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Department ofReligious Studies


Philip Boo Riley, winner of the 2022 Professor Francisco Jimenez Reaching Out Award

Philip Boo Riley, winner of the 2022 Professor Francisco Jimenez Reaching Out Award

Philip Boo Riley Recognized by the College of Arts and Sciences

Philip Boo Riley awarded the Francisco Jiménez Reaching Out Award

Francisco Jiménez Reaching Out Award
In recognition of faculty and staff who, through their actions and contributions to our local and/or global community, strive to serve society’s most disadvantaged and under-served members.

Boo is a close mentor, friend, and ego-less human who is as available and present to the unhoused of Santa Clara Valley as he is to faculty colleagues on campus. We are recognizing Boo for his ongoing support for the unhoused population in the county and the support he has provided to many faculty—especially those who teach about or study these populations.

For many years, Boo has spent weekends and holidays at a homeless encampment in downtown San Jose. Not for research, or a book, or a grant—but because he loved the individuals at the encampment. He baked muffins for them, spent time in their tents, knew people's names, and even their pets' names. He built platforms for their tents using his own tools and materials so they wouldn't get flooded in the winter rain. He called the hospital when they needed help. He wrote letters of recommendation to help them find jobs or get placed in housing. Above all, he was present for the unhoused community, as a witness and friend.

He has integrated his deep commitment to these members of our community into his teaching, providing ELSJ and experiential opportunities to our students. In that way, he introduces real life examples of the Jesuit pedagogical call to reach out to those on the margins of society. In recent years, he and colleagues in the College and the School of Law secured a Bannan Mission Integration grant to learn how to engage with the other local groups responding to the homeless crisis in our community and how to bring the homeless advocates/projects to our students in a large-scale campus-wide effort. That led to a campus-wide survey in April 2022 to seek the level of interest in engagement around homelessness—whether as a volunteer, instructor, researcher, or other. As that project continues to evolve, Boo continues to provide mentorship to junior faculty who study the homelessness crisis as part of their scholarship, resulting in a series of articles and reports.

For this remarkable history of outreach to those on the margins of society for his efforts to organize responses to the crisis that engage and inform our campus community, we are pleased to give the Francisco Jimenez award to Philip Boo Riley, Religious Studies.