Loyola University Maryland has received a $1.75 million gift from Mary Catherine Bunting, Mount St. Agnes College ’64, to form the Bunting Program in Peace and Justice Studies, an undergraduate program that will also serve as a host for speakers and events that contribute to raising awareness about global peace and justice issues.
Bunting’s gift is one of the largest program-specific gifts in Loyola’s history.
“I am very grateful to Mary Catherine Bunting for this extraordinarily generous gift, which will allow our students and faculty to reflect systematically on the prospects for the peaceful resolution of personal, social, and international conflicts,” said Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola. “Her support is a recognition of the growing significance of peace and justice education at the most challenging academic level, and positions Loyola – in accordance with its mission as a Jesuit, Catholic university – to build a truly transformative program focused on peaceful, ethical leadership in an increasingly interconnected and uncertain world.”
In addition to the new academic program and speaker series, the gift funds an endowed faculty scholar in peace and justice studies to support the teaching and research of a current faculty member who will lead and develop the program. The gift also provides funds to support interdisciplinary faculty workshops and the development of new courses to bolster the program’s interdisciplinary focus, along with funds to support summer research fellowships and other research opportunities for undergraduate students.
The gift is deeply meaningful to Bunting, who is a lifelong advocate of peace.
“We’re living in a time when wars start and small disagreements become bigger because people don’t respect one another. They don’t respect their differences, and now the differences in everything – politics, culture, religion, race, gender – are magnified because the world is so global, so small,” said Bunting. “To arrive at peace, we must learn conflict resolution early on, and learn to respect our differences with an open mind. I look forward to the leadership role Loyola and its excellent faculty will take on the forefront of this critically important learning and teaching.”
Students in the peace and justice studies program will explore the causes and consequences of various forms of violence and conditions of peace from an interdisciplinary perspective. Much like students pursuing Loyola’s interdisciplinary global studies major, students interested in peace and justice studies will take courses in a variety of academic departments and be challenged to develop a deep understanding of how to study and promote peace and justice through interpersonal, institutional, societal, and global contexts. Students will examine these issues through theological, sociological, philosophical, historical, and political lenses.
A core group of Loyola faculty who are already teaching peace and conflict resolution concepts in their courses initially articulated the idea for a program of this kind, but no funding was available until Bunting made her gift.
“A little money going into peace is much better than all of the money going into war,” Bunting said.
Bunting, of Ruxton, Md., is the chair of the Mary Catherine Bunting Foundation and is a director with the Bunting Family Foundation. She is a retired certified nurse practitioner and was at one time a member of the Sisters of Mercy. She is a 1958 graduate of the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing and a 1964 graduate of Mount St. Agnes, and she received her master’s from the University of Maryland School of Nursing in 1972. She holds a Doctorate of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, from Notre Dame of Maryland University.
Bunting has made significant philanthropic contributions to numerous organizations and in 2010 was named Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Maryland Chapter. She is the daughter of the late Dorothy W. Bunting, MSA ’29, and the sister of George L. Bunting, Jr., ’62.
The program is expected to launch in 2014 with support for course development, peace and justice studies workshops, faculty and student research, and development of the speaker series.