Bishop Oscar A. Solis, the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, is among this year's recipients of the "Great Immigrant, Great American" award presented by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
The Carnegie Corporation is one of the nation's oldest grantmaking foundations, established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie. In honor of Carnegie, a Scottish immigrant, every July 4 since 2006 the corporation has recognized an "extraordinary group of immigrants who have made notable contributions to the progress of American society," according to the organization's website.
As the bishop of Salt Lake City, he has "worked to support immigrants and other marginalized communities while vigorously advocating for immigration reform," the Carnegie website said.
Born in San Jose City, Philippines, Bishop Solis became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1999 and was the first Filipino American bishop ordained in the U.S.
Appointed by St. John Paul II as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Dec. 11, 2003, he was ordained a bishop Feb. 10, 2004. He served as an L.A. auxiliary until 2017, when he was named to head the Salt Lake City Diocese. He also is a board member and former chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs.
Ordained a priest for the Diocese of Cabanatuan. Philippines, April 28, 1979, then-Father Solis served as a priest in the Archdiocese of Manila, then became a chaplain and professor at Araullo Lyceum University in Cabanatuan, and was the rector of the diocesan high school and college seminary.
In 1984 he emigrated to the United States and became an associate pastor at St. Rocco Church in Union City in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, before being assigned to the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana. There he served for nine years, first as an associate pastor, then as pastor of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church, Golden Meadow and of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral & St. Luke Church in Thibodaux.
Bishop Solis joins 34 other naturalized U.S. citizens as 2023 recipients of the "Great Immigrant, Great American" award, which this year highlights "the work of immigrants who have fostered opportunities for others through their work as educators, mentors, philanthropists, job creators, public servants, storytellers and advocates" according to the Carnegie website.
The honorees include two Nobel Prize laureates, an Olympian, a member of Congress, an advocate for diversity in technology and artificial intelligence, a university president, an immigration advocate, a leading American historian, and celebrities such Elle magazine editor-in -chief and TV personality Nina Garcia, bestselling novelist Min Jin Lee, seven-time Grammy Award winner Alanis Morissette, Hollywood star Pedro Pascal and Academy Award winner Ke Huy Quan.
This year's award recipients were announced June 28 and were featured in a full-page New York Times advertisement July 4.
"The Great Immigrants initiative is a tribute to the legacy of Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish immigrant who, like these honorees, found success in America, contributed enormously to his adopted country, and inspired others to do the same," said Dame Louise Richardson, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. She is a naturalized citizen who first came to the United States from Ireland as a graduate student.
"The 35 naturalized citizens honored today embody that tradition, reminding us that the contributions of immigrants make our country more vibrant and our democracy more resilient," Richardson said.
Past recipients of the "Great Immigrant, Great American" award have included chef and humanitarian José Andrés, musician David Byrne, designer Diane von Furstenberg, Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan, television host Padma Lakshmi, novelist Yaa Gyasi, and Hall of Fame baseball player Mariano Rivera, along with numerous Nobel Prize winners, entrepreneurs, artists, scholars and public servants.