Answering the call.
Access and excellence.
Learning and discovery.
Creative problem-solving and ethical public service.
With St. Thomas’s deep expertise, grounding in Catholic and Basilian values, the Eagle community is capable of extraordinary impact. Gifts in support of institutional-wide ambitions unlock this potential and advance the school’s sacred mission.
The 16th Annual Scholarship Breakfast honored both donors and current recipients, and the tradition of philanthropy that remains vital to the school’s cherished Basilian heritage. Steps silent and unseen are moving St. Thomas toward a flourishing future.
Foundation Board President Greg Kroencke P ‘20 joined the celebration in Reckling Gymnasium with a team of stakeholders – president Fr. James Murphy, CSB, vice president for advancement Mark deTranaltes ‘83, foundation board members John Granger II ’97 (above, left) and Michael Soper ’85 P’23 (above, right), and principal Dr. Aaron Dominguez ‘96. All share the belief that the most meaningful and lasting measure of the St. Thomas experience is beyond elite academic achievement. Benefactors are often the most direct way to set in motion the exponential force of an Eagle education fueling the rise of the next significant learners and leaders. Financial gifts empower the school to remain agile, responsive, and innovative in its pursuits.
Kroencke succeeded David Hanse ‘91 as president in 2020 after a highly successful seven-year tenure. During conventional times, the position demands leading a collaborative effort that employs long-term and active monetary investing philosophy. But Kroencke and crew were forced to respond posthaste to not only the magnitude of COVID-19 but also the persistent inflationary pressures facing the economy.
The collective results have been nothing short of astonishing – robust return streams across strategies and sectors highly diversified while minimizing risk and volatility.
“During the pandemic, we were somewhat defensively positioned during the market turbulence,” Kroencke says. “Then, in the two years post-COVID, we were fully invested with a significant expansion. Right now, the portfolio is again defensively positioned as we navigate a brief recession, and then we will be primed for the next couple of years. We’ve enjoyed tremendous performance for the endowment asset value – better shape than ever. I give tremendous credit to our investment committee headed by John Granger for guiding us with prudent methods that should provide significant upside over the next few years. That promotes not only our strong financial position but also increases confidence in our donor base. Knowing that the money is properly managed encourages more giving, a self-fulfilling cycle between the two.”
Since its inception, St. Thomas has prized its role in providing affordable access to the full range of opportunities that make a St. Thomas college preparatory education unique. That motivation relies on an array of funds available to students based on academic achievement and financial aid determined by a family’s ability to contribute.
The Foundation Board oversees more than 80 named and endowed scholarships made possible by the generosity of contributors since 1969, with more than half established since 2000.
“Our donors choose to give their hard-earned dollars to support the St. Thomas Basilian mission because they believe in the quality of students who develop with goodness, discipline, and knowledge to carry far in life. We all expect great things, now and in the future, from the students here today,” Kroencke says.
“And for the donors who are interested in topping off the endowment, there is a matching gift in 2023 from an anonymous donor who will in essence double whatever dollars are added right now to existing or new scholarships. Tremendous generosity is flourishing in this community.”
Eagle students also benefit from numerous sponsored grants such as the Basilian Fathers Inner City Schools Scholarships, the Basilian General Counsel Scholarships, the Tom and Nancy Marcrini Foundation Scholarships, and Specs Scholarships. This benevolence is critical to fulfilling the school’s single highest philanthropic priority: ensuring access and affordability for all students seeking the St. Thomas experience.
Saluting the many efforts that assure a storied past continues to create promising futures, designated scholars are asked to offer testimonies at the Scholarship Breakfast relating the depth of their St. Thomas enrichment. Aaron Blackman ‘24 and Fredi Delapaz ‘25 provided compelling accounts of how they are learning to use their specific strengths and passions in service of God and the world only through the altruism of St. Thomas stakeholders.
“I’m always blown away by the students who speak and share their personal experiences – enlightening and uplifting,” Kroencke says. “They truly demonstrate the love and support that is generated at St. Thomas.”
Kroencke sees daily the full force of the St. Thomas influence demonstrated by his son Zach ‘20, an exemplary scholar in the Business Honors Program at Texas A&M University.
As a St. Thomas senior, Kroencke flashed his uber-competitive ambition within a wide realm of disciplines. He was an emphatic force driving Eagle Lacrosse, Camp Aquinas, and the unmatched Round Up fundraising initiative. In 2020, Zach crushed one of the resolute single-best raffle ticket sales totals in school history – $35,960 – to front a sensational student body total of $525,370.
Earlier in the academic year, the unrivaled and unmatched student fundraising event reached an unprecedented breakthrough – a jaw-dropping $819,770 with all monies annually contributing directly to St. Thomas tuition assistance, a Basilian tradition for nearly a century.
The recent 10-year total exploded to nearly $5.7 million.
Eagles caring for Eagles.
“I continue to measure the value St. Thomas had not only on Zach but with his brothers on campus throughout the country,” Kroencke says. “St. Thomas alumni are making great choices and crafting individual achievement in variety and abundance that will continue throughout their lives. They are the living examples as to why this Basilian mission is so important.”
For 123 years, St. Thomas has embraced its goal, its passion, its obligation to provide a supportive, safe environment for students to thrive, inspiring them to create positive change everywhere life takes them.
Kroencke encouraged the Eagle students in attendance “to seek out a donor here this morning or in the community who is supporting your attending St. Thomas. I encourage you to ask them why they are involved and thank them. Many of our patrons are not alumni but are still amazed by the results St. Thomas produces. And, finally, as each of you moves forward into this world with the core values of goodness, discipline, and knowledge, please give back. Remember your Eagle brothers coming behind you. Give to them as others gave to propel you further in life.”
The formation of scholars.
The inquiry of faculty.
The commitment to the common good.
Answering the call.
Catholic. Basilian. Teaching Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge since 1900.
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