Meet our Featured Speaker and Guest Honoree
Antonio “T.J.” Martinez, S.J. ’92, MDiv/ThM’07
The Alumni Ignatian Award recognizes an individual who lives the mission of "men and women for others.” This year the award will be presented to Antonio “T.J.” Martinez, S.J., ’92, MDiv/ThM’07 at the 63rd annual Laetare Sunday Celebration at Boston College on March 30.
Fr. Martinez is the founding president of Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston, Texas. Launched in August 2009, Cristo Rey Jesuit is an innovative, game-changing Jesuit high school that combines a rigorous college prep program with a part-time salaried job, exclusively serving children living at or below the poverty line. In four short years, Fr. Martinez and his leadership team have grown the student population from 80 to more than 460; added partnerships with 135 blue-ribbon corporations so that every student has a job; purchased a nine-acre embattled facility and renovated it into an architectural award-winning 21st-century educational institution; and raised over $22 million to fund the operating and capital projects of the school, including a new Jesuit residence and a new community center. In June 2013, Cristo Rey Jesuit graduated its first class, all of whom were accepted into college.
Fr. Martinez has earned five degrees, including three degrees from Boston College, a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, and a graduate degree from Harvard University. At Harvard, he received the 2008 “Harvard Intellectual Contribution & Faculty Tribute Award” and was selected as a student speaker at graduation. In 2010, Fr. Martinez was inducted into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, a papal knighthood, for founding Cristo Rey Jesuit. In 2012, Houston’s Papercity magazine named him one of the four “new influencers” in the city. And in 2013, the Phi Beta Kappa Society recognized him with the “Outstanding Contribution to Education Award” for launching a new model of school reform in Houston. Fr. Martinez serves on multiple boards including boards at Boston College, Rice University, Family Way/United Way, and the Holocaust Museum of Houston, and he is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum.
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