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Gregory J. Boyle, S.J., asks SCU students to help the underprivileged

SANTA CLARA, Calif. June 12, 2004. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J., a Jesuit priest who works with at –risk youth in Los Angeles, asked Santa Clara University graduates to use their education to help people who are poor and powerless, “people whose dignity has been denied and those whose burdens are more than they can bear.”

More than 15,000 family and friends of Santa Clara University cheered nearly 1,053 undergraduates as they walked across an outdoor stage at Buck Shaw Stadium today, celebrating the 153 rd commencement of California's oldest institution of higher learning.

Boyle was awarded an honorary Doctor of Faith and Justice degree at the 8:30 a.m. undergraduate ceremonies. Also at the undergraduate commencement, former professional football player Ronnie Lott received an honorary Doctor of Public Service, and Sister Barbara Flannery, CSJ, received an honorary Doctor of Religious Education.

Boyle is the founder and executive director of two programs for at risk and gang related youth - - the Jobs for a Future employment referral center, and the Homeboy Industries economic development program. Boyle talked movingly of his struggle with leukemia and chemotherapy and the support he received from former gang members he had helped get jobs and rehabilitate.

The Los Angeles native earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Gonzaga University, and master’s degrees from Loyola Marymount, the Weston School of Theology, and the Jesuit School of Theology. A former high school teacher, he was a prison chaplain in Mexico and Folsom, Calif., and pastor of the Dolores Mission in San Francisco. Boyle is a nationally-renowned speaker at conferences for teachers, social workers, and criminal justice workers. In his talks, he stresses the importance of adult attention, guidance, and unconditional love in preventing youth from joining gangs.

Sister Barbara Flannery is a member of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet and has been chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Oakland since 1994. Under her leadership, the Oakland Diocese has become a model for how the church can help victims of sexual abuse and priests who are accused of sexual abuses.  As an outgrowth of meeting many victims of clergy sexual abuse, Flannery helped develop the Ministry for Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse, which has planned a campaign titled “No More Secrets,” that will encourage victims of abuse to come forward.

Ronnie Lott, best known as a Hall of Fame football player, also has been a leader in community service. His 14-year NFL career culminated in his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 1989, he founded All Stars Helping Kids, a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged youth in the Bay Area, and has created an All Stars Technology Room and children’s garden at UCSF Children’s Hospital. In 2001, he founded Olympius Capital, a minority-controlled firm committed to enhancing diversity in the financial services industry. In 2002, Lott was selected to join The Guardsmen, a service organization consisting of business and professional members devoted to advancing at-risk Bay Area youth by funding indoor and outdoor educational programs. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California.

About Santa ClaraUniversity

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California's Silicon Valley, offers its 8,047 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fourth -highest graduation rate among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is on line at



Gregory J. Boyle, S.J.

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