Donors & Friends

Institutional Advancement News

Spring 2014

Spring is always such a joyful and busy time on the Oblate School of Theology campus and this year has been no exception.

On April 1, we honored all members of the faculty, administration and staff of the School for their dedicated service, particularly those who were celebrating five-year service milestones. Each of the 13 employees celebrating such a milestone this fiscal year received a memento and a cash gift.

OST hosted a very successful Spring Gala on April 10 at which Clif Bolner and his family were recognized for their many years of philanthropic support of OST, the Oblates and so many worthy organizations and causes in and beyond the San Antonio community. More than 40 members of the extended Bolner family were present to receive the award and well-deserved accolades.

On April 29, we celebrated with the Southwest Area Office the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate who have had or are having jubilees later this year. With great joy, we saluted those Oblates who, having served for 25 years or more since their First Profession or Ordination, were marking five-year milestones, several of whom are on the OST Board of Trustees, faculty, staff or administration.

The School participated in the first-ever The Big Give SA on May 6. This community-wide 24-hour online giving event was a tremendous success, exceeding all expectations. There were 467 nonprofit organizations of all kinds from throughout Bexar County which participated; in all, 21,351 gifts were made totaling $2,063,733.50. (The community-wide goal had been $1 million.) OST received 37 gifts for a total of $3,280, the net proceeds of which will be appropriated to general operations.

On May 8, Oblate School of Theology paid tribute to Father Virgil Elizondo and the Reverend Dr. Allan A. Boesak, the two recipients of OST’s 2014 honorary doctorate degrees. Father Virgil, recognized internationally as the Father of U.S. Latino Theology and Professor of Hispanic and Pastoral Theology at the University of Notre Dame, was honored with a Doctor of Pastoral Theology degree. Rev. Dr. Boesak was awarded a Doctor of Theology and Justice degree for his courageous efforts to end apartheid in his native South Africa and to free Nelson Mandela from prison.

On May 9, in addition to conferring the two honorary doctorate degrees, OST awarded three Doctor of Ministry degrees, 31 master’s degrees, and 15 Certificates of Advanced Studies for Pastoral Ministry in the School’s Immaculate Conception Memorial Chapel. The Rev. Dr. Allan A. Boesak was the commencement speaker and Father William Antone, OMI, Provincial of the United States Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Chairman of the OST Board of Trustees, awarded the diplomas to the graduates, after Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI, PhD, conferred the academic hoods.

The following morning in the same location, Oblate School of Theology's Instituto de Formación Pastoral/Pastoral Formation Institute graduated 39 students and the Lay Ministry Institute 16. Father Virgilio Elizondo gave the inspiring Commencement address.

On May 13, an all-volunteer team headed by Mary and Phil Dyer and OST Trustee Dr. Lorraine Barnes put on the annual Dinner with the Presidents hosted by Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI and co-hosted by former OST presidents Father Pat Guidon, OMI and Father Billy Morell, OMI. Fifteen couples participated in this gourmet dining extravaganza at the Oblate Renewal Center.

The Building on Faith Campaign, launched in 2008, continues. The campaign reflects the School’s vision of enhancing its educational service to students, increasing its capacity to serve the Catholic community and furthering our mission to serve and evangelize the poor. OST’s goal is to grow from a local institution to regional and national prominence in theological education and we are well on our way.

Thanks to hundreds of donors who, believing in what we do, support our mission by generously investing in OST, more than 90 percent of our $30 million campaign goal has been achieved. For more than two years now, the Whitley Theological Center (WTC) and our guest residence, which were built in the first phase of the campaign, have been in use. These two state-of-the-art facilities have been serving OST and the San Antonio community very well. Hundreds of people come to the OST campus each week for events held at the WTC, nearly 20,000 this fiscal year, many who had never been to our campus before. Having our guest residence’s inviting and comfortable accommodations to offer visiting faculty, continuing education speakers, out-of-town doctoral students, and special visitors has been a great blessing.

The School inaugurated the Sankofa Institute for African American Pastoral Leadership last September and initiated the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Spirituality, including offering a PhD in Spirituality, in the fall 2013 semester. OST developed a way to take the Instituto de Formación Pastoral/Pastoral Formation Institute to the Archdiocese of San Antonio’s rural parishes and has been very successful in doing so; so successful, in fact, we will be launching a special version of the IFP/PFI in one of the Texas prisons this fall.

Much has been accomplished, thanks to the generous donors to the campaign. However, there is still work to be done, including the renovation of the Benson Theological Center and funding programs until returns on endowment investments can fully support them.

We are in the final drive toward realizing our campaign goal. If you made a gift or pledge to the Building on Faith campaign, thank you. If you haven’t yet done so, we hope you will consider it. If you made a gift but would like to do more, please contact me. With everyone’s help, we can reach our goal. Every gift is vitally important and deeply appreciated.

We have many events scheduled for the fall, including our annual Alumni Gathering on Monday, September 15, at the Whitley Theological Center. We also have two major fundraising events each fall: the Oblate 285 Benefit on Saturday, October 25, which begins with Mass at the Immaculate Conception Chapel at 5:30 p.m. followed by a great party at the WTC; and the 28th annual Oblate Open golf tournament at the TPC San Antonio’s Canyon Course on Monday, November 10, with tee-off at 8 a.m. and an awards luncheon at the High Velocity Sports Bar at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort immediately following play. We hope you will join us for both fundraising events and our many upcoming Continuing Education programs, including the Summer Institute June 16-18.

If you do not currently receive our OST News magazine, published three times each year, but would like to, please contact Yolanda Garcia at (210) 341-1366, Ext. 219 or Or if you are interested in learning more about our Continuing Education programs and are not currently receiving our Continuing Education mailings, please contact Yolanda and she will see that you are added to our mailing list.

If you have never visited our campus, or if it has been a while since you were here, please feel free to come by soon. I’d be happy to show you our newest facilities. Know that you’re always welcome at OST.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy summer,

Lea Kochanek

Vice President for Institutional Advancement
(210) 341-1366, Ext. 285/(210) 457-7731 (direct)
Fax:  (210) 341-4519