The St. Mary’s University Alumni Association recognized four outstanding graduates at its annual Distinguished Alumni Dinner on Thursday. This year’s honorees were Herman A. Ahr (B.B.A. ’62), J. Christopher McGuire III (B.A. ’67), the Rev. Joseph A. Tarrillion, S.M. (B.A. ’55), and Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Alfred A. Valenzuela (B.A. ’70, M.A. ’79).
About the honorees:
Ahr is center manager of the Output Solutions Division at Fidelity National Information Services. He graduated in 1962 with a degree in accounting, after being attracted to the St. Mary’s dedication to service, something his parents had instilled in him. “St. Mary’s was a good fit for me because of the things I learned from my parents and the school’s emphasis on service,” Ahr said. He is active in Fiesta Oyster Bake is often credited with having the vision to make Oyster Bake an organized and profitable scholarship fundraising event for the Alumni Association. In fact, he was named Volunteer of the Year by the Texas Festivals and Events Association in 2003. Ahr is a past member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, and is a founding member of the Special Olympics of San Antonio. He has volunteered at numerous churches in San Antonio, and is a past chair of the Debt Financing Committee of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
J. Christopher McGuire III
McGuire is a senior vice president of business banking at Broadway National Bank. He graduated in 1967 with a mathematics degree, and since the 1980s has been involved with Oyster Bake in various capacities. It is his belief in the value of education that drives his dedication to the bake, which raising money for scholarships. “As you grow older, you realize education is the key to everything,” he said. McGuire is a past president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and has served on the University’s Board of Trustees. He has volunteered extensively for the Archdiocese, serving as a member of the various committees. He currently serves on the Hope for the Future Committee, which raises money and awareness of Catholic grammar and high schools in the Archdiocese. McGuire has also volunteered with the Children-In-Need Foundation, the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and SAMM.
The Rev. Joseph A. Tarrillion, S.M.
Tarrillion prepared most of his life for his current role as president of Central Catholic High School. A graduate of Central Catholic, he went on to profess his Marianist vows, and then attended St. Mary’s, graduating with an English degree in 1955. “St. Mary’s has had a lifelong influence on my role as an educator. From my experience socializing with the Marianists as a boy and young man to being a student at Central Catholic High School and then at St. Mary’s as a young brother, St. Mary’s and the Society of Mary has formed me,” Tarrillion said. His teaching career spanned high schools in Missouri and Wisconsin before be returned to San Antonio as a visiting professor in the St. Mary’s Department of Theology. During his years at St. Mary’s, he filled many roles, including chair of the Theology Department, Executive Director to the Marianist Forum and the Marianist representative to the University’s Board of Trustees. In 1993, he was asked to become president of Central Catholic, where he has put in place a revised curriculum, increased enrollment and led successful fundraising campaigns.
Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Alfred A. Valenzuela, U.S. Army
Valenzuela grew up on San Antonio’s West Side and always planned to attend St. Mary’s, following in his father’s footsteps. He was commissioned from the St. Mary’s ROTC as a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1970 and headed to the U.S. Army. His 33-year military career took him to places such as Kuwait, Peru, Colombia, Somalia, Korea and Turkey. He spent three years as commander of the United States Army South, and has earned numerous awards and distinctions including the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star for Valor, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and the Humanitarian Services Medal. His retirement in 2004 led to another career of service as a civilian volunteer and mentor especially for his alma mater and as an author. “I didn’t really pick up on what St. Mary’s means to me and what the Marianist vision meant until I came back as a civilian. Now I want to do all I can to help others have the same opportunity to take advantage of a high-quality Catholic education,” Valenzuela said.