Joseph Betz Solidarity Award

The Solidarity Award is presented to a graduating senior or seniors concentrating in Peace and Justice Studies in exceptional circumstances to recognize distinctive service to the cause of justice and peace.

After 45 years of teaching at Villanova University, beloved philosophy professor Joseph Betz retired in May 2011.  Joe's knowledge of social and political issues, and his commitment to active involvement in anti-war and social justice movements in the U.S. and around the world inspired generations of Villanova students and countless colleagues.  Among his many contributions to Villanova, Joe served as the faculty adviser for Amnesty International for 30 years.  He is the longest serving faculty adviser for any Amnesty chapter anywhere in the United States.  Joe was the 2009 recipient of the Lawrence C. Gallen, OSA, Faculty Service Award.

In honor of his steadfast leadership in countless social justice and peace movements, and his unflinching resolve to stand against injustice wherever it is found, the Center for Peace and Justice Education renamed its "Solidarity award" for Professor Betz.  This tribute is a small acknowledgment of the tremendous impact of a man who lives his commitment to peace and justice each and every day.

2013: Recipient

Marissa Pardue

“Solidarity is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all. “
                 On Social Concern (Sollicitudo rei Socialis
. . . ), #38

The recipient of the 2013 Joseph R. Betz Solidarity Award goes to Marissa Pardue.  Marissa majored in Sociology, had a concentration in Peace and Justice and a minor in Classical Studies and achieved a 3.99 overall GPA.   She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received numerous scholarships and awards. Despite her impressive academic record, this award recognized her commitment to living in solidarity with those who have little power and no voice about the world in which they live.  During the past 4 years, Marissa served off campus with Ruibal, Dream Camp, The Camden Center for Environmental Transformation, Habitat for Humanity, Buildinguate Guatemala, Greener Partners, Food Not Bombs, PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society),  and a local rescue group, Spay and Save. 
While on campus, she co-chaired Villanova Environmental Group, co-founded Villanovans in Defense of Animals, served as campaign advocate for Real Food Challenge (which targets college campuses) and reconstituted Villanova’s Just Food group.

Writing about her work in our program, she said:
“After taking numerous courses in Peace and Justice, I began to connect my interest in the environment with issues of oppression, as I focused on environmental racism and environmental justice issues.  Such a focus transitioned into food justice issues, food deserts, food insecurity, and subsequent racial health disparities, before then encompassing sustainable agricultural practices, and ethical means of production and consumption.  Basing many of my research assignments on these topics, I began to alter my own internal value system to include an intentionally compassionate lifestyle premised on the avoidance of pain and suffering for as many beings as possible.  My interest in veganism and veganic agriculture are rooted in my ultimate passion for peace and justice and desire to see all beings with eyes of compassion, as I believe peace in its most basic form begins with our diet and lifestyle choices”. 

Because of her seamless commitment to living in Solidarity with those most vulnerable to the way we live, we congratulate Marissa Pardue and thank her for the example she has set for us all.

Past Recipients

2012 Lauren Adderly
Lauren graduated with a triple major in Biology, Theology, and Honors and a concentration in Peace and Justice. As a sophomore, she was one of the founding chairs of Service Council, a formation program for student leaders in faith, service, and justice. She remained involved with Service Council as head chair as a junior and senior. Lauren also served as president of Villanovans for Life, a large, active student group that was a voice for defending human life consistently against the threats of abortion, the death penalty, war, and euthanasia. Each Saturday, she led a group of students to volunteer at a Philadelphia nursing home with the elderly poor and still holds those relationships close to her heart. For three summers, she lived with a religious community on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa reservation in North Dakota, learning to play guitar and ride horses while helping to run a summer camp for hundreds of reservation children and teenagers. For her Honors senior thesis, she examined how Catholic lay movements (specifically the Catholic Worker and the Community of Sant'Egidio) enrich a traditional understanding of charity. Currently, she is living with the Houston Catholic Worker community in their house of hospitality for immigrant women and children.

2012 Caitlin Ingraham
With a major in Biology, concentrations in Peace and Justice Studies, Ethics of Healthcare, and Honors, and minors in Spanish and Theology, Cait thrived in an interdisciplinary approach to her studies. Her plans to become a physician who practices medicine as a form of social justice have been shaped by her Peace and Justice courses and her involvement at the House of Grace Catholic Worker free health clinic in Philadelphia. Cait served as Head Chair of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, working to make the Villanova community aware of inequality locally and globally, and to provide opportunities for advocacy and action to create change. Cait explored international health care issues as a Global Impact fellow with Unite for Sight and participated in the Service Council. Cait is serving for a year after graduation as a Client Advocate at a women and children’s shelter in Tucson, AZ with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

2011: Caitlin Greene
Caitlin has been not only a great Peace and Justice Student, but a leader of one of our most active student groups.  As an English major and peace and justice minor, she maintains a GPA of 3.8, and even higher in her peace and Justice classes.  Outside of the classroom, Caitlin’s leadership within the Villanova Environment

The Adela Dwyer-St. Thomas of Villanova 2013 Peace Award Presentation

The Adela Dwyer-St. Thomas of Villanova 2012 Peace Award Presentation

various news photos