Brother Stanislaus Sobczyk, FSC, Retired, School of Education, President of Christian Brothers University in Memphis 1999–2005, President of the School of Applied Theology in Berkeley 2008–2010, SMC Board of Trustees

Brother Stan has overcome profound obstacles in his life and was drawn to teaching and service by the sure presence of God in his life, he says. He’s traveled the world, met amazing people and witnessed key moments in the civil rights movement.

God calls in surprising ways. For Brother Stanislaus Sobczyk, it was through an ad in Guideposts Magazine in 1962. “It was a booklet with a picture of male religious in their habit for every congregation represented in the United States,” he recalls, saying he sent off four inquiries and was “sold” when a Christian Brother came to see him at his high school. (Before the visit, he'd never met a Christian Brother). Then he had to sell his parents on the idea. “My mom said, ‘Are they Catholic?’ My father said, ‘Are you doing this to avoid the draft?’”

In truth, Brother Stan was drawn to teaching and service, perhaps due in part to God’s early presence in his life. When he was just 5, he contracted polio. “People wouldn’t let their kids play with me,” he remembers. “They didn’t know how it was transmitted.” Every Tuesday, his mother would take him to pray at the Monastery of Saint Clare. “Mom would light a candle and say to the sisters, ‘Please pray for my little boy that he can walk again.’” When he left to join the Brothers – just two weeks after graduation – he knew education could help people experience the holy presence of God much more fully.

Brother Stan earned his bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Theology from Christian Brothers University in 1966 and went on to earn two master’s degrees and a doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of San Francisco in 1986.

One of his most profound experiences was living in Memphis during the Civil Rights Movement. He was there when George Wallace was inciting anger with his segregationist speeches. He remembers the day when Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. “I sat on the front steps of the Christian Brothers University and watched tanks roll down the street to maintain order.”

Brother Stan came to Saint Mary’s in 1990 to teach in the School of Education. In 1993, he was assigned to Christian Brothers University as interim president. He came back to Saint Mary's to serve as assistant to the president from 1994 to 1998 before returning to Memphis to become president of Christian Brothers University. He came back to Saint Mary’s in 2008 as interim vice president for advancement and is now retired. He serves on Saint Mary's Board of Trustees.

Through 50 years of being a Christian Brother, he says he never has a day of regret. “I could have never imagined where God would take me. I’ve been around the world – literally – engaged in wonderful ministries and meeting talented students.”