Julia A. Dowd '94
Shaping one’s life into a vehicle for one’s faith often means taking a less-traveled road. Such is the case for Julia Dowd.
Born into the Holy Cross family, Julia arrived on the Hill as a third-generation Crusader, intent on making her four years as a student into a pilgrimage of both spirit and mind. A religious studies major, she was a member of Pax Christi, a liturgical minister and coordinator and also a member of the Campus Ministry board. On school vacations, Julia traveled to Appalachia to build houses and serve those in need. In the summer between her second and third years, she traveled to Mexico to live among—and give witness to—the poor of that country. In her last year at Holy Cross, she earned the Presidential Service Award; the Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Medal; and the George H. Hampsch Award. By Commencement day, Julia’s road was laid out for her and, since then, she has walked it with characteristic grace and courage.
Following graduation, Julia spent a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in San Francisco, working with homeless families at an emergency shelter and living a life of simplicity and prayer, truly informed by the gospel message.
In 1995, Julia became the program coordinator at St. Ignatius Parish in San Francisco, establishing the parish’s first Parish Council and coordinating its religious education, social justice and community life programs. In 1998, she became the parish’s director of social ministries, securing a one million dollar endowment from the Jesuit community at the University of San Francisco to develop numerous social justice programs. In the midst of creating, financing and orchestrating a plethora of outreach programs, Julia also managed to earn a master of arts degree in theology. And, as if to underline her natural ability to combine the meditative side of her spirituality with her social activism, she recently has earned a second master’s degree in non-profit administration.
Today, Julia is the coordinator of program development at the University of San Francisco’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service & the Common Good. In this capacity, she is currently working to establish an Institute of Catholic Social Thought within the Center.
For her conception of her life as a spiritual mission, carried out in the name of love and justice, the College of the Holy Cross presents to Julia A Dowd ’94 the Sanctae Crucis Award.