Posted on March 24, 2021 by Wendy Frost

Carlos Alvarez Carlos and Malú Alvarez have committed a $20 million gift to The University of Texas at San Antonio College of Business. The gift from the Alvarez family is the first of its kind in the university’s history and will be used to advance research-enhancing activities, including establishing endowed faculty positions, graduate research fellowships and undergraduate research programs.

In recognition of the significance of this gift, The University of Texas System Board of Regents has authorized the renaming of the College of Business to the Carlos Alvarez College of Business, making it the first named college at UTSA.

“We are very proud to support UTSA and its outstanding students, many of whom—like me—are first-generation Mexican Americans,” said Alvarez, co-chair of UTSA’s Campaign Leadership Council. “My previous support for UTSA dates back to 2006. As a result of UTSA’s stewardship of my previous gifts, and its success in growing and attracting high-caliber students, I was compelled to make this gift to the College of Business and support the largest business school in San Antonio, where I built my own business.”

“This gift is a transformational moment for UTSA and the College of Business and will advance our mission to become a great public research university,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy . “The Alvarezes’ longstanding philanthropic support of UTSA and educational institutions nationwide is a testament to their commitment to fostering generations of future business leaders.”

Alvarez’s success story began in June 1981 in Austin when he sold the very first cases of Corona in the United States. In 1986, Alvarez moved with his family from Mexico to San Antonio and founded The Gambrinus Company , which became the U.S. importer for the Grupo Modelo beer brands. For the next 20 years, Gambrinus was responsible for selling and marketing what would become the most successful brand in contemporary beer marketing history—Corona Extra.

In 1989, Alvarez acquired the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. At that time, the historic Texas brewery had been in decline for several years and faced serious financial difficulties. Having seen Austin’s developing consumer support for Shiner and recognizing the brewery’s heritage which dates back to 1909, he became convinced of the brand’s potential. After investing in the brewery’s facilities and in selling and marketing efforts behind its beers, today Shiner is a leading independent craft brewery in the U.S. with Shiner Bock as its flagship brand. Gambrinus also owns and operates the Trumer Brewery in Berkeley, California, brewer of Trumer Pils, the most awarded pilsner in the world and a leading brand in the Bay Area.

A prominent community leader, Alvarez serves on the boards of Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc.; United Way of San Antonio; the World Affairs Council of San Antonio; and is a member of Haven for Hope’s Leadership Advisory Council.

At the national level, he serves on the boards of National Public Radio and the World Affairs Council of America, both in Washington, D.C. He is a trustee of Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina; a former trustee of School Year Abroad, North Andover, Massachusetts; and a member of The University of Texas System’s Chancellor’s Council.

Recognized as a legendary Texas businessman, Alvarez was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2011, he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which celebrates inspiring immigrants to the United States whose philanthropy works for the betterment of their communities.

“The Alvarezes’ generous gift will have a profound impact on the university, our students and our community because it truly is an investment in the future entrepreneurs and business leaders of San Antonio and Texas,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy , UTSA provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “This type of investment is especially meaningful for Hispanic Serving Institutions such as UTSA, where more than half of our students pursuing business degrees are Latino. We are incredibly grateful to the Alvarezes for supporting our work to further diversify the leadership of our workforce and ensure it is representative of our communities.”

Nationally ranked and recognized, the College of Business encompasses more than 7,900 students, seven academic departments and two research centers. To date, the college has produced nearly 40,000 graduates.

Home to the No. 1 ranked cybersecurity program in the country, the college offers innovative programming at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels in areas such as business analytics, data analytics, and real estate finance and development as well as traditional business disciplines.

The College of Business was named one of the top five undergraduate business programs in Texas by Bloomberg Businessweek and the No. 10 graduate business school in the nation for Hispanics by Hispanic Business . Accredited by AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the college is one of the 40 largest business schools in the nation.

“This is a major milestone that will enhance the quality and reputation of the college by creating opportunities for faculty to conduct impactful research and by supporting the educational pursuits of our students,” said Pamela C. Smith , interim dean of the Carlos Alvarez College of Business. “Our mission is to transform business students into global business leaders by focusing on educational programs that provide applied business and technical skills in high-demand areas.”

The Alvarezes have previously contributed more than $7.4 million to UTSA, which has benefited more than 1,000 students. Their gifts have included the Carlos and Malú Alvarez Endowment for Student Success, the Carlos Alvarez Endowment for Graduate Fellowships in Science and Engineering, the Carlos and Malú Alvarez College of Public Policy Endowed Graduate Research Excellence Fund and the Carlos Alvarez Distinguished Presidential Scholars Endowed Scholarship.

The Alvarezes also have supported the Alvarez Graduate Residence Education Excellence Fund and the Alvarez Challenge Match for Graduate Student Excellence Fund. In 2015, UTSA named the Carlos and Malú Alvarez Residence Hall in recognition of their generous support.

“Higher education will always be the most important spark for change,” said Alvarez. “We, as a family, are blessed to be given the opportunity to make this gift to UTSA’s College of Business, not only to support aspiring leaders, but to hopefully enable them to leave their own generational legacy that can positively impact San Antonio, Texas and beyond.”

— Wendy Frost