Most college-bound students want to leave their hometown and go away for college, but that wasn’t the case for Mario Trueba. After moving to South Florida from Philadelphia in the eighth grade, he knew he’d always want sand in his shoes.
Cuban-born Mario wanted a small values-based environment, and Biscayne College fit the bill. He started his college career in the fall of 1976.
“What I loved most about St. Thomas was the connection we had with the professors, and the comradery between students,” said Mario, CEO of Sabadell United Bank.* “We were all from working-class families, and working our way through college.”
He said many of STU endearing characteristics that made it unique then are still present today. Not many schools can offer individualized attention, the “personalized” touch that STU offers.
“When I was a freshman, a very good friend of mine from high school was going through some tough medical issues, and it was hard for him to physically get to classes. The staff and faculty at Biscayne College took notice, and rearranged his schedule so that I could help him. St. Thomas adds a personal touch to higher education, and everyone on campus feels it.”
Mario graduated in 1980 with a degree in psychology and secondary education, although he went on to receive a master’s degree in business administration, he credits his undergraduate studies as the foundation of what he does every day.
“My undergraduate studies help me every day in my business role – I learned about public speaking, how to write well, and how to insightfully research and ask questions.”
Giving back to the community, especially to St. Thomas, is very important to Mario, who in addition to serving different committees and boards in South Florida, also serves on the university’s Board of Trustees.
“It’s important to give to organizations that impact the community, organizations you believe in,” he said. “When I was asked to join the Board of Trustees, it was an easy ‘yes.’ When I give financially, it’s also an easy ‘yes.’ I believe in St. Thomas’ mission, in its future, and it was really good to me, so the least I can do is give back.”
Mario and his wife, Susana, are long-term supporters of St. Thomas University, their gifts have helped established the student travel fund which support study aboard programs.
To learn more about supporting St. Thomas University, click here.
*In February 2017 IBERIABANK Corporation announced its acquiring Miami-based Sabadell United Bank, and as of July 31, Mario’s new role is South Florida President of IBERIABANK.