St. Mary's University Center for Catholic Studies Presents Finding Common Ground for the Common Good

As a part of St. Mary’s University’s commitment to seeking opportunities for dialogue to work together in the best interest of our community, the Center for Catholic Studies presents a panel discussion bringing together public servants with years of experience navigating difficult discussions and tackling tough topics, working together with others to serve the Common Good. They are role models for finding common ground with people who differ in their opinions or perspectives. Learn from these experts about some of the challenges and opportunities that face all of us who want to engage in responsible citizenship and build a better world.

As a Community, How Can We Help People Who Are Experiencing Homelessness?

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024
7 to 8:30 p.m.
University Center, Conference Room A

Moderated by Thomas Mengler, J.D., President, St. Mary’s University


  • Nelson Wolff (B.B.A. ’66, J.D. ’66), University Distinguished Service Professor, St. Mary’s University, and former Bexar County Judge 

    Judge Nelson Wolff, Pivoting featured image

    Nelson Wolff (B.B.A. ’66, J.D. ’66) is a retired judge and Democratic politician from San Antonio.

    He represented Bexar County in the Texas House of Representatives from 1971 to 1973 and the Texas Senate from 1973 to 1975. He served on the San Antonio City Council from 1987 to 1991 and then as mayor of San Antonio from 1991 to 1995. He served as Bexar County judge from 2001 until 2022.

    This January, Wolff was appointed as University Distinguished Service Professor at St. Mary’s University.

  • U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, Texas 20th Congressional District 

    Congressman Joaquin Castro has represented San Antonio in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2013. Born and raised on the city’s West Side, he is a product of San Antonio’s public schools. Before his election to Congress, he served five terms in the Texas House of Representatives, where he was at the forefront of legislative reforms in mental health, teen pregnancy and juvenile justice. In Congress, his work focuses on what he calls the “Infrastructure of Opportunity” – the great public schools and universities, sound health care system, and good jobs that allow people to pursue their American dreams.  

  • Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio

    Ron Nirenberg is the mayor of San Antonio, which has the seventh largest population in the United States and is one of the nation’s fastest growing cities. Nirenberg is the first San Antonio Mayor of Asian Pacific Islander descent. His mother is Filipino, and his paternal grandparents were immigrants from Eastern Europe who passed through Ellis Island. Through his personal experiences, Nirenberg developed a core commitment to civic participation and the universal values of liberty, justice and equal opportunity for every person.  

  • Kim Jefferies, Haven for Hope President and CEO

    Kim Jefferies has worked in the nonprofit industry for 22 years. She has served as a community leader for The Nonprofit Council, United Way, Headstart, Autism Lifeline Links, as a mentor for the San Antonio Area Foundation and in various other roles. Jefferies was also named as a Top 40 Under 40 (2012), a Woman of Impact (2020), and a Top CEO (2021) by the San Antonio Business Journal. 

  • Genevieve Hébert Fajardo, Clinical Professor of Law

    Genevieve Hébert Fajardo, J.D., teaches the Consumer Protection Clinic, Deceptive Trade Practices, and Deposition Skills at St. Mary’s University. Her clinic work and scholarship focus on deceptive sales practices in marginalized communities, especially home sales and mortgages in South Texas. Hébert Fajardo uses her academic work to advocate for legislative reform on issues important to low-income Texans, including contract for deed reform and landlord-tenant issues.    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she started the St. Mary’s Housing Hotline in collaboration with the St. Mary’s Pro Bono Program and Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. Prior to St. Mary’s University, Professor Fajardo taught in the Housing Rights Clinic at Hofstra Law School, and was Executive Director of Shelter Legal Services (now Veterans Legal Services) in Boston, Massachusetts.   

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