Diaz, 45, a Cuban-American, was a member of the Obama campaign's Catholic advisory board, AP reports.
He was among 26 Catholics who signed a statement supporting the nomination of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic whose support for abortion rights was criticized by conservative Catholics.
The previous ambassador to the Vatican was Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard University professor.
The White House provided the following biography for Díaz:
"Dr. Miguel Díaz is a Professor of Theology at St. John's University and the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota. He is the co-editor of the book 'From the Heart of Our People: Explorations in Catholic Systematic Theology' and author of 'On Being Human: U.S. Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives,' named 'Best Book of the Year' by the Hispanic Theological Initiative at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Díaz taught Religious Studies and Theology at Barry University, the University of Dayton and the University of Notre Dame. From 2001 to 2003, he taught and served as Academic Dean at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. He is a Board Member of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) and Past President of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS). Dr. Díaz holds a B.A. from St. Thomas University and a M.A. and PhD in Theology from the University of Notre Dame."
The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, where Díaz teaches, has posted more detail in a news release, and says that Díaz's academic interests are "the Trinity, theological anthropology and Latino/a theologies", Boston.com says.
Diaz is also a consultant to Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.
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