Defining Moment: Alumnus helps next group of STEM students

Science and Tech
March 25, 2022

Paving paths to science  

by Nathaniel Miller 

Robert Massie, (B.A.M. ’07, M.S. ’14), D.Sc., lives by a simple hierarchy: at the top is service to God, followed by friends and family and, finally, himself.  

Robert Massie

As a Catholic, serving God comes naturally to Massie. When talking about friends and family, he lights up. But when asked to talk about himself, Massie tends to focus on the accomplishments of others.  

When the senior software engineer at USAA discusses how St. Mary’s University impacted his life, however, 
he’s practically radiant. 

His willingness to serve others coincides with the Marianist mission at St. Mary’s. Massie, who has donated multiple gifts to the University, will tell you he did so simply to serve others. 

“I just want to help people,” Massie said. “You don’t do this to tell everybody, ‘Hey, look at me.’” 

Gifts of support 

One gift will go toward the new Innovation Center for the School of Science, Engineering and Technology expected to break ground this year. Another funded an endowed athletic scholarship available to student-athletes in any sport. 

While the athletic scholarship bears his name, he said both gifts were made in memory of his mother, Maria del Carmen Flores Massie, who he said was a big supporter of higher education.  

“My mom was very proud of me for graduating. She didn’t see me get my master’s or my doctorate, but she saw me get my bachelor’s from St. Mary’s,” he said.  

For the athletic scholarship, Massie said his mother’s love of sports inspired him.  

I just want to help people.

Robert Massie

The Innovation Center gift comes because Massie spent a lot of time in the School of Science, Engineering and Technology buildings while pursuing his master’s in Computer Science.  

“If it weren’t for Professor Douglas Hall taking me aside, I wouldn’t be here today,” Massie said. “If it weren’t for Professor Carol Redfield saying I could get my doctorate, I probably wouldn’t have done it. This University changed my life.”  

As St. Mary’s looks to its future, Massie said he hopes people — especially women — will continue to explore futures in STEM fields. 

“How many women in STEM are there? There are not a lot,” Massie said. “So, I decided to give, hopefully, a transformative legacy in my mom’s name.” 

Discover More Defining Moments

Defining Moment: St. Mary’s shares gratitude for a mission made real

In this Gold & Blue, you will hear from several generous men and women who helped achieve what so many believed impossible — a fundraising campaign 10 times greater than any prior St. Mary’s University campaign and larger than all previous campaigns combined.

The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign succeeds in bringing the University’s vision to life

The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign gifts fund scholarships, endowed professorships, world-class facilities, academic programs and research.

Defining Moment: CEO’s scholarship supports women in business

Lynda Ellis knows the business world can be tough. But the lessons learned at St. Mary's University have helped her in her career, and she wants to help future women leaders a chance to succeed.

Defining Moment: Couple provides scholarship for those in need

Sally Scholz said her late husband Charles Scholz, would never have been able to get where he did in life without St. Mary's University.

Defining Moment: Gift to help fund innovation center

Growing up, John Sieffert didn’t stay in one place for long because of his father's job. Eventually, he found his way to St. Mary's.

Defining Moment: Alumnus hopes to fuel growth of beloved program

Earning three degrees at St. Mary's University, Juan Valadez Jr., said it's his turn to give back to incoming students to help their education.

Defining Moment: Former trustee wants to see programs continue to evolve

Robert "Bob" Elizondo knows to keep up you have to change with the world, and he wants St. Mary's to keep up with technology.

Defining Moment: Alumna names scholarship after Marianist mentor

RaSheeda Keir hopes to give future generations a change at the same success she had while attending St. Mary's University.

Defining Moment: Alumnus credits mission for his success

When Charles T. Barrett Jr. (B.B.A. ’62) decided to enroll at St. Mary’s University, he did so wanting to get back to a school with Marianist teachings.  

Defining Moment: Couple sees sense in togetherness

Leticia "Leti Contreras and Thomas "Tom" Contreras believe the community experience at St. Mary's University is what makes it so special.

Defining Moment: Alumnus hopes to give students a chance

When asked about his defining moment at St. Mary’s University, Antonio “Tony” Sanchez Jr. (B.B.A. ’65, J.D. ’69) paused for a moment before answering, “economics.”  

Defining Moment: Bill Greehey’s gifts fund multiple ventures

As the largest donor in St. Mary’s history, Bill Greehey has continuously shared his success to benefit students.

Back to top