St. Bonaventure University

Alumni News

Founder of Homeboy Industries to share message of ‘Living a Life of Tenderness, Compassion and Kinship’ in SBU address

Sep 08, 2022

Fr. Gregory Boyle, S.J., founder of the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation, and reentry program in the world, will discuss the transformative work of Homeboy Industries in a Sept. 14 talk at St. Bonaventure University.

Fr Greg BoyleFr. Boyle’s address, “Living a Life of Tenderness, Compassion and Kinship for the Other,” begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, in the Reilly Center Arena and is free and open to the public. For those unable to attend in person, the program will be live streamed at

In addition to the keynote address, Fr. Boyle will be meeting with groups of faculty, staff and students to discuss compassionate leadership during his two-day campus visit.

“Fr. Greg speaks of great compassion and tenderness that were foundational to creating Homeboy Industries,” said Alice Miller Nation, director of the Franciscan Center for Social Concern at St. Bonaventure. “This speaks directly to our university values of compassion, integrity and wisdom.”

Fr. Boyle witnessed the devastating impact of gang violence on his Los Angeles community during the so-called “decade of death” that began in the late 1980s and peaked at 1,000 gang-related killings in 1992. In the face of law enforcement tactics and criminal justice policies of suppression and mass incarceration as the means to end gang violence, he and parish and community members adopted what was a radical approach at the time: Treat gang members as human beings. 

In 1988 they started what would eventually become Homeboy Industries, which employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises. 

Each year, more than 10,000 former gang members from across Los Angeles come through Homeboy Industries’ doors in an effort to make a positive change. They are welcomed into a community of mutual kinship, love, and a wide variety of services ranging from tattoo removal to anger management and parenting classes.

Fr. Boyle is the author of the 2010 New York Times bestseller “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.” His second book, “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship,” was published in 2017. His third book, “The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness,” was released in fall 2021. A short book signing will be held in the Reilly Center following Fr. Boyle’s talk.

Fr. Boyle’s visit to campus is sponsored by BonaResponds, the Foster Center - School of Business, the Franciscan Center for Social Concern, Mt. Irenaeus, Student Development - Student Affairs, and University Ministries.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.