Sister Chris Patrinos (center) shares a light hearted moment with HNU students
Sister Chris Patrinos ‘81, PhD, is an HNU alumna and an associate professor of political science. Her courses include Dynamics of International Relations, Indigenous Peoples, and Power and Powerlessness. She also advises the Model United Nations and the Pacific Islanders Club, and has written or contributed to many works examining Hawaiian political and cultural history.
On Being a Professor at HNU
When I came on board in 1995, there were four Sisters in the Department of History and Political Science: Sr. Ethel Mary, Sr. Mary Anderson, Sr. Deborah Church, and Sr. Barbara Williams, who I was replacing. I was so fortunate to have had these Sisters as guides and role models, and hope that I am continuing in their footsteps by fulfilling the mission of Holy Names University: to teach “in the Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions and empower a diverse student body for leadership and service.”
There was a great sense of community, and there was great energy between us. Today the same thing is true of our faculty: there is genuine excitement and collaboration to provide the best opportunities for our students. I’m always surprised by all the people who are attracted to HNU because of the values they find in our community. To me, it’s about being a light, doing our work diligently, taking the extra time to meet with our students, and listening to them. Having Father Sal here as a support for our students makes a big difference, too.
On the Students at HNU
I’ve had amazing students. They’re smart and creative. I see so much growth during our time together, and I see them learn how to think critically. The students here are happy. We demand their best, but they know that we care and that we want them to succeed. In exchange, they are kind, and they are willing to share their gifts and their knowledge with others.
Our students find careers that are personally fulfilling. In most cases, they choose positions that are service-oriented that help the community. HNU students graduate with a voice. They have the language to talk about what needs to be done, and then they do it.
About Living in the Residence Halls
I lived in the residence halls for six years, and there were a lot of 2:00 a.m. moments. There was the young woman who couldn’t sleep and would ask me to stay with her until she drifted off, the students who were sure their dorm room was haunted, and the students with relationship troubles. I just listened to them, but if I’d given advice, it would have been, “Don’t do anything stupid.” Some of the residents in my hall were my students, and that was nice. When they needed help with their academic studies, I was there.
About Teaching Political Science
When I begin my poli-sci classes, I describe politics with the story from Greek mythology of Sisyphus. The political process is the rock. It will likely fall back down again, but maybe it won’t. We do have to keep trying to make society better. God knows what is happening. All good things happen for those who love the Lord. It will be ok, and we will keep at this until we get it right.
I think humor is really important in teaching, in being, in all of it. My students are funny. They teach me things all of the time.
Sr. Chris will be the faculty honoree at this year’s HNU Alumni Awards, held at Homecoming on November 3. She will be celebrated along with Doreen Ferreira Jones ‘67, Ronisha Parker ‘13, and Cecelia Tutt ’62.