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.
Poetry, public relations, knitting and novels about crime and culture — these recently published books from St. Mary’s University alumni cover a wide variety of fascinating topics.
Ashleigh Wempe started knitting and pattern designing to pass the time while transitioning from the U.S. Air Force to the St. Mary's University MBA program.
Jaclyn Quilantan, Ph.D. (B.S. ’12), said St. Mary’s University was good to her when she was attending school for her undergraduate degree. Now, she is working to give someone else that same chance. Quilantan is one of many alumni who donate during the annual St. Mary’s University Giving Day.
These books, written by St. Mary’s University students, faculty and alumni, take readers on an educational journey, ranging in topics from philosophy to neurology.
Despite both being students in the Greehey School of Business, Aaron Thomas and Nisi Heredia (B.B.A. ’11), now Nisi Thomas, didn’t cross paths until they met at a student gathering.
From social media to local chapters, from campus events to fun perks, St. Mary's University alumni can find many paths to stay connected to their alma mater through the guide below.
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.
Arts and Humanities
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.
Brothers Kai and Aidan Solonka chose St. Mary’s University to continue the Marianist education they first encountered at Central Catholic.
Benjamin “Josh” Doty, Ph.D., said he has been an anime fan since he first stumbled upon an episode of Dragon Ball as a child. Now, he and Associate Professor of Philosophy Eric Chelstrom, Ph.D., will have the opporutnity to share their passion for anime.
Emmanuel Sanchez believes in the power of civil servants to improve their communities. The combined-degree Political Science and Public Administration student has seen the impacts first-hand during internships from Brownsville to the White House
Nancy LaGreca, Ph.D., is no stranger to diversity. Growing up in Niagara Falls, New York, she heard multiple languages at home — from her father’s Sicilian to her mother’s Slovakian to their common language, English.
As the corporate responsibility director at USAA, Laura Cabanilla has helped distribute tens of millions of dollars to philanthropic projects that make a difference in the San Antonio community and individuals’ lives.
From the time she noted bluebonnets, the Texas state flower, growing at St. Mary’s University Kayla Garcia has wanted to push for a brighter future for the University’s ecological community.
As the Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science at St. Mary’s University, Betsy Smith, Ph.D., wants to give her students a chance to learn how political bodies operate.
For Lucia Martinez, the St. Mary’s University spirit runs in the family. Growing up in San Antonio, she would often hear her parents tell stories about their time as Rattlers.
Junior Lily Schow leads through academics, as a Communications Studies and Political Science double major, and through SGA and esports.
Sierra Salas, a senior Political Science major at St. Mary’s University, knows what she wants in a career: to serve the people of San Antonio.
From the Blue Star Art Complex to McAllister Park, Houston Street to St. Mary’s University — the public art created by Adjunct Professor Twyla Arthur has infused beauty into spots across San Antonio.
Athletics and Recreation
Combining his computer science studies at St. Mary’s University with his passion for baseball, Cayden Garcia made a splash with the Appalachian League, one of the longest-running baseball leagues in the history of professional baseball.
Many children dream of becoming a professional soccer player, a lawyer or an international businessperson. For international student Daniel “Dani” Gimena, these aspirations aren’t just fantasies.
With a personality matching her ability on the court, Arysia Porter (B.A. ’19) has taken her talents from studying Criminology and playing Rattler Women’s Basketball around the world with the Harlem Globetrotters.
Toe touches, back tucks and high-air basket tosses signaled the very first practice this summer by recruits to St. Mary’s University’s newest varsity sport — STUNT.
St. Mary’s University student-athletes — especially in Soccer, Golf and Volleyball — are accessing the latest technology to improve their game, which was made possible partly by donations to Rattler Athletics.
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 Rattler Wardrobe at the Greehey School of Business loans clothing to business students who need attire for professional events.
Andrew Tague (B.B.A. ’23) decided to take a chance on Texas and St. Mary's University to continue exploring a Marianist education.
Layla Dickerson went from being an elementary student who had to sit in the hallway because she kept acting out to a rising sophomore at St. Mary’s University who helped advocate for the new B.B.A. in Business and Law.
Raul Rodriguez, a major in the U.S. Army Reserve, was a year into his Master of Business Administration program at St. Mary’s University in Summer 2022 when he received orders to relocate to Germany to help support Ukrainian efforts.
Since joining St. Mary’s University as Dean in 2021, Rowena Ortiz-Walters, Ph.D., said her mission is to find ways to be inclusive by fostering a program that welcomes students from all backgrounds.
Overseeing $1.5 billion in facilities projects across the state falls to Executive Director of the Texas Facilities Commission Mike Novak (B.B.A. ’75).
Zane Smith fell in love with St. Mary’s University the first time he set foot on campus for his college tour. Now, he makes an impact as a tour guide, President's Ambassador and scholar.
When serving in the United States Army, William Brown, J.D. (M.B.A. '20) now a regulatory relations attorney at USAA’s Chief Legal Office, regularly packed up and went wherever needed.
As the largest donor in St. Mary’s history, Bill Greehey has continuously shared his success to benefit students.
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.
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.
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.
Over the course of 12 years, Thomas Mengler — the second most famous face of St. Mary's behind Rattler Man — shared his vision of expanding the University’s Catholic and Marianist traditions.
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.
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.
As thoughts of turkey and gravy dance in people’s heads, we asked a few St. Mary’s University students about their favorite holiday traditions.
St. Mary’s employee Rose Ann Martinez celebrates her great-great-aunt, Jovita Idár, a Mexican American journalist and activist, being recognized on a U.S. quarter.
