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Remembering Alfonso Gomez-Lobo (1940-2011)

The KIE recently lost a distinguished colleague and friend: Professor Alfonso Gomez-Lobo. Alfonso held the Ryan Chair in Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at Georgetown and was a Faculty Affiliate of the KIE. Born in Chile, he was an internationally renowned scholar of classical philosophy who taught at Georgetown beginning in 1977. Later in his career he developed an interest in bioethics, a discipline to which he brought his keen intellect, breadth of learning, and unwavering search for the truth. He rightly became a recognized figure in the field: his distinction was recognized by his appointment to the President’s Council on Bioethics and to the Pontifical Academy for Life. (The work of the President’s Council, including Alfonso’s oral and written contributions to it, can be accessed online through the Bioethics Research Library).

Alfonso has bequeathed many valuable publications, not least his lucid introduction to natural law theory, Morality and the Human Goods: An Introduction to Natural Law Ethics (Georgetown University Press, 2002). He graciously accepted an invitation to address the 2012 KIE Intensive Bioethics Course on the subject of ‘Natural Law and Principlism’, an occasion to which he, and we, were very much looking forward. Sadly, at the close of 2011 he succumbed to a protracted illness, an illness through which he had been sustained by his deep faith.

Apart from being one of Georgetown’s most impressive scholars, he was also one its best-loved. His natural humility belied his academic eminence. His kindness and concern for colleagues and students was exemplary. His natural cheerfulness, illustrated by his characteristic smile (see his photo in the Department of Philosophy’s memorial piece), brought warmth to the campus. His smile, scholarship and humanity will be sorely missed by many.

We offer our condolences to his beloved wife, Jimena, and to their family.