Nine new members will join the St. Mary’s University’s Board of Trustees. The new members are made up of alumni, philanthropic business leaders and members of the Marianist community.
About the Board Members:
Ruben M. Escobedo (B.B.A ’60)previously served on the Board from 2001 to 2008; he was Chairman of the Board from 2006 to 2008. He is a St. Mary’s alumnus receiving his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1960 and was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus in 1976.Escobedo also currently serves on the Valero Energy Corp. and Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. boards of directors. He is chairman of the Board of the Historical Centre Foundation and serves on boards for the National Catholic Education Association, Catholic Community Foundation and United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. In addition, he is a former trustee for CPS Energy. He managed his own company, Ruben Escobedo & Co. CPA, until he retired after 30 years in 2006.
Harvey E. Najim is the Chief Executive Officer of Sirius Computer Solutions, but is also nationally known for his philanthropic efforts. In 2006, Najim established the Harvey E. Najim Family Foundation to help children’s organizations in the greater San Antonio area that advance education, medical treatment, medical research for illnesses and diseases, and other charitable purposes. Najim exemplifies servant leadership. To date, he has personally donated more than $75 million to the Foundation. Najim was recognized by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in their list of top philanthropists – “The Philanthropy 50: Americans Who Gave the Most in 2007.” He was also named to BusinessWeek’s 2008 list of the 50 Top American Givers. Locally, he was honored with the 2008 Louis H. Zbinden Jr. Award for making a significant impact in the community. More recently, he was inducted into the San Antonio Business Hall of Fame and received the Boysville Arthur O’Krent Humanitarian Award.
Michael Casseb (J.D. ‘ 76)is the sole practitioner in the law firm, Casseb & Casseb, started with his late father, Paul E. Casseb Sr. (B.A. and J.D. ’41), who passed away in August 2007. Casseb’s family has a long connection to St. Mary’s University with many attending as undergraduates or the School of Law. The Casseb family was among the core families of Lebanese immigrants who established San Antonio’s St. George Maronite Catholic Church. The Maronite Rite is an Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church in which the Mass is conducted partly in Arabic.
Jeffrey Davis (J.D. ’91) is president of the St. Mary’s Law Alumni Association. Davis started his law career as a trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice. In 1994, he went to work for a year as an attorney with Thornton Summers. He has also been a partner in the White & Davis law firm and in Malaise & Davis LLP. He now runs the Davis Law Firm in San Antonio with offices in New Mexico, Nebraska and Kansas.
James Forkenbrock (B.A. ’63) is also currently serving as president of the Alumni Association. He was appointed to the Alumni Board to fill an unexpired term before serving as treasurer of the Alumni Association from 2003 to 2008. Also during that time he served on the Investment Committee of the St. Mary’s Board of Trustees. Forkenbrock is a past chairman of the Alumni Association Scholarship Committee and as Alumni Association president he also serves on the Fiesta Oyster Bake Executive Committee. After 40 years of working in the Iowa School System, Forkenbrock retired and relocated to San Antonio with his wife, Carol. Forkenbrock was the mayor of Edgewood, Iowa for eight years.
Joining the Board ex officio from the Marianist community will be Rev. Martin A. Solma, S.M., U.S. Provincial. As the U.S. Provincial, Solma will serve as Chancellor of St. Mary’s University. Solma grew up in Cleveland and has ministered in Eastern Africa since 1982. His long experience in Africa has sensitized him to the differences among cultures and to the poor. It has also provided him a fertile field for understanding change and for faithfully developing Marianist life and apostolic action. Solma was ordained in 1978 in Dayton, Ohio. He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and English in 1971 from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree in religious education in 1975 from Boston College. In 1979, Solma received a master of divinity degree from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto.
Brother Joseph Kamis, S.M., Assistant U.S. Provincial, is also joining ex officio. Kamis was previously the superintendent of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati; a post he had held since 2002. A Cleveland native, Kamis holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Dayton and a master’s in educational administration and supervision from John Carroll University in Cleveland. He’s held numerous leadership positions over the years, including in 1993 and 1994 in Dayton, when he directed the Bergamo Center.
Returning to the Board will be Rev. James F. Fitz, S.M. He also serves on the St. Mary’s Board of Trustees and the Association of Marianist Universities (AMU). The AMU is a collaborative effort of Chaminade University of Honolulu, St Mary’s University and the University of Dayton to promote information sharing, mutual enrichment and development and shared learning on the Marianist tradition of higher education. Fitz previously was the director of Campus Ministry at the University of Dayton and now serves on Dayton’s Board. Fitz is a member of the Corporation at St. John Vianney High School, St. Louis, Mo.
Also returning to the Board is Brother William Campbell, S.M., presently the associate executive director of the Elementary School Department of the National Catholic Education Association. Previously, he served as assistant superintendent for personnel and technology for the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., as well as assistant provincial and director of education for the Marianist Province of the Pacific in California. In addition, while in California, he served as the principal of Chaminade College Preparatory in West Hills, academic assistant principal in San Francisco, and religion teacher and counselor at Serra High School. Earlier in his career, he served in Marianist high schools in Brooklyn and Mineola, New York and at Charlotte Catholic High School in North Carolina. Campbell has earned a doctorate in education administration, three master’s degrees in private school administration, theology and counseling education, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Campbell has been on numerous boards including St. Mary’s, the University of Dayton, and Chaminade University in Honolulu, where he also served as the chairman of the Board.
St. Mary’s is grateful to the outgoing Board members for their guidance and dedicated service: Charles Barrett Jr., David Biegler, Clem Lyons, Brother Stephen Glodek, S.M. and Brother Richard Dix, S.M.