On April 25, 2016, CBHS named the business department in honor of the generous gift from alumnus Bill Marr, CBHS Class of 1964, and his wife Carol. See highlights of the dedication ceremony revealing the naming of The Bill and Carol Department of Business and Economics at Christian Brothers High School.
Marr’s gift will help:
• Develop business curriculum for the 68% of CBHS students currently enrolled in business courses
• Kickstart the establishment of an alumni advisory council
• Establish a national career mentoring program
• Support post-collegiate talent retention and job placement for CBHS graduates
“Any alum who appreciates the valuable lessons learned at CBHS should pay back what he can,” Marr said. “I hope this contribution will help Christian Brothers prepare their students for business careers in sales and marketing.”
Marr, retired Vice President of North American and Australian Field Operations at Sun Microsystems, was honored on Monday, April 25, at a dedication ceremony on the CBHS campus hosted by Jim Strickland (CBHS ’82), Mayor of Memphis, and Bob McEniry (CBHS ’59), Chairman, nexAir. Marr spoke about the education and life preparation he received at the school.
“I want boys to gain the values taught by a Christian Brothers education: accountability, discipline, leadership, work ethic,” said Marr. “You can get a good education at a lot of schools but they don't teach you to be a man.”
“The Brothers have always exhibited the wisdom to prepare boys for both college and life, and their decision to offer courses in Accounting, Management, and Marketing many years ago, has proven to help many graduates in their professional lives,” said CBHS Principal Chris Fay. “Our challenge today is to remain leaders in offering relevant course work and experiences in the business curriculum that continue to set our graduates apart as they enter college and then career.”
Marr’s gift will not only help further develop business curriculum for the 68% of CBHS students currently enrolled in business elective courses, but will also kick start the establishment of an alumni advisory council and national career mentoring program, which will work to build meaningful professional relationships between the local business community and students in an effort to support post-collegiate talent retention and job placement.
Currently, more than 6,000 CBHS alumni live and work in the Memphis area, including senior executives at FedEx, AutoZone, nexAir, and FTN Financial, as well as established small and medium-sized business owners.
“CBHS alumni are represented in global finance, venture capital and Fortune 500 executive leadership, as well as local entrepreneurs and small business owners,” said David Popwell (CBHS ’78), President and COO of First Tennessee Bank. “You simply cannot tell the history of Memphis without referencing the impact of the Christian Brothers.”
Other notable locally-based alumni in business include David Cunningham (’79), Executive VP/COO of FedEx Express; Ray Pohlman (’66), VP of AutoZone; Gary Stavrum (’84), Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist; and regional restauranteurs Andy Ticer (’98) and Michael Hudman (’98). Nationally, notable alumni include Tom Bell (’68), Former Chairman of the US Chamber of Commerce, Christopher Whitman (’85) Head of Credit Portfolio Strategies, Deutsche Bank, London, England and Joe Croteau (’72), retired VP/Treasurer, T. Rowe Price.
Marr hopes that this network of alumni connections and expanded curriculum will prepare CBHS students for equally successful roles in sales and marketing careers.
“My son graduated from CBHS and I have two grandsons in Memphis that I hope will be able to attend,” Marr said. “Christian Brothers has a proud tradition of educating young men in Memphis and it's important to help them continue that tradition.”
After graduating from CBHS, Marr attended the University of Memphis before joining the Air Force. After four years of service, he held Sales and Sales Management positions at Burroughs, Data General and EVP of Worldwide Field Operations for 3com Corporation.