All of these phrases describe Andres Gutierrez ’99, a financial advisor in San Antonio.
Andres and his wife, Zaira, have just made plans to include Schreiner in their estate plans through a life insurance gift. This commitment follows a natural progression that reflects all of Andres’ life values. When Andres first started his career in financial planning five years ago, he began to ponder the same questions he was asking his clients. As he encouraged others to consider their beneficiaries, he kept thinking about Schreiner. Although his own resources were understandably modest at the time, Andres wanted to honor the college that had helped him become a competent businessman and thoughtful citizen. That desire evolved into a definite plan this year.
Now a family man with a wife and baby, Andres recently purchased a term life insurance policy to protect his loved ones. As a financial planning professional, Andres also knew that he could expand the plan to include Schreiner as well. Andres said, “So I increased the amount of insurance I felt was sufficient to cover my family and added Schreiner as a 10 percent beneficiary. It’s my way of saying thank you to everyone who made my college experience so unforgettable. The way I am today is the result of going to school at Schreiner, and I think it is important to give back.”
Andres arrived at Schreiner thanks to his brother Abel, who was already playing tennis at Schreiner. Andres, a year older, was attending college in the Rio Grande Valley where the Gutierrez family lived. One day Coach Lee Jennings and Abel persuaded Andres to consider Schreiner and its tennis team.
“I fell in love with the school!” recalls Andres. “I loved the campus, the outdoors, the experience of being away from home. I loved the size and knew I would learn so much more at Schreiner, where I would not be sitting in an auditorium, listening to a teacher over a microphone. I recognized immediately that Schreiner was for me!”
Believing he wanted to pursue a career in science or medicine, Andres majored in chemistry. However, teachers across the academic disciplines inspired and motivated him. “Dr. (Mike) Looney absolutely would not let me make excuses when I tried to blame my tennis schedule for my performance. And Dr. Fred Stevens is a man of vast, vast knowledge.”
Andres has enormous respect for the late Dan Swenson, who taught him just one class. “Dr. Swenson made a huge impact on me because he made me think critically, made me mature.”
Andres also remembers studying the history of Christianity with campus minister Loren Scribner. “Dr. Scribner made me feel as if I were really in college. His class was intense, with lots of reading and writing and hard work.”
And his tennis coach? “Lee Jennings is a very fair person. Here I came, thinking I should receive special treatment as a district tennis champion from the Valley! That’s not how Coach Jennings works. But by the time I was a senior, however, Coach let me know that he counted on me to set an example as a scholar athlete. I did not want to let him down!”
The combined wisdom and encouragement of his teachers helped Andres develop a successful approach to college that he hopes current Schreiner students will follow. “Do what you’re there to do. Go to every class, listen, make good grades. Then everyone will be happy: coaches, teachers, parents and yourself.”
Andres credits Schreiner with teaching him how to use time wisely and accept personal responsibility. Schreiner’s internship program after Andres’ junior year provided another valuable insight.
Returning to Brownsville for the summer, Andres worked for the public utility company as a bench chemist. It was that experience that made Andres know he wanted a career with more variety and flexibility. Then, a few months later, Andres attended his first job fair. Not having a job when he graduated was not an option, Andres explains. The positions that looked the most promising at the January job fair were in financial planning. He liked the promise of working with people in a career that offered variety, autonomy and flexibility. So he prepared a résumé, made hundreds of copies, and returned to the next job fair ready to work on life after college.
“I knew nothing about stocks and bonds, but the companies told me they would train me. I gave a résumé to every person at the fair, knowing that the more people who knew of my interest, the better chance I would have at interviews. Fortunately, it worked!” Upon graduation, Andres began training as a financial advisor. A year and a half later, he and Zaira married. Now Andres is the first to admit that he has fallen in love three times—once with his college, then with his career, and now with his family. “My family means everything to me,” he says emphatically. “I just cannot wait to get home at night and see what Andres (11 months old) has learned each day!”
Andres Gutierrez knows that he is well blessed. He honors those blessings by devoting himself to his family and by helping others. He works actively with the Pecan Valley Optimist Club and is vice president of the San Antonio alumni chapter of the Schreiner Former Students Association. Grinning broadly, Andres takes credit for helping create the monthly SFSA events at the San Antonio Mamacita’s Restaurant. “I like our monthly gatherings where I can get to know other former students. I encourage everyone to become involved with the SFSA…to stay in touch, to help young grads start their own careers, and to remember those who have helped us.”
Andres summarizes his relationship by describing Schreiner as a family… “a place to find strength, support, encouragement, everything a family provides. Schreiner offers fellowship…and awesome memories.”
Proud alumnus, skilled financial planner, loving family man — that’s Andres Gutierrez. And it makes Schreiner proud, too, to recognize Andres and Zaira as the newest members of the Schreiner Oaks Society.
Andres may be contacted either by calling (210) 639-3082 or e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.