Gifts that support

Five years ago, we announced The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign with a goal of $130 million — a fundraising campaign 10 times greater than any prior St. Mary’s University campaign and larger than all previous campaigns combined.  

Some said this was an impossible goal. But we believed. 

Now, we announce that The Defining Moment Campaign has concluded, reaching an astounding $165 million — gifts that will fund transformational scholarships, endowed professorships and chairs, world-class facilities, innovative academic programs and critical research. Gifts that have already established the state’s first Center for Catholic Studies and built cutting-edge labs and classrooms. Gifts that will make it possible to achieve our vision of becoming among the finest Catholic universities in Texas and the Southwest. Our vision is now within our grasp.


On the evening of Friday, March 25, 2022, St. Mary’s University celebrated a successful end to The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign — a fundraising campaign 10 times greater than any prior St. Mary’s campaign and larger than all the previous campaigns combined. Thank you for believing … for believing that together, with God’s heavenly grace, the seemingly impossible is achievable.

The Marianists taught us this lesson when, 170 years ago, a few Marianists traveled across the ocean to establish a school in San Antonio, a town of only 3,500, but with lots of rattlesnakes … and, as the Marianists foresaw, the promise of thousands of future Rattlers. Today, we take pride in and celebrate what they and hundreds of other Marianists have established — a University that for generations has graduated leaders in government, industry, education, law, science, engineering and medicine, grounded in faith and motivated to serve others.

Finally, I want to thank all our benefactors of all sizes. It took almost 11,500 total donors to come together to raise $165 million, and I want each of you to know how grateful we are. You did this. You made this happen. You believed what was possible. You are responsible for our campaign’s success.


One hundred and seventy years ago, intrepid and faithful Marianists came to San Antonio with a vision of what education in San Antonio could be. Today, we are the beneficiaries of their courage, sacrifice and inspired teaching. We are here today because of them. We are proud to share the great history of St. Mary’s University.


St. Mary’s University would not be the institution it is today without the support of our donors and alumni. The nearly 11,500 donors to The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign gave because they share our historical legacy, the University’s vision for the future of higher education, and a sense of community and family that the Marianists instilled almost two centuries ago.


The University’s Mission has shaped many generations of students, helping them envision what is possible for their futures. The successful Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign will continue to enhance the St. Mary’s environment and the possibilities of generations to come with transformational scholarships, innovative academic programs and cutting-edge labs and classrooms.

The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign


The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign



Leti and Tom Contreras enjoy The Pub at St. Mary's University.

Defining Moment: Couple sees sense in togetherness

by Brooke Leith

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

Defining Moment: CEO’s scholarship supports women in business

by Brooke Leith

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.

RaSheeda Keir

Defining Moment: Alumna names scholarship after Marianist mentor

by Brooke Leith

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

An illustrated sketch features St. Louis Hall.

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

by Brooke Leith

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

Defining Moment: Alumnus hopes to fuel growth of beloved program

by Brooke Leith

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: Alumnus helps next group of STEM students

by Brooke Leith

Robert Massie gives to the new Innovation Center continuing in the tradition of service to others.

Defining Moment: D.C. attorney promotes advocacy program

by Brooke Leith

For Erich Ferrari (J.D. ’06), founder and principal attorney of Ferrari & Associates, the St. Mary’s University School of Law was the starting point for developing his practice as a sanctions lawyer. 

Defining Moment: Couple provides scholarship for those in need

by Brooke Leith

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

by Brooke Leith

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: Former trustee wants to see programs continue to evolve

by Brooke Leith

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: Bill Greehey’s gifts fund multiple ventures

by Brooke Leith

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

Defining Moment: Couple donates to support law student success

by Brooke Leith

Coll Bramblett (J.D. ’80) applied to many law schools, but only the St. Mary’s University School of Law gave him a chance to become a lawyer, so he took it.

An illustrator portrays the Sarita Kenedy East Law Library.

The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign funds the future of St. Mary’s Law

by Brooke Leith

Donors to the St. Mary’s Law campaign endowed transformational scholarships and professorships, funded cutting-edge facilities, enabled first-generation student programming and propelled law success efforts.   

Defining Moment: Alumnus credits mission for his success

by Brooke Leith

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: Alumnus practices what he preaches through gifts

by Brooke Leith

John R. Courtney Sr. (B.A. ’61, J.D. ’67) encourages any student looking for a great leadership and educational opportunity to join the Army ROTC at St. Mary’s University.

Sara Dysart volunteers at Oyster Bake 2019

Distinguished alumna has volunteered with St. Mary’s for more than 20 years

by Brooke Leith

As a board-certified commercial real estate lawyer, Sara E. Dysart (B.A. ’74, J.D. ’81) is as comfortable making deals as she is baking up shellfish at Fiesta Oyster Bake year after year.

Defining Moment: Law alumnus donates to nurture next generation of lawyers

by Brooke Leith

Steven Michael Peña Sr. (J.D. ’94), a partner at Davidson Troilo Ream & Garza, PC in San Antonio, feels law students who underperform are easily overlooked. 

Defining Moment: Law alumnus expresses gratitude for Catholic Intellectual Tradition

by Brooke Leith

The emphasis on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, according to Martin D. Beirne (J.D. ’69), means that St. Mary’s University focuses on developing the whole person, not just handing students a degree.

Defining Moment: Thanks to donor, program prepares first-generation students for law school

by Brooke Leith

Prior to starting at the St. Mary’s University School of Law, first-year J.D. student Majestad Barragan did not know who or what to expect in her classes. 

Defining Moment: Alumnus hopes to give students a chance

by Brooke Leith

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.”  

President Tom Mengler stands in front of St. Louis Hall.

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

by Brooke Leith

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.

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