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Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93)Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93)Less than a year after being named the Theological Consultant to the Office of Bishop in Orange, California, Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93) has been appointed as chancellor of the Diocese — the highest and most senior position available to the laity.

“Pia is an inspirational and well-respected theologian and has proven herself a thoughtful and humble leader within our Church,” said the Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange. “We are blessed as a Diocese to benefit from her expertise, passion, and faith. I look forward to the many gifts that she will continue to bring to bear in service to the people of Orange.”

As chancellor, Dr. de Solenni will play a central role in supporting Bishop Vann’s organizational and ministerial efforts in the nation’s 12th largest diocese, with over 1.3 million Catholics. She will serve as lead administrator/secretary of the Curia, official archivist, record keeper, and Bishop Vann’s strategic and theological advisor. In this latter capacity, she will review, at His Excellency’s request, his writings and teachings, offering observations and consultation drawn from her expertise on matters of doctrine or dogma. Dr. de Solenni’s appointment is effective as of Monday, August 28.

An ethicist and theologian, Dr. de Solenni is an expert on life issues, issues relating to women’s health, the new feminism, and culture. After graduating from Thomas Aquinas College, she earned a Sacred Theology Baccalaureate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) and a Sacred Theology Doctorate, summa cum laude, from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. In 2001 Pope St. John Paul II awarded her the Prize of the Pontifical Academies for her groundbreaking dissertation, an analysis of feminist theories in light of St. Thomas Aquinas’ teachings. (Fellow graduate Dr. John R. Mortensen ’97 became only the second North American to win this prize in 2010.)

Dr. de Solenni has published articles in the Wall Street Journal Europe, the Washington Post, the National Catholic Reporter, Our Sunday Visitor, Crux, and numerous other publications. She has also appeared on MSNBC, Hardball with Chris Matthews, The O’Reilly Factor, CNN, and ABC News, among others.

“It is a tremendous honor to serve the Diocese of Orange as Chancellor,” says Dr. de Solenni. “I am very grateful to Bishop Vann for his confidence in me and for giving me this opportunity.”