St. Mary’s University Receives Surprise $525,000 Bequest

Alumnus Schwarz Leaves Sizable Estate Gift to Alma Mater

The late Gary L. Schwarz had no wife or children to take care of in his will; instead, he left his estate to his St. Mary’s University family. In the process, he’s providing for the futures of many sons and daughters.


His bequest of $525,000 will provide funding for the creation of a Center for Catholic Studies, as well as financial assistance for qualified students.

Schwarz, who died April 18, 2013, at age 77, was a lifelong resident of St. Clair County, Illinois, and a retired Records Manager Analyst for the U.S. Air Force. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from St. Mary’s in 1958.

Schwarz was a longtime supporter of St. Mary’s, making mostly small but consistent donations over the years. So the generous bequest came as a surprise to the University.

“We sincerely appreciate Mr. Schwarz’s generosity,” said St. Mary’s President Thomas Mengler. “His legacy will live on in the students who are able to receive an education because of his gift.”

The University’s strategic plan, Gateway: A Vision for St. Mary’s University, includes the establishment of a Center for Catholic Studies on campus. The Center will have four principal features in serving students, faculty and staff; the Archdiocese of San Antonio; the Southwest; and the nation:

  • Promote the study and understanding of Catholic intellectual and social thought, as well as Marianist spirituality
  • Develop an undergraduate major, and eventually a graduate degree, in Catholic Studies
  • Serve as a spiritual gateway for our community
  • Reside in historic Reinbolt Hall after an extensive remodeling project

St. Mary’s will play a lead role in advancing Catholic studies through recruitment of distinguished faculty in Catholic philosophy, theology, and other central areas of Catholic studies and culture.

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.