Name: Benjamin Duphiney
Field of Study: Theology and Religious Studies, with minors in Philosophy and French
Status: Undergraduate student
Graduation Year: 2021
Hometown: Denville, N.J.
Why did you choose Catholic University? My parents met at CatholicU, so I had heard about it growing up. When I finished my junior year of high school, I attended the Summer Business Institute and that helped with my decision! I lived on campus for one week with other students, many of whom I still am friends with, and we explored DC, rode the Metro, and got a feel for campus. When I got acceptance letters, it was that experience that I looked back on to help, which made the decision rather easy. Campus is beautiful, the size is perfect, the Catholic faith permeates throughout campus, and we are in Washington, D.C.! I entered CatholicU as a business major, but switched to Theology and Religious Studies a semester in. While it was sad leaving the business school, I am very happy with the decision. CatholicU makes it easy for students to switch their majors, making the campus experience even better because of the willingness to explore other fields of study.
"CatholicU beautifully represents the universal Catholic Church."
What activities have you been involved with? I am currently the president of the Theology Club, vice president of the French Club, and attend many events that the University hosts. I had a lot of fun during Orientation Week, and still am friends with students that I met there. The campus is always full of different events that are geared towards a variety of students' preferences.
Impact of CatholicU's D.C. location: We are only a few Metro stops away from downtown D.C., which helps enhance the student experience. I know so many friends who have internships on the hill, or at major companies whose headquarters are in D.C. In addition to being a great place for academic success, there are so many fun things to do, including museums and the monuments. Having the Metro on campus is a great resource for seeing what D.C. has to offer for everyone.
Favorite course: Dr. David Elliot's Moral Theology/Ethics (TRS 230) is one of my favorite courses. His insight into the field of ethics was invaluable, for theology students, but also for every other student. During the course, we focused on something called "morality of happiness," which sought to answer the question: What makes human beings happy? It was a shift for a lot of students, especially since many think morality and ethics are all about rules. This course challenged that misconception, and took a more wholistic approach to why the Church teaches what it does. I recommend this to everyone!
What are your goals for the future? I will be graduating in December, which leaves time for me to think about the future. Because the pandemic prevented me from studying abroad, I am going to travel for the next few months after graduating. After graduating, I am going to travel to Uganda, where I have traveled to annually since 2017, to serve with Franciscan Sisters and Mission Madera. Mission Madera is a 501c3 organization that I co-founded with my father in 2018 after visiting these sisters. I will visit them since we were unable to visit during 2020 and this past summer due to a lockdown in Uganda. I am also going to hike the Camino in Spain. After these few months of pilgrimage, I hope to serve God in the Church with and for my entire life.
Is there a faculty or staff member who has made a significant impact on you? My theology professors continually challenge me, both intellectually and spiritually. Dr. Reinhard Huetter and Dr. Elliot have both helped in my study of theology. Dr. Huetter's expertise in John Henry Newman, Thomism, and Systematic Theology has helped build a necessary foundation for current and further studies, and Dr. Elliot has helped me to articulate the role of theology and its application in today's discourse. I would also like to mention my philosophy professor, Sr. Anna Wray, O.P. She taught Philosophy of God over Zoom during our online semester and made the course engaging and intriguing, despite our "locked-down" circumstances. She continually shows me and all her students how to study philosophy, live out the contemplative life of study, and what it means to seek the truth in joy.
What do you like most about Catholic University? If you ask any student, they all give the same answer: the community! CatholicU draws in a great diversity of students and professors from all over the United States, and even other parts of the world. I have many friends who speak different languages, have been to many different countries, and have grown up in different cultures. CatholicU beautifully represents the universal Catholic Church.
Proudest accomplishment: Receiving a degree in Theology and Religious Studies from Catholic University is something that I will be proud of for my life. If students want to study theology or philosophy, this is the place to be!
What Catholic University means to you: There have been some amazing days that I have been able to experience as a student, but I would say simply walking around campus between classes. Seeing friends, religious brothers and sisters, and professors around our beautiful campus always makes my day.