Creighton University
Doctor of Social Services, honoris causa
Reverend Gregory J. Boyle, S.J.
May 16, 2009

Citation read by Maureen McCann Waldron,
Associate Director of the Collaborative Ministry Office

Father Greg Boyle is a Los Angeles native who was ordained a Jesuit in 1984. He was a prison chaplain, high school teacher and pastor prior to founding Jobs for a Future in East Los Angeles in 1988.

Located in Boyle Heights, a community with a massive concentration of gang activity in L.A., Jobs for a Future assists 1,000 people each month, mostly at-risk and gang-involved youth, in redirecting their lives. By addressing the root causes of gang violence – the absence of hope and dignity – Jobs for a Future creates opportunities so that at-risk youth can plan their futures and not their funerals.

In 1992, Father Greg also formed Homeboy Industries, to create businesses that provide training, work experience, and above all, the opportunity for rival gang members to work side by side. Among the established industries are Homeboy Bakery, Homeboy Silkscreen, Homeboy Landscaping and Homegirl Café.

The success of Jobs for a Future and Homeboy Industries lies precisely in the heart of Father Greg, who has chosen to create solidarity with the homies he helps, not just being for them but by standing with them. He says it’s not about taking the right stand on issues, but about standing in the right place. He doesn’t proclaim his message, he is his message. And he has said more than once, “The day won’t ever come when I have more courage, when I am closer to God, or am more noble than the kids who come in here looking for help.”

By shining a light in the darkness, by providing hope, dignity and a second chance to those who have had none, Father Greg also provides each of us a clear model of how to live the Gospel.

It is with deep gratitude and pride that Creighton University confers upon the Reverend Gregory J. Boyle of the Society of Jesus, the degree Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa.

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