Doing Good for Others
Peter Balestreri ’74 and his wife, Kathy (Mercy ’74), feel lucky to be able to give back to their communities.
“My mother…used to tell me that when times are good, you have to give back,” says Kathy. “When times are tough…that’s when you really need to give back…whether monetarily or by volunteering your time.”
That philosophy led Pete, Kathy and their family to create a scholarship at SI in memory of Kathy’s mother, Kathleen Page. In 2019, Pete and Kathy created a second scholarship and joined the Father Carlin Heritage Society by including a legacy gift to SI in their estate plan.
Pete and Kathy, married 44 years now, met at a teen dance at OLM in Westlake.
“My classmate and friend John Stiegeler ’74 and I walked to OLM from St. Monica’s in the Richmond District,” says Pete. “We arrived at 10:45 p.m., just in time for the last dance. I was only 5 feet tall back then, and Kathy…was the only girl short enough to dance with me.”
Kathy was impressed by Pete. “I was a very good student at Mercy, but Pete knew so much more about art and history thanks to his classes at SI. That’s another reason why we support the school—we both think so highly of the value of a Jesuit education.”
Kathy and Pete spent much of their careers serving others at UCSF. Kathy’s first job was working the front desk in hospital administration. “I spent the next 40 years there, advancing finally to become executive director of patient services, reporting to the CEO of UCSF Health.” Pete worked at UCSF for a quarter century as security director and the emergency preparedness director while also safeguarding the campus from bioterrorism.
Still, another campus was the focus of Pete’s service and social life. “I always felt lucky to get into SI, as my parents struggled to pay my tuition. That’s why I want to help students who might not otherwise be able to afford a Jesuit education.”
Pete recently celebrated his 45th reunion from SI. “We want 50 of our classmates to join the [Carlin Society] by the time of our 50-year reunion in 2024,” he adds. “We already have a bunch of guys who have enrolled. For me, this is just an extension of what I did when I was a Bingo volunteer. It also relates to what my wife told people at UCSF—…don’t make decisions on what’s just best for me.”
That credo, he adds, “is exactly what SI teaches. Work for the greater good. AMDG.”