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St. Kate’s economics professor to be honored for contributions to Catholic intellectual life

Amata Miller, IHM.
Amata Miller, IHM.
St. Catherine University

Honoring significant contributions to Catholic higher education through service and academic work, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) will present Amata Miller, IHM, with the Monika K. Hellwig Award at its annual meeting in January 2011. Sister Amata is an economics professor and director of the Myser Initiative on Catholic Identity at St. Catherine University.

The Monika K. Hellwig Award for Outstanding Contributions to Catholic Intellectual Life was created in 2006. Previous winners include Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University, and Daniel Finn, professor of theology and William E. & Virginia Clemens Professor of Economics and Liberal Arts at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn.

An economist for social justice
Sister Amata is a nationally recognized authority on domestic and global justice issues, socially responsible investing and Catholic Social Teaching. She directs the Myser Initiative that integrates Catholic Social Teachings throughout the curriculum by sponsoring speakers, faculty education and other programs.

Last September she was presented with the 2010 Bonnie Jean Kelly and Joan Kelly Faculty Excellence Award for her accomplishments in teaching, scholarship and service — work that has brought national attention to St. Catherine University.

Sister Amata in 2003 received the Archbishop Roach Award in Social Justice from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis's Commission on Women. She has also been awarded honorary doctorates from Marygrove College in Detroit and St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and Holy Cross College, both in Indiana.

A board member of the Partnership for Global Justice (formerly the Religious Orders Partnership), a non-governmental organization at the United Nations, Sister Amata is a frequent presenter at conferences and institutes nationwide. She also teaches economics in the master’s in social justice program at Marygrove College and has been a member of the economics faculty at St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas, where she still is a trustee.

Sister Amata has served as an economic analyst for NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby in Washington, D.C.; as chief financial officer at Marygrove College; and as vice president for finance at the Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation, Detroit.

She earned a doctorate in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, where she was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. She earned a master's degree in economics at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Mo.

About Monika Hellwig
President and executive director of the ACCU from 1996 until two months before her death in 2005, Monika Hellwig was “an internationally known Georgetown University theologian who defended Catholic intellectualism,” according to her obituary in the Washington Post.

“Colleagues described her as a ‘pathfinder’ in ecumenical and interreligious dialogues who worked on initiatives for women in higher education and theological scholarship and on efforts to foster peace and justice through education,” the Post said.

Jan. 7, 2011 by Julie Michener

See also: Catholic Identity, Faculty