The Most Rev. José H. Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Loyola Marymount University in recognition of his dedication to social justice and the future of Catholic education on Tuesday, Jan. 30, in the university’s Ahmanson Auditorium.
Archbishop Gomez, who oversees the nation’s largest Catholic archdiocese and serves as vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was honored for his commitment to public service and for exemplifying LMU’s highest values. He plays a leading role in the Catholic Church’s efforts to promote immigration reform, and advocates for the leadership of Hispanics and women in the church as a founding member of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders.
“Archbishop Gomez is a champion of human rights, social justice, and Catholic education. He espouses love and upholds the dignity of society’s most vulnerable citizens,” said LMU President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D. “His heart knows no borders and his transformative leadership impacts the Catholic community of Los Angeles and beyond. We are privileged to bestow LMU’s highest honor upon this courageous and compassionate man of God.”
The archbishop’s visit to LMU, sponsored by the Academy of Catholic Thought and Imagination, was part of a yearlong conversation titled, “The Idea of the Catholic University in the 21st Century.”
“This is a real honor for me and I am humbled,” said Archbishop Gomez. “Our Catholic colleges and universities shape the future leaders of our nation, giving them the educational tools and values to make a positive impact in our society. This is a historic moment in history and institutions, such as LMU, have an important role to play.”
Following the degree conferral, the archbishop offered reflections on the challenges and opportunities of Catholic higher education and joined a question-and-answer conversation with John Sebastian, LMU vice president of mission and ministry, and Jeanne Ortiz, dean of students. Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Coelho ’64, also attended.
Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Archbishop Gomez was ordained a priest in 1978 and holds undergraduate degrees in accounting, philosophy and theology and a doctoral degree in theology. He has also served as the archbishop of San Antonio and the auxiliary bishop of Denver.