Sunday, April 21, 2024

In Memoriam: UTSA celebrates the impact and legacy of Carlos Alvarez

In Memoriam: UTSA celebrates the impact and legacy of Carlos Alvarez

APRIL 19, 2024 — The UTSA community is mourning the loss of Carlos Alvarez, a highly respected businessman, passionate philanthropist, generous benefactor and honorary Roadrunner. Alvarez was an exceptional individual who, along with his wife, Malú, championed higher education, inspired positive change and uplifted the UTSA and San Antonio communities.

“Carlos demonstrated kindness and impacted every person he met and every team he led. His business acumen was second to none, but more than that, he was a person of great conviction and a thoughtful friend and mentor whom we all will greatly miss,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without Carlos’ passion for helping our students invest in their dreams, just as he did for himself and his family. He cared so deeply for all those around him. Peggy and I will miss him so very much and our hearts are broken for Malú and his entire family.”

Over the last two decades, Alvarez dedicated his time, talents and generosity to countless students and programs. He and Malú would ultimately support several university programs, including the Carlos and Malú Alvarez Endowment for Student Success, the Carlos Alvarez Endowment for Graduate Fellowships in Science and Engineering, the Carlos and Malú Alvarez Endowed Graduate Residence Education Carlos Alvarez Challenge Match for Graduate Student Excellence Fund. All told, these contributions benefitted more than 1,000 UTSA students. In honor of this continued support, UTSA named Carlos and Malú Alvarez Hall in 2015.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without Carlos’ passion for helping our students invest in their dreams, just as he did for himself and his family.”

Then came the signature gift that led to UTSA’s first named college and the first business college in the University of Texas System to be named after a Latino. In 2021, Alvarez and his wife committed $20 million toward the UTSA College of Business, now known as the Carlos Alvarez College of Business (CACOB). Today, the college continues to advance research-enhancing activities, including endowed faculty positions, graduate research fellowships and undergraduate research programs.

“Carlos believed in the transformative power of education, and he cared deeply for the work we are doing in the Alvarez College of Business. His generosity has and will continue to impact thousands of UTSA students,” said Jonathon Halbesleben, CACOB dean. “His investments in UTSA’s future go far beyond giving students hope; they have created very real opportunities for students to change their lives, families, and community for the better. His memory will live on through the impact our students make on San Antonio and around the globe.”  

Carlos and Malú Alvarez have always championed higher education and supported several programs at UTSA.

Alvarez often shared that by investing in UTSA, he was uplifting a university dedicated to the long-term health of the local economy. In a 2022 interview with Sombrilla Magazine, Alvarez said, “A university the size and caliber of UTSA is incredibly important for the economic, cultural and social development of San Antonio. It's a major growth engine for the city as it's a sound and reliable local source of a high-quality employment pool.”

Alvarez’ success story began in June 1981 in Austin when he sold the very first cases of Corona beer in the United States. Carlos and Malú Alvarez moved to San Antonio with their two daughters in 1986 and founded The Gambrinus Company, which became the U.S. importer for the Grupo Modelo beer brands. For the next 20 years, Gambrinus was responsible for selling and marketing what would become one of the most successful brands in contemporary beer marketing history—Corona Extra.

In 1989, Alvarez acquired the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. At the time, the historic Texas brewery had been in decline for several years and faced serious financial difficulties. Alvarez, however, believed in the brewery’s potential and in Texas’ love for the Shiner brand. He invested in both the facility and in selling and marketing efforts behind the beer. Today, Spoetzl is a leading craft brewery in the U.S. and boasts Shiner as its flagship brand.

Gambrinus also owns and operates the Trumer Brewery in Berkeley, brewer of Trumer Pils, one of the most awarded pilsners in the world and one of the Bay Area’s leading brands.

A prominent community leader, Alvarez served as a UTSA Campaign Leadership Council co-chair and played a leading role in driving the current success of the university’s Be Bold campaign. He was also a member of The University of Texas System Chancellor’s Council.

Carlos Alvarez served as a co-chair on the Campaign Leadership Council at UTSA. Alvarez is pictured with (left to right:) UTSA President Taylor Eighmy, co-chair Sam Dawson, co-chair Nancy Kudla and co-chaor Graham Weston.

Additionally, he also served on the boards of National Public Radio, the World Affairs Council of America, Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc, United Way of San Antonio and the World Affairs Council of San Antonio, and he was a member of Haven for Hope’s Leadership Advisory Council.

Alvarez credited two men for inspiring his philanthropic approach.

The first was his father.

“My father was very involved in Acapulco,” Alvarez told Sombrilla. “I saw how involved he was in Acapulco helping the community. You are naturally influenced by your parents’ example and this education continues as you mature.”

Another influencer was Tom Frost, whom Alvarez described as someone who was extremely generous with his time, attention and advice.

“I guess he took an interest in supporting a young Mexican entrepreneur doing business in the U.S.,” Alvarez said. 

In recognition of Frost’s passion to uplift UTSA through philanthropy, Alvarez made a $2 million gift to UTSA in 2021 to establish the Tom C. Frost Distinguished University Chair for Business Excellence. This endowment, which is held by the dean of CACOB, marked the first time in UTSA history a dean would hold two chaired positions. 

Recognized as a legendary Texas businessman, Alvarez was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2011, he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which celebrates inspiring immigrants to the United States whose philanthropy works for the betterment of their communities. He received a bachelor’s degree in biochemical engineering from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and an honorary doctorate from St. Mary’s University.

“My heart is heavy with the news of the passing of Carlos Alvarez. He was a mentor, business leader and passionate philanthropist who firmly believed in the extraordinary future of San Antonio,” said Karl Miller-Lugo, UTSA vice president for Advancement and Alumni Engagement. “At UTSA, his legacy will live on through the thousands of students he supported and inspired as a result of his charitable giving. He was a true inspiration to all of us and the impact of his support will be felt by many future generations of students. Our Roadrunner family is mourning this loss but will forever cherish the incredible impact Carlos Alvarez had on our UTSA and San Antonio communities.”

Alvarez talks to a group of students during the Alvarez Student Expo, which allows students to present their research projects.

Recent alumna Anna Almaraz ’23 echoed Miller-Lugo’s sentiments.

“Mr. Alvarez was remarkably kind and generous to everyone he met, leaving a lasting impression on the entire UTSA community,” said Almaraz. “As a fellow Hispanic business owner and Alvarez College of Business student, meeting him was truly inspirational. Every interaction I had with him left me feeling uplifted, optimistic about the future, and motivated to always lead with a servant's heart. His transformative contributions to UTSA are a remarkable inspiration to young entrepreneurs, motivating us to always pursue our goals and strive to make a positive impact on others. While he will be deeply missed by UTSA students, his memory lives on, and we will continue to follow in his footsteps.”

A scholarship funded by Alvarez has likewise made college more accessible for Laredo, Texas student Juan Leal, a UTSA sophomore majoring in construction science.


“It is such a blessing to know that someone like Mr. Alvarez is willing to give me a chance of success in order to pursue my dream,” said Leal. “This scholarship will aid me in bridging the gap between my dreams of becoming a construction manager and myself. It will not only allow me to pursue what I love the most, but it will help me give back to the community that has shaped me into the person I am today.”

Alvarez is survived by his wife, Malú, his daughters, Malú and Carla, his grandchildren, Carlos Alvarez Brozovich and Carla Isabella Brozovich, and his son-in-law, John Brozovich.

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Send your feedback to

UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.



University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.