New Board Chair is First Alumnus to Hold Position
The University of St. Thomas Board of Directors elected new officers in January. Dr. Herbert P. Edmundson Jr. ’69 is the first alumnus to be named chair of the UST Board of Directors, and his two-year term began July 1. Curtis Huff was elected vice chair, and Andrius Kontrimas was voted the first secretary of the Board.
Herbert P. Edmundson Jr., Chair
Edmundson has been an active member of the UST Board of Directors since 1999, serving as a member or chair of numerous committees, including executive, strategic planning, investment, audit and finance, academic affairs and presidential search.
With nearly 50 years of experience with the University, he has a deep institutional memory. He even knew the Rev. Vincent J. Guinan, the founding president, and he has seen the multiple challenges UST has faced.
“Few individuals have the board experience and years of association with our University as Dr. Bert Edmundson,” UST President Robert Ivany said. “I look forward to working with him so we can educate more leaders of faith and character.”
Edmundson said he is developing new initiatives to focus on board culture, engagement and governance, so the directors have a larger strategic sense of the board and its work to benefit St. Thomas.
Edmundson has been president and chief executive officer of Memorial Neurological Association in Houston since 1998.
He has served as board chairman for Houston Physician Services since 2003, and he has a staff appointment at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital. Edmundson is board certified in neurology and psychiatry.
Chair’s Gift Supports New Science Center
Edmundson’s commitment to science and St. Thomas is demonstrated by his recent $250,000 gift for the Center for Science and Health Professions Building Endowment and the St. Thomas Fund.
Edmundson said supporting the Center for Science and Health Professions is responding to an “immediate and pressing need” because more than half of UST’s 2013-14 freshman class was interested in studying science, technology, math, engineering or the health professions.
UST Study Was Formative Time for Edmundson
Edmundson began studying at UST as a Basilian scholastic, considering the priesthood. He lived in community with the priests of the Congregation of St. Basil all four years as a student, and studied Classics and French. Later, he realized a different vocation to have a family.
He earned both a master’s and a doctorate in Classics from the University of Texas at Austin. He has served as the associate director of an archeological dig in Southern Italy, and has traveled the world to study languages and Classics. While teaching at Emory University in Atlanta, he decided to go into medicine, where he’s been ever since.
First completing pre-medical studies at Georgia State University, he earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio in 1984.
While graduate school and medical school provided professional training, he said his critical training was at UST.
“My real formation was at UST,” he said. “The liberal arts education I received at UST is what shaped me.”
Edmundson said studying liberal arts provides a formation that allows students to encounter and address a lifetime of contemporary or practical questions and challenges with flexibility and agility.
“Circumstances change, life changes,” he said. “A liberal arts education endows us with the intellectual power to engage those changing circumstances in a successful and meaningful way.”
In 2002, he received UST’s highest honor, the Rev. Vincent J. Guinan, CSB, Distinguished Alumni Award.
Edmundson said serving as chair of the board is a way to give back to St. Thomas.
“All I’m doing is paying back a debt that I cannot fully repay,” he said. “I’ve always felt that.”
Curtis Huff, Vice Chair
Curtis Huff is president and CEO of Freebird Partners, LP. His term also began July 1.
Huff has a bachelor’s and law degree from the University of New Mexico. He earned a Master of Laws from New York University.
Huff’s wife Lori Gallagher is the director of the UST William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies.
Andrius Kontrimas, Secretary
Andrius Kontrimas is a UST parent, whose daughter Alexandra is a current undergraduate student. He is the head of Global Tax at Norton Rose Fulbright law firm. Kontrimas also serves on the boards of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
He has a bachelor’s degree from University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from University of California at Los Angeles.
His position as board secretary is a new office, and his term began Jan. 25.