King University Observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Founder of Homeboy Industries Father Greg Boyle

Jan 9, 2020 | King University

BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 09, 2020 — Boundless compassion. Radical kinship. Extravagant tenderness. Not terms that you would expect to hear when discussing gang violence, mass incarceration, or a period of time in U.S. history known as the “decade of death.”

It’s exactly that contrast, though, that has enabled the lifelong work of Father Greg Boyle to flourish.

Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, will join the Bristol community to present the Institute for Faith & Culture’s 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Lecture. On Monday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m., Boyle will present “The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness” at Lee Street Baptist Church in Bristol, Virginia. On Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 10 a.m., he will present “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship” in King’s Memorial Chapel on the Bristol campus. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Father Boyle’s work to integrate gentleness and restore respect in communities struggling with violence is a beautiful reflection of Dr. King’s vision of wholeness for society, and we’re delighted to welcome him for this year’s observance,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the Institute. “Father Boyle’s work began at the very center of an area known for conflict, aggression, murder, and retribution, and he has since helped restore hope and community to many thousands here in the U.S. and abroad.”

Boyle founded Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles in 1988, with a goal of providing job training and support services for the thousands of individuals transitioning away from gang affiliation, out of the prison system, and back into the workforce and community. Today, Homeboy offers education, counseling, tattoo removal, job training, and more in a transformational — and restorative — business model that is being replicated across the globe.

As part of the event, two members of Homeboy Industries will join Boyle in Bristol, sharing their experiences of God’s redemptive love.

“Father Gregory models Dr. King’s call to justice and compassion, and his work bears witness to the power of love in the most difficult circumstances,” Dotterweich said. “We’re delighted to learn from him, as well as members of the Homeboy Industries community, and proud to be part of Bristol’s annual celebration of Dr. King’s life.”

A Jesuit priest, Boyle received his bachelor of arts in English from Gonzaga University, a master of arts in English from Loyola Marymount University, and advanced theology degrees from The Weston School of Theology and the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, awards, and recognitions, including being named as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and receiving the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, the oldest honor presented to American Catholics, in 2017.

He is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” and most recently published “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.”

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609.



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