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Senior Story 2021: Double Major Hopes to Influence Modern Culture with Medieval Ideas
Jun 8, 2021

Name: Noah Joseph Torres

Hometown: Fort Worth, TX

Major: Politics and Theology

Notable UD Memories/Achievements: Touring the Vatican Museums with friends; earning honors on comprehensive exams.

Future Plans: Pursuing an M.A. in politics at UD, then continuing on to law school.

This is the last in a series of 11 stories published to highlight the achievements of some of our seniors in the Class of 2021.

Noah Torres, BA ’21, always knew he wanted to study theology and politics. In seventh grade, he found himself fascinated by the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. This interest only grew through high school, and he found himself at UD on the recommendation of his theology teachers, who were themselves UD grads. Being local, and having family connections, it was an easy choice to follow the advice of his mentors and apply.

A desire to prove his world history textbooks wrong about the Middle Ages proved the foundation of Torres’ interest in politics. Over the course of his studies, Torres developed a theory about the intersection of theology and politics: “Law serves a moral-pedagogical function — it works to make people better, not to punish them for doing wrong — and that concept is elucidated in medieval and ecclesiastical political systems.” 

In his future studies and endeavors, he hopes to use this theory to achieve political change, saying, “My interest in both medieval bureaucracy and 20th century development of the administrative state in America has led me to believe that administrative law is one of the best ways to effect change in American politics.” He hopes to work for the federal government or a public policy institute, influencing American culture through political bureaucracy with medieval scholastic theological thought. 

During his time at UD, Torres was an active member of the Pre-Law Society. He served as a student ambassador for the Admissions office during his junior year, during which time he relished the opportunity to “serve an integral role at facilitating matriculation of other students who could shape their interests in light of the principles of the Core Curriculum.” 

Making a difference in the world is one of the ideals of any good politics student, and Torres had the opportunity to do exactly this during his senior year, with an internship at the Religious Freedom Institute. He also served as chair of the Administrative Functions Committee in Student Government, where he instituted reforms to help Student Government work better with the UD administration.

Reflecting on the professors who were most influential in his education, he credits Associate Professor of Politics Gladden Pappin, Ph.D., and Associate Professor of Theology Christopher Malloy, Ph.D., as being wonderful mentors in their respective departments, and pushing him to achieve excellence in his studies. Thanks to their guidance, he was able to form his theory of politics and theology, which will influence his future work and life’s purpose. Natural Law Theories, which he took in winter 2020, also provided direction in his passion project, and he remembers taking so many notes on the texts that two new pens ran out of ink. The University Scholar published his final essay for the class, discussing the function of Catholic religion in civil society.

Rome, of course, is one of the most transformative experiences most UD students enjoy. Torres’ fondest memories of Rome include leading his classmates on an amateur tour of the Vatican Museums and treating them to an ad-hoc 30-minute lecture on the theological, political and historical background of the Barberini Tapestries. He also enjoyed wandering the city alone, visiting churches and museums to his heart’s content. 

UD tends to transform its students, and Torres believes that going to UD made him a better person. He said, “When I began to understand my majors outside of personal perfection or simple contemplation, I realized the true purpose of a UD liberal education: to enlighten others with the knowledge one receives.”

Photo Credit: Robert Guerra of Robert Guerra Wedding and Lifestyle Photography

 
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Sep 22, 2021

Prior to the creation of Faculty Excellence Funds, the Class of 1988 began the endowed Alumni Fund for Faculty Development, which supports faculty research and...

Sep 20, 2021

The University of Dallas ranked No. 6 in Regional Universities West for the second year in a row in the 2022 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s "Best Colleges,"

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