Believing what is possible
Five years ago, St. Mary's University announced The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign with a goal of $130 million — the largest in University history. Some said this was an impossible goal, but we believed. In this issue, our donors share how St. Mary’s touched their lives and helped them envision what was possible for their futures.Read More
Need a break from the heat? Stay inside with a one of these books written by our very own St. Mary’s University alumni and faculty.
For Charles Anderson, 88, the Doctor of Commerce, honoris causa, was more than just another milestone in a life full of accomplishments. Instead, this moment 70 years in the making.
Trey Gonzalez (B.A. ’18) has played crowds of varying sizes, but his performance at Fiesta Oyster Bake is a little more exciting than others.
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.”
She was an Accounting major. He was studying Finance and Risk Management. She was in the Honors program. He was on the tennis team. She was a junior from the Rio Grande Valley. He was a first-year student from Sugar Land.
Through St. Mary’s University’s two counseling programs, the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision, hundreds of students have gone on to become licensed counselors, helping people overcome hardships and live more fulfilling lives.
When Jamira Richardson joined the St. Mary’s University English Literature and Language program in Fall 2016, her professors were confident she’d go far with writing. It was no surprise that she was selected as the youngest member for the Writers’ League of Texas Fellowship Program right before graduating with her bachelor’s degree in Spring 2020.
Before accepting St. Mary’s University’s Marianist Heritage Award earlier this year, Fred “Steve” Hemphill (B.A. ’05) made a list of every Marianist who has impacted his life — 42 names.
Five kids and one stay-at-home mom starting a home-based business sounds like a risky equation. However, when you factor in Brenda Stewart’s determination to put her family first, it all adds up to the perfect solution for her success.
Christina Lopez (B.A. ’18) was 28 years old when she enrolled at St. Mary’s University to study Environmental Science, hoping to teach it someday to young students.
When it comes to a lasting romance, it’s not just a matter of the heart, but also the head. That’s what Sonya (B.A. ’95) and Enrique Alemán Jr. (B.A. ’93) have learned over their 25-year marriage — a love that began at St. Mary’s University in 1993.
In an effort to spotlight those who are Pivoting with Excellence, Gold & Blue sat down with alumnus George Hernandez Jr., President and CEO of University Health System.
Arts and Humanities
With more than 50 years of teaching experience, Larry Hufford, Ph.D., said there is one thing he hopes he's remembered for as a person.
RaSheeda Keir hopes to give future generations a change at the same success she had while attending St. Mary's University.
St. Mary's offers a 15-hour certificate and the 18-hour minor in Mexican American Studies to learn more about Mexican American history.
by Nathaniel Miller Growing up, many children are told they can be anything. Rachel Huron (B.A. ’21) decided she wanted to be anyone. The St. Mary’s University alumna, who graduated Dec. 11 with a degree in Communications Studies, also earned a minor in Drama. Now in the process of applying to graduate schools ...
Trivett Wingo (M.A. ’20), in his search for meaning and purpose, has lived many lives — as a drummer for a world-touring band, as an accountant and now as a St. Mary’s University graduate seeking to fulfill his knowledge quest.
With nearly six decades serving St. Mary’s, Political Science professor concludes a legendary career
Charles Cotrell, Ph.D., aka Charlie. To generations of St. Mary’s University alumni, his name signals a jaw-dropping 55-year teaching career, or serving as the University’s first lay president from 2000 to 2012.
Glory Turnbull (B.A. ’20), a student in the Master of Arts in Public History program at St. Mary’s University, received in May the Student Excellence Award from Texas Digital Libraries for digitizing archival documents and subsequently creating an exhibit on the Old Spanish Trail (OST) — a 2,817-mile automobile route constructed in the early 20th century stretching from St. Augustine, Florida, to San Diego, California.
Ana Paula Saravia had every intention of attending college in her home country of Peru — until a St. Mary’s University admission counselor visited her Marianist high school on a recruiting visit.
The mind of Rafael Castillo (B.A. ’75), Ph.D., is like a nonstop gear, housing an inquisitive, wide-ranging vision that has marked him as a man of letters for decades.
By the time the coronavirus pandemic began impacting the St. Mary’s University community, faculty and students in the Department of History had already begun documenting the swift and historical changes reshaping the Rattler landscape.
In an effort to spotlight those who are Pivoting with Excellence, Gold & Blue sat down with theology professor Allison Gray.
Taking advantage of the flexibilities of online learning, Communications Assistant Professor Amanda Hill, Ph.D., has made virtual learning more beneficial for all her students.
Athletics and Recreation
As a five-sport student-athlete in high school in Fredericksburg, Hannah Wilson (B.A. ’21) learned to balance school, sports, a social life and more.
