Giving Back with Passion: Garth Flint

Garth Flint and wifeFor Garth Flint ’63, the Great Books experience kick-started the process of developing critical thinking skills, which he describes as one of the greatest outcomes of his Saint Mary’s College education. “You can’t hide when you have to speak in front of your peers,” said Flint, pictured with his wife, Claudia. “Developing that ability to think critically and evaluate situations has helped me at every phase in my career. When I talk to other students and alumni, the importance of the Great Books is a common thread.”

After he graduated from the College, Flint applied those critical thinking skills to great effect, first in distinguished service in the United States Navy in Vietnam—where he flew F-4 fighter jets and survived being shot down by the North Vietnamese over Haiphong in the Gulf of Tonkin—and then as the founder of a financial advisory business, Beacon Pointe Advisors.

As his career and life progressed, Flint felt driven to give back to the Christian Brothers and to the College that had done so much for him and his classmates. “I remember thinking at the time that if there’s a way to give back, I will,” he said. “I still reflect on advice from Brothers about how to handle certain situations.” He cites Brother Carl Lyons and Brother Michael Quinn as particular influences.

Flint has kept true to his commitment to giving back to the College, with a long history of involvement that includes service as a donor and volunteer. He has served on the Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees, donated at major, annual, and leadership giving levels, and stepped forward in campaigns to support key College priorities including the Alioto Recreation Center, endowed scholarships, and the Student Athlete Performance Center.

"Garth's leadership and commitment to the College's mission is a shining example for all of us,” said President James Donahue. “Thanks to him, our philanthropic community is growing and expanding every day. His passion is tireless and we couldn't ask for a more committed volunteer." Donahue and other College staff who have worked with Flint at the College describe him as a person who reflects the Saint Mary’s spirit of humility and generosity, a quiet leader by example. “My goal is to contribute to the culture of philanthropy at the College and to encourage others to support Saint Mary’s and its priorities for the future,” Flint said.

Scholarships are a personal priority to the Flint family, who established the Mollie Flint Rosing Endowed Scholarship for Women’s Basketball to honor their daughter Mollie ’97, who received a scholarship to play at the College while earning her degree in accounting. “When Mollie graduated, we decided to give that opportunity to another Saint Mary’s student,” he said. Flint appreciates receiving notes from the recipients of his family’s scholarship and even hired one recipient, after her graduation, as an operations assistant at his company. “She was very impressive both on the basketball court and in our office.”

Another student who benefited from the education the College offers is the Flints’ son Kevin ’91, MA ’15, who now works as a counselor in the Richmond school district.

“I’m amazed by how much service work Saint Mary’s students do,” Garth Flint said, pointing to the impact of the Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Action (CILSA) program that partners with community organizations and nonprofits to offer students opportunities to engage in service learning.

Flint appreciates his continued connection to the College. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Board of Trustees and working with Saint Mary’s staff,” he said. “The Saint Mary’s culture is very special. I’m continually amazed by the dedication of the Saint Mary’s community and its focus on the Lasallian mission.”