Four alums admitted to prestigious Hall of Honor

Hall of Honor Cover Page Photo (2) JP
Seniors Rock Flowers and Jack Pappas relish in the rich history of St. Thomas as they gaze upon the Hall of Honor. Six new members will be inducted tomorrow night, in a ceremony held in Cemo Auditorium in the Moran Fine Arts Center. Photo by Johnathan Polasek

By Joseph Nemec
Eagle Staff

Saturday, Sept. 6, a new class of inductees will be admitted into the illustrious ranks of the Hall of Honor.

Lloyd Webre ‘31, John Finch ‘45, Ernest Braren ‘57, and Charles Kitowski ‘94 will receive this award for best personifying the Basilian motto of “Teach me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge.”

Inclusion in the Hall of Honor is the greatest distinction awarded by the school. To be admitted into the Hall of Honor is reserved for only the finest men produced by St. Thomas. Included are men from all facets of life. Members include, bishops, politicians, business leaders, soldiers and professional athletes. Michael Cemo, Thomas Reckling and Richard Schill are all names that grace campus, and are all members of the Hall of Honor.

These former students were nominated by their fellow graduates, and were selected by a committee of alumni.

Webre, an innovator in the salt industry, was also a firm supporter of Catholic education. The science and athletics wing – the Webre building – bears his name.

Finch, after graduating St. Thomas, was a starting pitcher for Rice University’s baseball team and later, after successes working at Exxon, started his own successful company, Corporate Staffing.

Braren’s career started in the Army Corps of Engineers, and soon went on to starting his own company, Engineered Processes, Inc. He co-founded Sending Out Servants (S.O.S.), a Catholic lay missionary group dedicated to helping the people of the Quiche region of Guatemala.

Kitowski, in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks, was inspired to protect his country by joining the military. Because of his Lasik surgery he was not able to join the Army. However, when the Army changed its policy on Lasik, he was quick to jump and volunteer at the opportunity. Deployed to Afghanistan in 2006, he died August 12, 2007, from his wounds after an IED exploded near his vehicle. For his service, he was awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and Combat Action Badge.

English teacher David Fritsch ‘94 was a classmate with Kitowski.

“He was just kind of a regular guy,” Fritsch said. “When he saw something that he thought needed doing he was going to do it.”

Fritsch thinks this way of life is typical for Men of St. Thomas.

“For every restaurateur and captain of industry and every person we have that’s commercially successful, we have somebody who has spent their life in service to the community,” Fritsch said.

These four men join the 49 others who have been inducted into the hall, which was begun in 1975 to recognize alumni who personify the school motto, “Teach me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge”.

Joseph Nemec serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Eagle. In his spare time he enjoys correcting people's grammar and writing editorials inciting students to sell their round-up quotas.