Aaron Van Dyke, PhD, Awarded Alpha Sigma Nu Magis Medal

Aaron Van Dyke, PhD, Awarded Alpha Sigma Nu Magis Medal

Photo of Aaron Van Dyke

Aaron Van Dyke, PhD

The Magis Medal is awarded to lay Alpha Simga Nu alumni for their dedication to scholarship, loyalty, and service.

This award recognizes my dignity as a gay man, working to integrate Ignatian spirituality into the daily fabric of the University.

— Aaron Van Dyke, PhD

Each year the Jesuit honor society, Alpha Sigma Nu, recognizes lay alumni with the Magis Medal, a highly competitive honor that recognizes the core Jesuit values of scholarship, loyalty, and service. This year Aaron Van Dyke, PhD, associate professor of chemistry and spiritual mentor of Fairfield's Ignatian Residential College, is one of three recipients of the 2021 Magis Medal.

“We are so thrilled at Fairfield University that Professor Aaron Van Dyke has been selected from a nationally competitive pool of Jesuit faculty and staff as the Alpha Sigma Nu Magis Medal winner,” said Jocelyn M. Boryczka, PhD, associate vice provost for scholarly, creative, and community engagement. “Professor Van Dyke enlivens our Jesuit values through his pedagogical practices and service to the Fairfield community that includes his commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence. He is an inspiration to us all.”

Dr. Van Dyke focuses his teaching on connecting the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola with his students’ journeys to self-awareness. He uses the Examen during class to guide students to study organic chemistry in the context of their daily lives and to apply learning to better the world. Dr. Van Dyke leads a group of undergraduate students in research in two areas: chemical biology, studying the synthesis and identification of bioactive small molecules, and chemical education, to advance digital literacy with mobile devices. He also serves on the national selection committee for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Dr. Van Dyke was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu as an undergraduate student attending Seattle University.

“This award recognizes my dignity as a gay man, working to integrate Ignatian spirituality into the daily fabric of the University,” shared Dr. Van Dyke.

A member of Dr. Van Dyke’s chemical biology research group, Matthew Little ’22, nominated him for the Magis Medal.

"I am honored that Professor Van Dyke is my advisor, professor, and most significant mentor,” said Little. “One of Professor Van Dyke’s research focuses is the effects of social distancing on the chemical composition of the brain. Through our research, Professor Van Dyke hopes to better the lives of humans that bear the pain of isolation. He introduced me to the writings of St. Ignatius and the Jesuit Rev. Anthony de Mello. Their writings and Professor Van Dyke’s mentorship have had a profound impact on my life."

Dr. Van Dyke will be presented with the Magis Medal at the Alpha Sigma Nu Induction Ceremony at the Quick Center on October 17, 2021 at 3 p.m. Founded in 1915, Alpha Sigma Nu is the honor society of Jesuit colleges and universities that recognizes students for both their academic pursuits and their loyalty to the values of their Jesuit education and service to others.

Tags:  Faculty or Staff Stories,  Student Stories


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