Before Peter Burns (B.A. '02) ascended to among the most prominent personalities in college sports, he was searching for direction and guidance in the classrooms of St. Mary's University.
While attending the Master of Arts in Public History program at St. Mary’s University, Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach Adam Nerio (M.A. ’20) started his days on the field at 5 a.m. for team training.
Deni Cresto, a junior from Curitiba, Brazil, studying Exercise and Sport Science, often refers to a message from St. Mary’s University Men’s Soccer Head Coach Johnny Clifford: “Control what you can control.”
Like young baseball fans around the world, Jeff Wigdahl dreamed of making the big league — Major League Baseball.
Breaking into the world of esports has been a challenge for women. At St. Mary’s University, Kaitlin Teniente found her chance to become the first head coach — leading the new varsity Esports Program.
The loss of the opening game of the Fall 2019 Men’s Soccer season felt like a make-or-break moment. But it wasn’t just the loss that stung — it was the way we lost.
In his senior season on the St. Mary’s University Men’s Soccer team, Pato Botello Faz took the Heartland Conference by storm and signed to play with a United Soccer League club in Michigan, the Lansing Ignite.
“Just put a Band-Aid on it.” This was Melanie Call’s nonchalant response after receiving a busted lip playing for the Alamo City Roller Girls (ACRG), San Antonio’s women’s roller derby team.
Hannah Petersen heard stories of how difficult it would be to say goodbye to her new friends in Vietnam after a three-week stay of service in Summer 2017.
Erica Baum (B.S. ’96) always dreamed of doing something bigger than herself — she just didn’t realize how literal that might be.
Jessica Brower has, perhaps, the best icebreaker in the history of conversation. The diminutive St. Mary’s University senior tells people, quite matter-of-factly, that she’s a sumo wrestler.
As the largest donor in St. Mary’s history, Bill Greehey has continuously shared his success to benefit students.
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.
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.
The Contreras Leaders in Risk Program launched during the Spring 2022 semester. It was made possible through a $2 million gift by Thomas “Tom” Contreras (B.B.A. ’88) and Leticia “Leti” Contreras (B.A. ’89) in 2017.
Two sisters launch careers as marketing professors through the Greehey School of Business MBA programs.
During the Spring 2021 semester — as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to scuttle travel plans — Sami Bouls (B.B.A. ’21) received hands-on experience with two Latin American companies and pursued his degree in International Business — all from the safety of his own home.
In her new role as Vice Provost for Vocation and Career Services, Stephanie Ward sees her mission as a simple one: helping students find purpose in their careers.
Jeddidah Thotho (B.B.A. ’98) is as self-assured stepping off a global planning call for Bata Shoe Kenya PLC — the country’s largest footwear company — as she is stepping into her favorite pair of Bata Comfit boots to care for her two children.
For some St. Mary’s University students, like Management major Nadia Carrasco-Vasquez, who graduated this May, owning a business is a lifelong dream — in her case, since childhood days in her mom’s coffee shop in Arizona.
Laura Thompson was in the midst of organizing a natural hair event at San Antonio’s Henry B. González Convention Center when COVID-19 spread across the region in Spring 2020.
Nick Ramos, who turned 26 in May, had already launched a couple of businesses before he enrolled in the Master of Business Administration program at St. Mary’s University in 2020.
St. Mary’s has been featured in an episode of The College Tour, an Amazon Prime series that spotlights colleges and universities around the country.
The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign gifts fund scholarships, endowed professorships, world-class facilities, academic programs and research.
Leticia "Leti Contreras and Thomas "Tom" Contreras believe the community experience at St. Mary's University is what makes it so special.
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.
This fall, St. Mary’s University welcomed an astounding number of valedictorians and salutatorians into its Class of 2025. Hailing from all corners of the state, each of these 13 students chose to become Rattlers after graduating in one of the top two spots in their high school senior class.
This list of Rattler reads will help your mind escape to another place with books by St. Mary’s students, alumni, faculty and staff.
At any given time, the St. Mary’s University campus is home to at least 10 free-ranging felines. Marty, Ringo, Possum and Oliver hang around Blume Library, while A.J., who has made a shelter of campus for more than a decade, frequents the Marianist Residence in her old age.
At St. Mary’s University, at no time in our history has our ability to succeed as a team been tested as it has amid the COVID-19 pandemic. At no time has our ability to come together ensured the future of the University and our region as we have this year.
During a pandemic, proper cleaning is crucial. Fortunately for the St. Mary’s community, the Housekeeping Department went above and beyond even before COVID-19.
At the University made the transition to online, the Rattler Success Center (RSC) was one step ahead, having already begun online tutoring earlier in the 2019-2020 academic year.
