When Stephen Cuntz wants a reminder of how his Xavier education shaped him, all he has to do is reach for the scapular medal he still wears around his neck.
It’s a symbol of something that molded him into the man he is today—a college graduate, philanthropist, and president and CEO of BlueStar Inc., a global solutions distributor in Florence, Ky. He first received the scapular when he was a freshman on the Xavier football squad in 1972. A running back from West Chester, Ohio, he was not Catholic, yet his teammates embraced him and took him to Mass on Saturday nights.
He found a family at Xavier and became a proponent of the Catholic education that would mold his beliefs.
Five years ago, Cuntz made a gift of $250,000 to Xavier, earmarked for the Center for Catholic Education, which assists local Catholic schools in transmitting the faith and developing Catholic education.
“I had a public school background, and quite a bit of the curriculum at the time involved liberal arts,” says the 1976 accounting graduate who also earned an MBA in 1980. “A lot of the course load at Xavier did something for me that I never knew about education. It caused introspection. They made you think about values and where we fit in with our fellow community members.
“I always knew I was going to be a business person,” he says. “In a way that’s where my true education started. In the Jesuit tradition, the education part is critical—and you do a self-evaluation of where God fits in on a daily basis. It was critical to me. You learned about integrity and your moral compass.”
Center Director Michael Flick, PhD, says Cuntz’s support allows the center to fulfill its mission by collaborating with Catholic elementary and secondary schools in multiple ways.
“Our professional learning communities program is transforming Catholic schools by fostering collaborative student-centered learning in a caring and spiritual environment. In short, Mr. Cuntz is having a profound and lasting impact on Catholic schools and the future.”
Cuntz, now a grandfather of four, says he sees a lack of respect in public education today, and he wants to make sure the values of Jesuit education endure.
“We need teachers to fill in and step up and teach. I saw that foundation at Xavier as critical to my outcome, and I’ve become an evangelist for anyone who wants a Jesuit education. I’m banging the drum!”
Cuntz, a first-generation college student, is a Certified Public Accountant who also serves as a mentor and on the Williams College of Business Economics Board. Since 2011, he’s also served on Xavier’s Board of Trustees.
“Being a CEO, you only have so many hours in the day, but I’m at Xavier a lot, and I’m thankful for that," he says. "When you’ve been fortunate, when by the grace of God you have success, you start to wonder, ‘How do I make this world a better place?’...It feels really good to know that what you’re supporting will have an impact down the road.”