Homeboy Industries Founder Greg Boyle, S.J., to Address Santa Clara University Class of 2023
SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 10, 2023 – Greg Boyle, S.J., STM ’86, who has devoted the last several decades of his life to serving, educating, employing, and accompanying former gang members in Los Angeles, will be the keynote speaker at Santa Clara University’s 172nd commencement ceremony June 17.
Born in Los Angeles, Boyle entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) immediately after graduating from Loyola High School in 1972. Over the next dozen years, he earned a bachelor's degree in English from Gonzaga University; a master’s in English from Loyola Marymount University; a Master of Divinity from the Weston School of Theology; and a Master of Sacred Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology, now part of Santa Clara University.
“Santa Clara is delighted to welcome Fr. Boyle to speak to the Class of 2023 ” said Santa Clara University President Julie Sullivan. “He is a powerful model of the Jesuit call to accompany people where they are and to find God in every person. We are honored to have his words to inspire our graduating seniors as they assume positions of leadership and service to society.”
Named a “Champion of Change” by former President Barack Obama in 2014, Boyle has been widely honored for his work, including receiving the Laetare Medal, the oldest honor given to American Catholics.
After spending a year in Bolivia, Boyle became pastor of the Jesuit Dolores Mission Church in East L.A., in an area beset by gangs. Along with other Jesuits he started an alternative school at Dolores Mission and launched Jobs for a Future, the beginnings of Homeboy Industries. He began working with a nonprofit job and career center, where he helped start a social enterprise, Homeboy Bakery, to employ those seeking a refuge from gang life. The success of the bakery contributed to the nonprofit devoting itself to gang rehabilitation, named Homeboy Industries.
Homeboy now supports around 10,000 men and women a year, offering therapy, classes, services, job training, and employment at Homeboy Bakery, Homegirl Café, or Homeboy Silkscreen & Embroidery. At the center of it all is founder Boyle, who describes his work as “radical kinship,” accompanying those who come through Homeboy at virtually every step of their journeys at Homeboy and beyond.
He’s written three books, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship,” and “The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness.”
He calls the former gang members he serves “anthems of resilience who have come to know the truth of who they are.”
The Los Angeles Times noted that Boyle is “purposeful always in saying you don’t go to the margins to influence others, you go to the margins to be influenced by them.”
“We are all invited into this exquisite mutuality where there is no us and them,” Boyle has said. “Once we know that we are unshakably good and that we belong to each other, we can roll up our sleeves … and create anew this place of love and belonging that God would recognize.”
About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Ranked among the top 15 percent of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see www.scu.edu.
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