For Immediate Release: May 19, 2023
NETWORK’s Joan F. Neal To Receive Honorary Doctorate from Catholic Theological Union
Washington, D.C. – Joan F. Neal, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Equity Officer at NETWORK, will be one of two people recognized with honorary doctorates by Catholic Theological Union at their commencement ceremony on May 25 in Chicago. Rev. Edwin David Aponte, Dean of the Theological School and Professor of Religion and Culture at Drew University, will also be honored.
“For over 50 years, Catholic Theological Union has prepared ministers to bring Gospel values and Catholic Social Thought to the world. Like NETWORK, CTU enables pastoral leaders to work for justice and build the common good. I am honored to be acknowledged by the CTU community with this distinction,” said Neal.
Of Neal receiving this honor, NETWORK Executive Director Mary J. Novak said:
“Joan Neal is a vital member of the NETWORK community. Her leadership, experience, and strategic skills have ushered us into a new era. Joan embodies the ‘Sister-Spirit’ of our organization, building supportive relationships both inside and outside of our community.”
Neal’s significant contributions to NETWORK include leading its recent comprehensive strategic planning and racial justice transformation processes. She is also a co-host of the podcast “Just Politics,” which NETWORK produces in collaboration with U.S. Catholic magazine. Before accepting her current role at NETWORK, Neal was a senior NETWORK fellow in government relations and strategy.
Joan has also served as Vice President for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness at Cabrini College (now Cabrini University), Executive Vice President of US Operations at Catholic Relief Services, and Vice President and Director of the Office of Public Affairs at BMO Harris Bank. She is the Founder and Lead Consultant of her own consulting firm, JF Neal Leading Edge Consulting, and has served clients including FADICA, Catholic Volunteer Network, the Archdiocese of New York, and many more.
Neal received her bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago and her MAPS (Master of Arts, Pastoral Studies) degree from Catholic Theological Union. She holds multiple certificates in the areas of biblical spirituality, leadership, and conflict resolution. She serves on the board of the Sr. Thea Bowman Foundation and The Center for Migration Studies of New York. She is also an Associate of the National Black Sisters’ Conference.
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice – advocates for justice inspired by Catholic Sisters – educates, organizes, and lobbies for economic and social transformation. With a 50-year record of accomplishment and more than 100,000 supporters across the country, NETWORK advocates for federal policies that support those at the margins and prioritize the common good. www.networklobby.org