This is Greehey’s latest in a series of major gifts to St. Mary’s. In 2005, his $25 million gift resulted in the naming of the Greehey School of Business and funded innovative academic and scholarship programs to attract world-class faculty and students. He also gave $1 million to help revamp the MBA program in 2012 and $1 million last year to further develop the Greehey Scholars program.
“Mr. Greehey has been a friend of St. Mary’s University for more than 50 years,” said President Thomas Mengler, J.D. “He never fails to give our faculty and staff the support and encouragement needed to educate our gifted students for successful careers of servant leadership.”
The Greehey Scholars Program blends traditional learning methods with hands-on leadership training. The scholars are involved in all aspects of the St. Mary’s community, and they learn to be ethical leaders through business interaction experiences as well as community service with organizations such as Each One Teach One, San Antonio Youth Literacy, St. Vincent de Paul’s, Habitat for Humanity and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. Scholars also participate in fundraisers, retreats, internship opportunities, professional development events and service-immersion trips.
“This program has allowed a great number of our students to learn from local, national and international business leaders, graduate with honors and then immediately step into sought-after jobs,” said Dean Tanuja Singh, D.B.A. “Greehey Scholars are on the cutting edge of their fields of expertise, but they’re also dedicated to the community and the common good.”
Since the program began in 2006, the directors and scholars have molded the program to improve the experience for students and to increasingly echo the Marianist traditions of faith formation, integral quality education, family spirit, working for service, justice and peace, and adaption and change.
More about Bill Greehey, from his bio
Greehey served as the founding CEO of Valero Energy Corp. for 32 years before the spinoff of NuStar in 2006. In addition to the gifts mentioned above, he and Valero employees also established the $1.5 million Greehey Endowed Chair of Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility at St. Mary’s. The Greehey School of Business has been consistently ranked among the Best Business Schools in the Nation by the Princeton Review.
Greehey also gives much of his time and service to St. Mary’s, having served on its Board of Trustees and led fundraising initiatives to help transform the University. These efforts included a capital campaign to build the Alumni Athletics & Convocation Center in 2000, which included a $1 million personal gift from Greehey. He also led a campaign to raise $4 million to beautify and restore the historic campus.
In 2008, he led the effort to secure $6 million in funding through the Bexar County venue tax vote to help build The Park at St. Mary’s outdoor sports complex. Based on his decades-long support of the University and his professional and civic achievements over the years, Greehey has received the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and an honorary doctorate (the Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa).
Growing up in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Greehey dreamed of a college education, but he was raised in a poor, working-class family that could not afford to send him to college. In fact, no one from his family or neighborhood had ever gone to college. So after he graduated from high school, he joined the Air Force so that he could go to college on the GI Bill. After four years of military service, he put himself through St. Mary’s University and achieved numerous academic honors while working nights and weekends parking cars at the Nix Hospital to support his young family.
After college, he went on to a renowned business career in which he directed Valero’s growth from a small, regional natural gas company into the largest refining company in North America, which was ranked No. 15 on the Fortune 500 when he retired as CEO at the close of 2005. As Chairman of NuStar Energy, Greehey led its separation from Valero, and under his leadership, NuStar has also achieved dramatic growth and success.