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016, reminds readers that each of us is on a journey that calls for self-reflection and a humble pursuit of wisdom.

Author Biography

James J. Tracy is a Seattle native who, as a Jesuit, earned his bachelor’s degree at Gonzaga University. After leaving the Order, he was awarded a PhD in Psychology at the University of Connecticut, where his dissertation focused on morality and choice, a combination that had permeated his life as a Catholic. Tracy held academic appointments at Bryn Mawr College and in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Washington Medical School before he chose full-time clinical work in independent practice. For over 30 years, he worked with a wide range of clients—pilots, police officers, and politicians. He also worked with couples grappling with the challenge of commitment. Tracy came to believe that each person’s life is a journey filled with choices. Those choices, he asserts, can be understood and used as a springboard to achieve greater awareness and wisdom in living day-to-day and in preparing to leave the planet.


Michael Reid Trice, PhD

"Religious Identity and Renewal in the Twenty-First Century"

Location: Pigott 203

Time: Session 2: 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

Themes: Cross-Cultural and Global Understanding, Religion, Faith and Ethics, Spirituality and Wellness

Description of Presentation

Michael Reid Trice, PhD Michael Reid Trice, PhD Book Cover

Seattle University partnered with the Lutheran World Federation (2014) and the World Council of Churches (2016) in addressing the challenges of religious belonging in the 21st century. As a consequence, a joint SU-LWF book on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim explorations of these challenges was published in the late spring of 2016. Michael Trice, one of the conveners of the conference, will present on central themes within public theology, as a result of these meetings at Seattle University. There will be an opportunity for participatory conversation throughout.  

Author Biography

Michael Reid Trice serves as a public theologian and as Assistant Professor for Constructive Theology and Theological Ethics at the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, and brings expertise in religious pluralism. He is the School of Theology and Ministry's Assistant Dean for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue. Trice served for eight years as the Associate Executive of Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Dialogue for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Trice's work includes collaboration with the Lutheran World Federation and the National and World Councils of Churches, and he serves as the Secretary for the Parliament of the World’s Religions. He teaches and presents internationally, and is currently writing a book entitled Theology of Generosity: Reimagining the Core of Human Belonging. Trice continues his current research interest on the theological practicalities of reconciliation when trespass and trauma defy language. His book Encountering Cruelty: A Fracture in the Human Heart (2011) won the distinguished original dissertation award for Loyola University Chicago. In addition to teaching, Trice has served on the White House Task Force for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation. 

Trice received his PhD in Constructive Theology from Loyola University Chicago, alongside the Evangelische Fakultat at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat in Munich, Germany. He earned his master degrees from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Trice spends his time with his wife and daughter exploring the Puget Sound with their Hovawart.   


Kate Willette, MEd

"Miracles Are for Wimps"

Location: Sullivan Ct C3

Time: Session 2: 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

Themes: Social Justice, Spirituality and Wellness

Description of Presentation

Kate Willette, MEd Kate Willette, MEd Book Cover

Writer/activist Kate Willette never wanted to be a writer/activist. Her plans involved teaching, raising children, volunteering in her church, and writing fiction. Willette will talk about the day all that changed, and about what can happen when a challenge steps up to meet us. Her particular path from “Why me?” to “What can I do?” to “How can I do it better?” is the subject of this presentation. It’s a narrative about taking your life and shaking it for meaning.

Author Biography

Kate Willette’s most recent book, Don’t Call It a Miracle: The Movement to Cure Spinal Cord Injury (2015), was commissioned by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. For the last eleven years, she’s been a lively voice informing a worldwide community of people living with paralysis about research, advocacy, and science. Willette’s live blogs of the annual Working 2 Walk conference, her books, and her new podcast, SCI Curecast, are admired both for the information they deliver and for their clarity. The Reeve Foundation believes so strongly in Don’t Call It a Miracle that it has invested resources in making it available at no charge. When Willette isn’t roaming around Seattle’s Capitol Hill with her dog Utah, she can usually be found at her desk, spinning new plans to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.