Most students who go to college leave behind proud parents at home. For Abdulrahman Almaghlooth (B.A. ’20), he not only went to college with his mother, Reema Alhowaish (Ph.D. ’20), but also graduated with her in the spring as part of St. Mary’s University’s first virtual Commencement ceremony.
Christmas Day, 2018. A couple of bags in hand, Shaima Khalaf flew into San Antonio to start a new life as a student in the Master of Arts in English Literature and Language program at St. Mary’s University.
Faith and Service
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.
When the Rev. David Garcia (B.A. ’71) was approached to write weekly homilies during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he initially refused.
Through transformational leadership, St. Mary’s enhances academic programs, student development and faith formation
With new challenges arising daily, and old ways of life coming into question, St. Mary’s University believes one answer to uncertainty remains one of the bedrocks of a Marianist university — educating for transformational leaders.
When Wilzave Guzman thinks of her homeland — Puerto Rico — she is filled with good memories of growing up in a tight-knit neighborhood, volunteering with military organizations to help feed the island’s needy. But for the senior double majoring in Environmental Science and in International and Global Studies there is also pain and, at the same time, acceptance and awe at the vast power of Mother Nature.
Pivoting with excellence: The Rattler Impact Scholarship awards over $1.2 million to nearly 1,000 students
In July, through the generosity of the St. Mary’s University Alumni Association, President Mengler and his wife, Mona, combined with University funds, St. Mary’s offered the Rattler Impact Scholarship to further support nearly 1,000 students in Fall 2020.
Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear masks. The Mask Squad — a group of about 80 St. Mary’s University students who were trained and are committed to the health and safety of every member of our community — have worked to stem the spread of COVID-19 on campus this fall.
Since 2007, more than 100 students at St. Mary’s University have sung their hearts out for the masses as proud participants of Chapel Choir.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit San Antonio during spring break – temporarily paralyzing St. Mary’s University’s prayer community – it didn’t take long for Jessica Uhlig, Ed.D., Executive Director of Marianist Educational Associates, to place her faith in technology.
While there’s no perfect way to “Vote Catholic,” theologian Julie Hanlon Rubio, Ph.D., proposes a framework for helping the faithful make tough decisions during election season. Rubio is a Professor of Social Ethics at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California.
Find out how our students and faculty are better able to strengthen their beliefs through the gifts of The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign through Q&A and quotes.
From following the steps of Jesus’ crucifixion at Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa to visiting the Western Wall and the Dead Sea, 14 students in a Theology course this spring visited important Israeli sites of pilgrimage in the Christian, Catholic, Jewish and Islamic faith traditions.
For 71 years, Holy Rosary Catholic Church and St. Mary’s University have been neighbors on San Antonio’s West Side. Literally steps apart, these two Marianist institutions have largely existed in parallel. Now, there are significant efforts to converge their futures — and strengthen the neighborhoods around them in the process.
Rosa Peterson, scheduled to graduate from the St. Mary’s University School of Law on May 21, has donated her time to various organizations during her studies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ron Yates (J.D. ’05) owns Spicewood Vineyards in the Texas Hill Country. After being in the wine-making business for 15 years, he's learned to roll with the bunches.
Even after graduating in 2017 as a new lawyer, Emilio Longoria, J.D., quickly realized that he was drawn to legal issues with no easy answer.
This academic year, St. Mary’s Law became the first law school in the nation to have a fully online J.D. program accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).
If there’s one thing Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario wanted attendees of the 2022 Immigration Symposium to understand, it’s that immigrant children who come to the U.S. alone face an arduous journey.
Science and Tech
With the help of a multimillion-dollar grant, updated equipment and new professors, the Forensic Science program at St. Mary’s University is equipped to give students the specialized knowledge in identifying and analyzing physical evidence needed to succeed in their careers.
Attending school away from home can be terrifying. For Ankita Chabra, leaving India to attend St. Mary’s University was an easy decision.
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.
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.
Robert Massie gives to the new Innovation Center continuing in the tradition of service to others.
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.
It’s April 2020 and a team of researchers at Houston Methodist are studying the effects of convalescent plasma — blood plasma donated from recovered patients — in treating the complicated COVID-19 virus. One day, the group began discussing where they attended college.
In 2019, Associate Professor of Environment Science Melissa Karlin, Ph.D., began collecting samples of coyote scat in select Texas regions, hoping to discover a genetic link to a critically endangered animal: the red wolf.
Biology junior Cherry Rubannelsonkumar is having a prolific publishing year in 2020-2021: three of her co-authored articles featured in respected science journals, including Cell.
Juan Ocampo, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is leading two projects focused on the structural integrity of aircraft and nuclear facilities, drawing students into the research process.
In an effort to spotlight those who are Pivoting with Excellence, Gold & Blue sat down with University physician Dr. Hugo Salazar.