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Alumnus: Give $20.14 to Support UST

Photo: Drew WilsonFormer University of St. Thomas Alumni Association Vice President and longtime University volunteer Drew Wilson is challenging those who have never donated to UST to give $20.14 or more to the University. Wilson, a dedicated alumnus known for his strong support for UST, believes the donations could bring an unprecedented amount of funds to the school for the 2013-2014 year.

“If we can find 500 alumni who have graduated from University of St. Thomas to give $20.14, it’s still more money than we would’ve ever gotten,” Wilson said. “If this is your first time giving to the University, can you give the year?”

Wilson graduated from UST in 2002 and credits the University with having a strong, positive impact on his career. A former Thomson-Reuters director, Wilson is now founder and managing partner of global business consulting firm Uptown Consultants. He values the guidance of his business and communication professors, who taught him the skills needed to start his own firm.

Wilson invites alumni to remember the stories that made them love the University in the first place. For instance, he learned a valuable lesson from Lori Gallagher, J.D., director of the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies. Thinking he could cruise through his last semester, Wilson took a course with Gallagher, who was in her first year at UST. The course was challenging, and when Wilson tried to drop the class Gallagher wouldn’t let him.

“I hadn’t realized that she was telling me never to give up and to pick something you want to do, but don’t give up,” Wilson said. “You have to take risks in life, which is kind of what I’m doing now by opening my own consulting firm.”

Wilson said he appreciates everything Gallagher and other UST professors taught him.

“I wish other alumni would think about those stories because we all have certain memories of our college days,” he said.

Wilson said the influence that professors and friendships at St. Thomas have on students tie into the real world and the careers of UST alumni. He encourages graduates to take time to give back because of those experiences.

One way Wilson has given back is by creating the “Two Saints and A Taco Tasting” scholarship fundraiser, an event at Saint Arnold’s Brewing Co. featuring tacos from 10 different Houston establishments. The inaugural tasting in 2012 raised more than $20,000. This past year, the event raised more than $35,000. Both tastings sold out.

“Honestly, I didn’t think it was going to work, but I wanted something different,” Wilson said. “It’s just funny working the event this year and seeing where it has gone. It’s pretty amazing to see and hear some of the scholarship students express gratitude for that event as a scholarship fundraiser, and it was just an idea that popped into my head.”

Wilson looks forward to continuing to help UST in the future.

“The University has given so many millions of dollars to alumni when they were students, and I wish students, as alumni, would connect and give back to the University.”

Alumni can get involved through many volunteer efforts, committees and several University programs such as mentoring. Learn more about how to get involved.

Wilson encourages alumni not to forget their experience at St. Thomas, and give $20.14 in 2013. Read more about annual giving.

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