Faculty excellence propels St. Mary’s to be the finest

Arts and Humanities
November 19, 2019

Our history. Our Moment. Our vision to be the finest.

Faculty excellence drives the successful outcomes for students and the St. Mary’s University community. The short story and quotes below illuminate how faculty members continue to shine through gifts to The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign.

Professor’s dedication to students pays dividends

Todd Hanneken stands outside Blume Library.

Todd R. Hanneken, Ph.D., Chair of the Theology Department, described the “Defining Moment” as “every moment we go out of our way to do more than the minimum or more than our jobs require to help students.”

He recently helped an 88-year-old student, who wasn’t previously able to finish a degree program. “She doesn’t have a computer and she doesn’t live in San Antonio. We said, ‘This is someone who wants to know what we have to teach, and we’re going to accommodate the student.”

For another student, a veteran who wanted to study Theology, Hanneken worked to see if the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would fund studying Theology at the graduate level. “For that student, it was a big step in his career.”


David Sommer chats with two Finance and Risk Management students.

My life was transformed because a St. Mary’s professor saw in me more than I saw in myself, and cared enough to spend the time necessary to get me to see my potential. The most rewarding aspect of my job is being able to play a part in the transformational process our students undergo here. To assist our students as they develop into promising young professionals and genuinely good people is an honor that I never take for granted.”David Sommer, Ph.D. (B.B.A. ’89), Charles E. Cheever Chair of Risk Management

Rudy Martinez stands in the School of Business.

I’ve been all around the continent, to places like Montreal, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago and New Orleans for conferences and competitions. I always come back with a different perspective. I feel like I have to give back to others now.” — Rudy Martinez, Finance and Risk Management senior from Laredo

Olivia Bachelet sits in the School of Business.

Our professors and donors to the Risk Management Student Success Fund, Tom and Leti Contreras, have helped instill that sense of, ‘I can do this.’ I feel ready and confident to make a difference in the world.” — Olivia Bachelet, Finance and Risk Management senior from Colorado

Fernanda Sandoval is in a School of Business class.

I enjoy the diverse faculty’s backgrounds. Seeing people from around the world in the Greehey School of Business showed me how broad St. Mary’s is.” — Fernanda Sandoval, Finance and Risk Management senior and Greehey Scholar from El Salvador

Alicia Tait stands inside Assumption Chapel.

The Defining Moment is believing what is possible, seeing the little light bulbs go on and realizing all the things we talked about are real.” — Alicia Cordoba Tait, D.M.A., Beirne Director of the Center for Catholic Studies and Professor of Music

Read more about what the campaign means to our students and faculty through these stories:

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