Retiring President Thomas M. Mengler leaves lasting mark

November 27, 2023

End of an era

by Nathaniel Miller

Not long after taking the position of president of St. Mary’s University, Thomas M. Mengler, J.D., was sharing his vision with the Board of Trustees when he quoted one of the most famous lines from the film Casablanca about how this was the beginning of a “beautiful friendship.”

President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D., and his wife, Mona Mengler, stand in the doorway of St. Louis Hall.
President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D., and his wife, Mona Mengler, stand in the doorway of St. Louis Hall.

That partnership of almost 12 years saw Mengler — the second most famous face of the University behind Rattler Man — sharing his vision with others while expanding on the University’s Catholic and Marianist traditions to continue educating servant leaders for future generations. 

Now, the indefatigable Mengler will start a new chapter when he retires on May 31, 2024.

Since June 1, 2012, Mengler has guided the University through some of the biggest moments in its 171-year history: from overseeing the largest fundraising campaign in St. Mary’s history, creating more than a dozen new degrees and certificates, strengthening community ties in San Antonio and bolstering the University’s emphasis on integrating Catholic Intellectual Tradition into the educational experience.

In the last decade, a new residence hall, the foundation of the Blank Sheppard Innovation Center, a Drone Lab, and the additions of The Pub at St. Mary’s, the Contreras Family Terrace and Student Lounge, and Alkek Plaza have changed the layout of the campus. Additionally, faculty have received millions of dollars in grants to expand research efforts and help students prepare for their future careers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mengler’s decision-making and communication while navigating an unprecedented series of events have been widely praised by members of faculty and trustees alike.

Mengler, along with his wife, Mona Mengler, leave behind lasting memories for those they encountered, many of whom extol the couple’s accomplishments across these pages.

“True leadership is about being humble enough to serve others and strong enough to do what’s right,” said Martin Beirne (J.D. ’69), St. Mary’s Trustee Emeritus. “And that is Tom Mengler.”

Read more about President Thomas M. Mengler's tenure at St. Mary's University

Outgoing president’s faith touted as benefit to University

Since being selected as the University’s 13th president, Thomas Mengler’s goal has been to make St. Mary’s not just a top-notch Catholic institution in the Southwest, but a premier university where people can “revitalize and expand” what makes exceptional Catholics and servant leaders.

Integrating Catholic Intellectual Tradition helps students become critical thinkers

Focusing on educating students to think beyond themselves, the core curriculum is instrumental to giving them a liberal arts education integrated with Catholic and Marianist values.

Big grants and revamped career services enhance the student experience

Through grants and a realigned career services office, the University’s faculty and staff continuously look to improve the college experience, give hands-on learning opportunities and pinpoint a vocation that aligns with students’ passions.

Mengler’s steadfast work helps The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign reach new heights

The success of St. Mary’s University’s largest campaign didn’t happen without President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D., logging thousands of miles, shaking hundreds of hands and emphatically sharing a vision about the future of its campus and schools.

Board Chair reflects on President Tom Mengler’s tenure

Nearly a dozen years of visionary leadership and unwavering dedication have reshaped St. Mary’s University under the guidance of President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D.

Presidential duo creates 12 memorable years at St. Mary’s helm

Since 2012, Tom and Mona Mengler have embraced St. Mary's University, the Marianist charism and San Antonio. The couple shares their thoughts on what the University's community has meant to them.

St. Mary’s community speaks about Tom and Mona Mengler’s tenure

As Thomas M. Mengler, J.D., prepares to retire as the 13th president of St. Mary’s University, those who worked closest with him and his wife share their thoughts on the couple.

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