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Alumni Profiles

Staff profile
Rev Dr Gaye Williams Ortiz

Gaye Williams Ortiz

Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta, Augusta, Georgia, USA




What made you choose to attend Leeds Trinity University?

The combination of Theology and Public Media, which was unusual but fit with my interest and previous studies in Broadcasting.

What are your best memories from your time here?

My attachment with Yorkshire Television; the Chaplain Fr. David Smith; and later, hosting the BBC1 Lenten series  "Kingdom Come" live at Leeds Trinity in 1997.

How do you feel your time at Leeds Trinity has supported you in your career and life more generally?

I entered as a mature student, and loved the academic challenges that it brought. I made many connections and experiences that led to future work in the media, including Yorkshire Television and the BBC. I had excellent support from many of my tutors who helped model teaching for me when I became a university professor.

Where did you go for professional work placement? How did you benefit?

I did two attachments with Yorkshire Television, leading to a number of years employed there as a researcher, and then on to making programmes with the BBC.

What three words would you use to describe Leeds Trinity?

Professional, network and community

What is your current role?  

Minister for Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta, Augusta, Georgia, USA

Please give a brief summary of your career since graduation.

  • Researcher, Yorkshire Television, 1989-1993
  • Master of Theology Degree, Edinburgh University, 1993
  • Lecturer, Public Media and Critical and Cultural Studies, Trinity & All Saints College, 1992-93
  • Senior Lecturer, Theology and Religious Studies/ Head of Cultural studies, College of Ripon and York St. John, 1993-2002
  • President, EUROCIC (International Catholic Organization for Cinema, Europe) 1998-2001
  • Vice-President, SIGNIS, World Association for Catholic Communication, 2001-2005
  • Ph.D., Leeds University, 2004
  • Lecturer in Communications Studies and Cinema, Augusta State University, 2002-2013
  • Minister, UU Church of Augusta, 2013-present
  • Author (with Clive Marsh) Explorations in Theology and Film (1997), (with Clara Joseph) Theology and Literature; (with Christopher Deacy) Theology and Film: Challenging the Sacred and the Secular (2007)

Summarise your current role(s) and how it came about.

My academic career as a theologian led me to an interest in ministry, and I was ordained in 2013 as a Unitarian Universalist minister.

What advice would you give current students and recent graduates embarking on a similar career path?

The path is never straightforward, so always be open to new opportunities to build your experience and make connections.