$1.12 Million Gift Will Boost Social Aspect of the St. Mary’s Experience

Contreras Donation to Fund Social Gathering Spot, Golf Teams

As students at St. Mary’s, Tom Contreras (B.B.A. ’88) played on the golf team and Leticia Contreras (B.A. ’89) joined the Tri-Sigma sorority, so they know the value of the University’s family atmosphere.

Leti Conteras - $1.12 million gift helps fund campus pub, golf team Tom Contreras - $1.12 million gift helps fund campus pub, golf team

That’s why they have committed $1,120,000 to St. Mary’s – they want to help continue the tradition of engagement and unity among the University community.

The majority of their gift, $900,000, is earmarked for the construction of a pub and social gathering space on campus. Part of the Louis J. Blume Library veranda will be enclosed for this project, which is expected to be finished in fall 2015.

“One of the things Tom and I most enjoyed about our time at St. Mary’s was the community aspect,” Leticia “Leti” Contreras said. “We felt called to do something to enhance that experience for current and future students – so we wanted to build a social place where memories can be fostered by campus life.”

Campus pub conceptual drawing. Louis J. Blume Library, St. Mary's University

This is a conceptual drawing of the campus pub and gathering spot. For reference, the Cotrell Learning Commons is the large space above the purple-shaded room.

The addition will create two new commons spaces. One will provide an area for student relaxation and recreation, which will include couches, chairs and a big-screen television. The other space will be a pub, featuring a large, exterior patio with space for music performances.

“Tom and Leti have experienced the camaraderie at St. Mary’s,” said University President Thomas Mengler. “They saw ways they could help further student social life on campus, and they embraced these ideas. Family spirit is a core Marianist principle, and the Contreras family embodies it.”

The remainder of the gift will benefit the men’s and women’s golf teams, funding a full-time assistant coach position and the purchase of a new van, clothing and equipment. Currently, there is only one full-time coach, Chris Massoletti, and a part-time assistant, Thomas Kearney, to serve two teams. With an additional $100,000 over four years, the University will be able to give Kearney a full-time position.

“We hope that St. Mary’s continues to attract quality students in its quest to be a fine institution,” Tom Contreras said. “Golf is just another way to recruit excellent students with a unique skill that is life-lasting. We are thrilled to support the golf programs in their pursuit to be the best.”

Tom has been President and CEO of Texas Security General Insurance Agency, Inc., since 2003, and Leti serves as its Executive Vice President.

“We owe our success to our families and to the foundation and education we gained at St. Mary’s,” Leti said, “and we are spiritually motivated to help the University build on its distinguished tradition. We hope to inspire our own children and other alumni to help promote the continued growth and excellence of St. Mary’s University.”

St. Mary’s University repeatedly has been nationally recognized for its commitment to service and community engagement. The Carnegie Foundation has given St. Mary’s its prestigious Community Engagement Classification, and St. Mary’s has received the Presidential Award from the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition for service in higher education. St. Mary’s University is a Catholic and Marianist university with a tradition of academic excellence.