The death of the Reverend Peter J. Gomes has sparked an outpouring of emotion from those who knew him both at Harvard and across the country. This post highlights statements issued today in memory of Gomes, who died yesterday following complications from a stroke.
"No one epitomizes all that is good about Harvard more than Peter J. Gomes."—Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr.
"Peter Gomes was a unique individual and beloved friend. A gifted preacher and raconteur, a storied teacher, an urbane and generous host, a kind friend and prophetic voice, he led the community of worshipers at Harvard’s Memorial Church and scholars at Harvard Divinity School and beyond for decades. He taught so many that faith is not just what you say you believe, but how you live. His loss is profound for so many, including Diane and me. Our hearts go out to the Memorial Church congregation, to the entire Harvard community, and to his family and neighbors in his beloved Plymouth."—Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick '78
"He was a scholar, a preacher, a teacher, and a public intellectual who brought religion into politics in ways that illumined our thought. At important moments, he stood up for things that mattered—for freedom, for liberty, and for equality. He was a world-renowned preacher, a powerful preacher with an international following. So many loved him and were inspired by him."—Memorial Church Associate Minister and longtime friend Dorothy A. Austin
"In his time here, Professor Gomes witnessed the evolution of Harvard as a spiritual community. From the divisions of the 1960s, which he experienced firsthand as a student at the Divinity School, to today’s immense diversity of belief, Professor Gomes, through his generous spirit and moral vision, ministered to all, whatever their particular faith.
"Peter was recognized as one of our nation’s most distinguished preachers, a best-selling author who participated in the inauguration of two United States presidents. To generations of Harvard students, he was a wise counselor and an admired teacher who presided at every Commencement. To many of his faculty colleagues, he was a cherished conversationalist and a steadfast advocate of Harvard’s best traditions. But to me, and I suspect to many others, Professor Gomes was first and foremost a trusted advisor and a true friend."—University President Drew G. Faust
"It was often times hard to see Peter’s faith come through in his public persona at Harvard ... I was very struck that at the core of it all was this very strong Christan faith. The more you got to know him, the more you got to see that deep faith"—Jonathan C. Page '02, former Epps Fellow at Memorial Church
Please feel free to use the comments section below to share your memories of Reverend Gomes.