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Gonzaga Mourns Passing of Fr. J. Alfred Carroll, S.J.; Known for Helping Asian, Amerasian Students

Posted on September 16, 2013 in: Academics, Faculty & Staff, Faith, Feature Stories, Service, Spotlight

Father J. Alfred Carroll, S.J. Photo by Rajah Bose.

SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University mourns the passing of Rev. J. Alfred Carroll, S.J., who died Sept. 11 at Regis Jesuit residence. He was 84. Born in Seattle on Oct. 26, 1928, he graduated from Seattle Preparatory School and in 1946 entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sheridan, Ore. He was ordained a priest on July 31, 1959 in Frankfurt, Germany. 

Following ordination, Father Carroll taught at Seattle Prep and Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma, Wash.); at Bellarmine he also served as vice-principal and principal. Rev. Carroll came to Gonzaga in 1972, and served students, faculty and administration in a variety of capacities throughout his long career. His positions included assistant professor of classical languages, and associate dean and acting dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

In the mid-1970s, after the end of the Vietnam War, Fr. Carroll saw a special need to assist refugees from Vietnam and began a program to help them. The plight of the Amerasians (children of Vietnamese/Korean mothers and American fathers) became a particular concern to Fr. Carroll, who helped hundreds of these young people come to the United States and more than 100 come directly to Gonzaga as students. In 1980, Fr. Carroll established the Korean American Fund, which helped Amerasian students with tuition and living expenses. He successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Amerasian Homecoming Act of 1982. For his tireless advocacy, Fr. Carroll was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Gonzaga in 1987. His work inspired Gonzaga’s English Language Center. 

“His influential work and its lasting impact will be remembered for many years to come,” said Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh. “Father Carroll’s life and ministry leaves an incredible legacy.”

Click the following link to read a 2011 Gonzaga Magazine story titled “Father Carroll’s Kids.”

A vigil will be held at 7 p.m., today (Monday, Sept. 16) at the Jesuit House Chapel at Gonzaga. His funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 17 at St. Aloysius Church with a burial to follow. Notes of condolence may be sent to Fr. Carroll’s sister Joanne Sullivan at 533 Kelly Ct., Lombard, Ill., 60148.

  1. Don Clarke
    Posted September 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    For so many Vietnamese students and families Fr. Carroll SJ was the face of the Church and the United States. Their relationship on campus was that of cub and mother bear. He was a voice advocating for opportunity and fairness. Many ancestors will be meeting Fr. Carroll SJ as he is welcomed into heaven the same way he paved the way for so many GU students and their families. His work, inspirational in light of today’s immigrants seeking a better life, is a Jesuit light for many.