Dr. Joseph A. Colombo came to the University of San Diego in 1984 while completing his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. Over the next 27 years, he taught courses in philosophical theology and beyond, including Belief and Unbelief, The Problem of God, Jesus of Hollywood, Gay and Lesbian Voices, The English Reformation, and Matthew and Mark. Dr. Colombo challenged his students to demonstrate intellectual curiosity and the highest standards of academic rigor. He modeled those qualities himself. His research was as varied as his teaching; he published on epistemology, theodicy, liberation theology, among other topics.
In 1997, Dr. Colombo was named a University Professor and nine years later, he was recognized with the Clarence L. Steber Professorship. He served multiple terms on the University Senate and Committee on Rank, Re-appointment, and Tenure of the College of Arts and Sciences. Also, Dr. Colombo was active in the American Association of University Professors at local, state, and national levels. From 1998 – 2004, he served as Chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.
Dr. Colombo strove to create a welcoming and respectful campus environment for all students and had a particular commitment to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students. He helped to establish GLBT organizations for undergraduates (SAESO, later PRIDE) and law students (BGLLSA, later PRIDELAW).
Personally, Dr. Colombo was a man of incomparable compassion and charity, matched by his modesty in not revealing how deeply he cared for others. He loved the opera, his cats, and whimsical neckties. He will be remembered for his generosity, brilliant intellect, and wicked sense of humor.
In remembrance of Dr. Colombo, the College of Arts and Sciences is establishing the Dr. Joseph A. Colombo Memorial Award in Theology and Religious Studies. This monetary award will be given annually to a senior majoring in Theology and Religious Studies and pursuing graduate work in the field. Students must be dedicated to academic excellence, community service, and leadership. In addition to receiving the Dr. Joseph A. Colombo Memorial Award in Theology and Religious Studies, the student will have his/her name inscribed on a plaque which will be displayed prominently in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.
Contributions, in any amount, are being accepted and 100% tax deductible. Gifts may be made via cash, check, credit card (American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover) and stock. Individuals who make a gift to the Dr. Joseph A. Colombo Memorial Award in Theology and Religious Studies will receive a receipt acknowledging their generosity.
For information about making a gift to the Dr. Joseph A. Colombo Memorial Award in Theology and Religious Studies, please contact Valerie Attisha, Director of Development, College of Arts and Sciences, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (619) 260-6890.
Thank you for supporting and honoring Dr. Colombo’s legacy at USD.