Dr. David Altounian – Interim Dean for the Bill Monday School of Business at St. Edward’s University

Posted by on Monday, April 15th, 2019 in Blog

Reported by Andy Swanson

President Julia called the meeting to order and led us reciting our Club Vision StatementEllen Hunt led the pledges and Past President Ronney Reynolds gave our invocation of the day.  Mary Reynolds led us in saying the Four Way TestCarl Noble greeted each member and guest as they arrived and Maxie DeBlanc introduced our guests and visitors.

President Julia introduced our newest member, Jay Boisseau (sponsored by Harold Ingersoll).  Welcome, Jay!

Past President Harold Ingersoll was called back up to the podium to provide today’s Membership Minute.  He joined our Club 15 years ago, primarily for business networking, and was ready to quit after two years.  However, he was asked by one of our members, “When are you going to get involved?”  This led him to becoming very involved with the Club and eventually serving as Club President.  He has had many amazing experiences with Rotary and loves the people.  The Rotary Club of Austin has done a lot to serve the community, making him proud to be a Rotarian!

President Julia’s Announcements:

  • Please continue to check in using Meetup.com and Facebook!
  • The RCA Board agreed to make Rita Abdeladim an honorary member of the Club.
  • Bill Baker had a minor heart attack and is in the hospital.  A card was passed around for everyone to sign.  Please go see Bill if you can!
  • Past President Barry Curlee will be leading a meeting after lunch to discuss ideas for projects/fundraising.  Everyone is invited to attend!
  • Tomorrow morning at 7:00 is the Downtown Austin Breakfast Cluster Meeting at Magnolia Café.
  • Next Tuesday (April 16) is the monthly Executive Committee meeting at 1:30pm.  Red Badgers please attend if you need to check this off your list.
  • We will vote next week at our April 16 meeting to change our annual Club dues.  Please attend and vote!

Peter Pfeiffer invited everyone to this month’s wine party at his home on River Road in Tarrytown on April 26.  Please put this on your calendar!

Thank Goodness Basket– We had a number of people thankful Rotarians including:  Jon Yates started us off by stating that he and he son ran a 10K on their own in lieu of the Cap 10K being cancelled.  He also thanked all the Rotarians who participated in the Pecan Springs Books for Me project!  Barry Curlee was thankful for the great season that the Texas Tech Red Raiders basketball team had and their incredible run at the NCAA tournament!  Sara Pantin gave a shout-out to Ellen Hunt for all the work she has done with Global Grants!  Bruce Golden thanked everyone for the “happy birthday video” that was sent to him while he was unable to attend RCA meetings due to back surgery.  Adrian Moore invited everyone to CARY’s (Council on At-Risk Youth) 20th Anniversary Gala on May 2 at ThinkeryRick Ravel announced that Karavel Shoes is having their 82nd Anniversary!  Don Grillo really misses his good friend, Nadir Abdeladim and stated that Nadir was a good friend, father, and husband.  He also misses Nadir due to the fact that Nadir always laughed at his stupid jokes!  Pauline Gubbels helped organize a new sewing ministry at her church.  They are making weighted, therapeutic blankets and donated 48 of them to Helping Hand Home for Children!  Lois Ann Stanton is thankful for MD Anderson and that her husband’s clinical trial is going well!  Jay Boisseau announced that the Austin Forum on Technology and Society is having a free event at Central Austin Library later tonight.  Discussion topics will focus on “Starting Tech Companies”, and Harold Ingersoll will be one of the presenters.  Everyone is welcome to attend!

David AltounianAfter a few minutes of Fellowship time, Tarby Bryant, introduced our speaker, Dr. David Altounian, Interim Dean for the Bill Munday School of Business at St. Edward’s University.

David is a native of Alexandria, LA and was involved with a number of businesses prior to getting involved in academia.  He is currently the interim dean at the business school at St. Edward’s but will become associate dean later this year.  He has lived in Austin since 1994 and was an executive at Dell Computer for a number of years.  Prior to that, he worked at Compaq Computers in Houston.

During his time with Dell, they asked him to be on the advisory board at St. Edward’s and he has been involved at the university ever since.  St. Edward’s strives to be a great private university and is in the midst of a large capital campaign.  They recently added new dorms and are continuously working to upgrade the physical footprint of the university as well as developing meaningful educational partnerships.  They currently have partnerships on five continents.

St. Edward’s truly believes in educating the heart and mind of students; faculty take this very seriously.  They also believe that they don’t have students for four years but have them for life!  Current enrollment is about 4,500 students; 42% of students are Hispanic; 54% are minority; the student/teacher ratio is 13:1 which makes for a very effective teaching environment and helps retain students.

Faculty and students are from all over the world, and students come from all economic backgrounds.  As a Holy Cross school, social justice is very important.  St. Edward’s is a Catholic university but has over 40 faiths represented on campus.  Dr. Altounian was pleased to report that St. Edward’s is the #1 producer of Fulbright Scholarships!  He said he hoped they’d be the “Rice University of central Texas” but they need to build their endowment significantly first!

David teaches entrepreneurship and has made a concerted effort to integrate more into the Austin community in order to meet the needs of the region.  St. Edward’s is invested in the Capital Factory and has gone out into the community to partner with organizations in lieu of spending money on campus facilities.  They are focused on building a curriculum to deliver value to their students and the community, and they want to be the easiest business school in central Texas to work with.

Isabel Medford, a student in the business school, spoke for a few minutes.  She is in her third year and is a finance major.  She noted that the course work has been extremely helpful, and she’s had opportunities to meet with venture capitalists and start-up companies.  She also has a seat at the Capital Factory and is very thankful for all of the opportunities provided at St. Edward’s.

Next week’s speaker is Heidi Anderson from The (Austin) Trail FoundationRick Ravel (Karavel Shoes) and Dr. Michael Abelson (The Abelson Group) — Thank you for sponsoring our newsletter!

President Julie closed with her Thought for the Day:

“When you reach out to others in need, when you reach out to world, you really do have a satisfying life by helping others.” – Laura Bush

More About Our Speaker:

David Altounian - SEU

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