Leading Ladies: Five women at the top of their fields help steward academic excellence at St. Mary’s
Since the University’s origins as an all-male school 170 years ago, women will hold all four dean’s roles as well as the role of vice provost for academic affairs for the first time.
Working with people of diverse backgrounds on topics requiring intense listening and understanding is something Carolyn Tubbs, Ph.D., has been doing most of her career.
With the help of the San Antonio King Sejong Institute at St. Mary’s University, the two cultures are brought together through Korean language, art, music, drama and history classes.
St. Mary’s University gardener Jose “Luis” Sanchez doesn’t just watch his garden grow. His perseverance and care have helped the University to literally blossom for nearly 10 years. Last year, the University was able to return the favor.
When Victoria Van Winkle was 12 years old, her birth mother was diagnosed with cancer. She spent much of her teenage years looking after her younger siblings and in hospitals with her mother. She didn’t have much time to study or think about her future — until she met a doctor who would change her life.
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.
Faith and Service
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.
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.
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.
From helping her community in her native Ghana by starting her first corporation at the age of 11, to years later receiving the U.S. Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award, Brenya Twumasi, J.D. (M.A. ’98), has lived to serve.
Arely Reyes, a member of the Marianist Leadership Program, met Brother Dan Stupka through the SM Friends Program, which enables students to pair with a Marianist brother as part of their community service requirement.
Before Sister Norma Pimentel (M.A. ’89) became executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, was named among TIME’s Most Influential People or was recognized by Pope Francis for her work with refugees at the U.S.-Mexico Border, she dreamed of being an artist.
On Earth Day 2022, St. Mary’s University faculty, staff and students were learning about the seven-year commitment to “care for our common home."
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.
As a young criminal lawyer in his home state of Querétaro, Mexico, Guillermo “Memo” Peña Contreras had no interest in the priesthood. Peña Contreras imagined life as a priest would leave him stuck inside a parish in a sedentary life.
Scattered across Texas and the United States, 25 students have created the tight-knit inaugural cohort in the School of Law’s Online J.D. program, the first of its kind in the nation.
Law school can feel like one hurdle after another. St. Mary’s University School of Law saw a need to extend support to students beyond graduation. In true Marianist charism form, this extra helping hand comes in the form of the Raise the Bar program.
Both Roy Barrera Sr. and Roy Barrera Jr., along with nearly a dozen other family members, have obtained either an undergraduate degree, a law degree or both from St. Mary's University. That education took Barrera Sr. all the way to role of Texas Secretary of State.
With three generations having walked the halls of the St. Mary's University's School of Law, the Hon. Carter Casteel said she wouldn’t have entrusted their law education to just anywhere.
Puerto Rico, known for its vibrant culture and history, decadent cuisine, and majestic beaches and mountains, is a tourist destination for some. But for Carlos Chévere-Lugo, J.D. (LL.M. ’17, LL.M. ’18), the U.S. territory is home.
You can trace Professor of Law Chenglin “Gary” Liu’s interest in public health back to his early days researching organic foods. Now, he dedicates his career to academic research and learning.
As part of the Criminal Justice Clinic, eight students with the School of Law worked with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit.
The St. Mary’s University School of Law’s faculty do more than teach — they also share their expertise in specific fields in publications.
If you’ve been on campus at the St. Mary’s University School of Law in the last three years, you’ve likely heard the name or been in the gravitational pull of Cody Huffman (J.D. ’23).
During her Spring 2023 semester, from the St. Mary’s University campus, J.D. student Leslie Espiricueta was helping fight for a Georgia Innocence Project client who has served 25 years in prison.
When Patricia Roberts, J.D., first came to understand injustices, she was 12 years old. After finding out that some innocent people go to jail, she resolved to become a lawyer and help right some of those wrongs.
Science and Tech
Gold & Blue magazine sat down with Donna M. Badowski, DNP, Vice Dean of the School of Science, Engineering and Technology, and Founding Director of Nursing, to learn more about her background and get the inside scoop on the planned Nursing Program.
Enrique Salinas, a first-generation student originally from Eagle Pass, earned his Bachelor of Arts in Biology from St. Mary’s in 2019. After participating in undergraduate research opportunities and shadowing a medical doctor, a single day spent shadowing a nurse made all the difference in his career decision.
St. Mary's University alumnus and master's student Ian Wells is fascinated by software engineering because it can improve processes and make lives easier.
Growing up in Columbia City, Indiana, Teresa “Teri” Beam, Ph.D., was an inquisitive child. Beam found herself fascinated with the sciences, specifically the subject of genetics.
Despite bestowing generous gifts, the couple, Leland T. Blank Ph.D. (B.S. ’67) and Sallie V. Sheppard, Ph.D., said teaching has always been their reward. So, when they learned their names would be immortalized on the Blank Sheppard Innovation Center now under construction, both said they were “beyond surprised.”
Zack Valdez, Ph.D. (B.S. ’10), finds motivational fuel in explaining complex science and increasing public trust in scientific findings by everyone from community members who need to understand their environment to Congressional decision-makers.
Originally from Mexico, Bianca Ramos joined the St. Mary’s community, eager to explore her passion for sharing the wonders of the natural world with others.
Overcoming a lack of economic or educational resources, Jocelyn Torres is studying Biology and aiming for her next degree through the Joint Admission Medical Program.
Being recognized as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense is more than securing a prominent designation for St. Mary’s University — it also guarantees for students that their program is recognized by the federal government.
With the help of a multimillion-dollar grant, updated equipment and new professors, the Forensic Science program at St. Mary’s University gives students specialized knowledge in identifying and analyzing physical evidence needed to succeed in their careers.
When Erika Gonzalez, M.D. (B.S. ’98), learned she had been chosen to sit on the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science, she was in disbelief.