Becca Gutierrez is the new associate director for Alumni Relations. To get to know her a little better, Trinity University Alumni Association Board Director Martín Schwed ’12 sat down to ask Becca a few questions.
Where are you from, and how did you end up in San Antonio?
I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and ended up going to school at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. After living in Austin for four years, I spent some time in Washington D.C. and ultimately moved back to El Paso to pursue my master’s degree. I met my now fiance at St. Edward’s during undergrad; while I was pursuing my graduate degree, we were living over 2,000 miles away from each other. We both wanted to come back to Central Texas as soon as possible, which ultimately led us to move to San Antonio. I could not be happier because I feel like it's a great mix of Austin and El Paso—I get the best of both worlds!
What drew you to Trinity?
When I was 15, my brother was a Duke T.I.P. scholar and the reception was held at Trinity, and that was the first time I visited the campus. I just remember how beautiful it was—to be honest, I don’t remember much of the ceremony or even much of the trip—but I do remember being in the auditorium and how beautiful the school was. Additionally, I take great pride in my roots and the liberal arts education I received. Throughout my college experience, I learned what it means to be innovative, socially just, and have the critical thinking skills to become a lifelong learner, which plays a role in my everyday life—both professionally and personally. I’ve known what a special community Trinity is since I first stepped foot on campus, and joining this community that is similar to my education and background makes me feel right at home. Through the education and opportunities Trinity provides, I know students become renowned alumni. I have already witnessed how exceptional our alumni volunteers are, and I am so grateful to work with them as they live out the Trinity mission across the nation!
What are your top goals for your new role as associate director of Alumni Relations?
In my role, I primarily work with the amazing alumni volunteers who run our regional clubs across the globe, and I will work to implement Common Interest Networks (CINs) as another way for alumni to connect.
Ultimately, my main goal is to provide opportunities to create a lifelong relationship between alumni and the University, and ensure the relationship continues to grow. I want alumni from anywhere to be able to have that connection and sense of community. With over 20 regional clubs, Trinity is representing several parts of the country. I want to continue to expand to more areas (hopefully across the globe!). CINs, which are a completely different model, are going to focus on an affinity, whether that’s self-identity, educational, or experiential interests. To find connections with other alumni who share that common interest, such as a club or sport you were in while at Trinity, will further that lifelong relationship with the University and one another. I also want to ensure our alumni volunteers are well equipped with training and resources to grow the Trinity presence wherever they are. I currently serve as the president of the St. Edward’s San Antonio Alumni Chapter; because I also know what it’s like to be a volunteer, I know that training and resources are crucial to the success of the programs.
I’m very excited about this year’s Alumni Weekend—what are you most looking forward to?
I’m most looking forward to absorbing everything. I started at the perfect time to experience Alumni Weekend and see everything Trinity has to offer. I’m really excited to learn about the traditions on campus, the history behind it, and obviously being able to meet with so many different alumni and having conversations and hearing about their time at Trinity.
Based on everything that goes on during Alumni Weekend, I’m most excited about the tailgate and the block party. Those are some of the big, super fun events, and I’m really excited to see everyone having fun together.
Looking back on your career, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
I don’t have a specific accomplishment, but having worked in the nonprofit industry, K-12 education, and now higher education (which is where I knew I was going to end up), I have one common accomplishment: to connect people. I know I have done my job when I can connect people, either to one another, or to something that will help them in some way.
For example, when I was in the nonprofit and K-12 sector, I was able to connect people to social services or more tangible items like jackets or food. In my role now, I have the opportunity to introduce alumni to someone who’s similar to them, or help someone when they’ve moved to a new city and are looking to find community. To me, my greatest accomplishment is seeing the joy on people’s faces when they reunite with a long lost friend, when they were able to get help reaching their goals because of a common connection, or if they were able to receive any type of help from their community.
Outside of work, how do you enjoy spending your time?
Coming from the desert, I love the greenery in Central Texas—I grew up with brown scenery, no bodies of water, and dust storms my whole life! I like to take full advantage and enjoy the lakes and springs nearby in the summer. I live near the Salado Creek Greenbelt, so in the cooler months my fiance and I love walking the trails and spending quality time together. So far, our favorite area in San Antonio is The Pearl. I have a never ending list of local restaurants and attractions to try. Given that I moved to San Antonio a few months before the pandemic, I haven’t had much time to explore, so every chance I get I try to do something different in a different side of town.
Do you have a philosophy or phrase to live your life by?
Right before I moved to San Antonio, a great mentor and former boss of mine gifted me a frame with a simple quote that reads, “Your potential is endless. Go do what you were created to do.” That quote has really stuck with me since. It’s a constant reminder that everyone has a purpose in life. With a liberal arts education, there’s so much we can do—the ability to combine your passion and skill set is a very special thing. If you discover how to do that, you can live out your potential. I’m lucky to have found that passion in my career now, and I know Trinity is where I’m meant to be.
Care to share your favorite college memory?
I know I have talked a lot about community and making sure we have those long-lasting relationships, and that is a huge part of the reason why I will always stay connected to my alma mater. As a student, I was involved with campus ministry at St. Edward's, which is how I met my fiance. We first met at Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel. It’s the same chapel where he proposed and the same chapel we will get married in next year!
In a more traditional aspect, the “Legacy Walk” is my favorite memory. St. Edward’s has beautiful, big, red doors outside the main building. My first day of school, our class walked through the doors to symbolize that we were entering a new chapter in life. Throughout the four years we were never allowed to go through the red doors. This is because the day before graduation, we got to walk out the same red doors. That symbolic gesture meant a lot—we got to start and end the same way!