Christ the King Award Recipient for 2013:
Bob Enright ’76
On Nov. 24, 2013, Bob Enright '76 received the Christ the King Award, the highest honor SI bestows upon a graduate of the school. Below is the text of the citation read at the Mass.
The priest was late for the memorial service. With the mourners all seated and waiting in the quiet chapel, the hopes of a proper send off seemed bleak with no celebrant. The deceased man’s wife of 48 years turned to the family’s financial advisor, Bob Enright, for help. Bob embraced the opportunity to honor his client and friend. He rose up, welcomed the congregants and channeled his uncle, Rev. Fred Tollini, S.J. ’52, in holding what many described as one of the most personal and beautiful services they had ever attended. The service included three decades of the rosary, multiple Irish blessings and a moving speech about the man’s life and contributions to society. In a pinch, Bob Enright was celebrant, eulogist, advisor, pastor and friend all at the same time. And in the end, he felt blessed to serve his client faithfully, even in death.
Today we honor Robert Daniel Enright ’76 as the recipient of St. Ignatius College Preparatory’s highest alumni honor, the Christ the King Award. In the almost four decades since his graduation, Bob Enright has always risen to the occasion, taking on the challenges of our times with great zeal, firm resolve and a gentle touch.
Bob Enright was born in San Francisco to Robert and Cecilia Enright on Sept. 19, 1958. He was the fourth of five children who grew up on Windsor Drive in Westlake during a time when families dominated the landscape. On his block alone lived the Murrays, Feeneys, Tonellis, Columbinis, Luttingers, Pacellis, McKennas, and the Bacioccos. It was a special time in Daly City, and the relationships Bob made during those years helped form him.
Bob went to Our Lady of Mercy grammar school, also known as “The Factory” by those who didn’t have the privilege of attending San Francisco schools such as St. Cecilia’s, St. Stephen’s, or Holy Name. Bob matriculated to St. Ignatius in 1972, where he competed on championship basketball teams, acted as the Sergeant at Arms, was a member of the Block Club and served as one of the great event planners in the history of the school.
After graduating from SI in 1976, Bob went to San Francisco State University for a year before transferring to the University of San Francisco, earning his undergraduate degree in Business Administration in 1981. After graduation, Bob started working as a financial planner and investment advisor in the East Bay. He eventually partnered with Peter Burton in 1989 and in 2014 will be celebrating his 25th year with the same firm.
Bob’s friends always knew that he would be successful in the world of finance. Paul Tonelli ’76 reports that Bob was a very wise and shrewd businessman at a young age. “When we were kids, Bob would purchase packs of firecrackers for a dime and then resell them to me for 50 cents. He has always been good with money.” On a serious note, Paul added that Bob has been successful because “he always puts his clients first. Their success is his success.” The President of SI’s Alumni Association, Jeff Columbini, added that Bob “runs his business differently than others – he treats his clients like family and the results show.”
A quote from Warren Buffet that is posted in the lobby to the Burton Enright firm says a lot about Bob: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Bob has been doing things differently his entire life. He not only runs all of his ’76 Class Reunions, but he has also invited other classes to share in the camaraderie. At his 30-year reunion, for example, Bob hosted members of Rev. John LoSchiavo’s Class of 1942 and other World War II veterans as guests of the Class of ’76. It was an evening full of love, respect and gratitude for “The Greatest Generation” and Bob Enright made it happen. “That is who Bob is,” says Bob’s ’76 classmate, Ed Reidy. “He is a connector of people.”
If anyone questions Bob’s wisdom, he or she is clearly not aware of the “Mystery Trips.” Starting in 1993, Bob and six of his childhood friends started a tradition of an annual trip with just the guys. The rules are simple: The organizer picks a destination, invites a mystery guest, and doesn’t tell the others where they are going. All they are given are details about the cost and suggested clothing for the trip. Past mystery guests include Steve Roche, Ed Rhein, Dennis Murphy, Tom Sweeney and Kevin Hermann, and they have visited places from Mexico to Seattle and everywhere in between. To recap: That’s seven childhood friends, no wives or children, a bag of clothes, a mystery destination, a mystery guest and a pocketful of money. In short, Bob Enright is a genius.
While working so hard and serving his clients and friends so well, Bob always makes time for his family. Bob and his wife Erin have been happily married since 2009 and are the proud parents of 1-year-old Robert Christopher Tollini Enright, who goes by the names of “Robbie” and “RE3.” Some have asked why such a great guy waited so long to get married because many see Bob as the perfect husband and father. Bob’s friends will tell you that he was too busy taking care of others all those years. And it turns out that Robbie technically isn’t Bob’s first child. Legend has it that Bob helped raise a young red-headed Westlake boy back in the 1970s who went by the name of “Chester.”
In addition to the long hours he has spent serving his clients, Bob has also faithfully served the San Francisco community. At the age of 28, Bob and a few friends formed the Heritage Club of San Francisco, an organization whose purpose was to encourage fellowship among its members and provide financial support to a community in need. As the president of the Heritage Club, Bob helped raise tens of thousands of dollars through dinner events, dances and golf tournaments. Organizations that benefited from Bob’s generous work include the Special Olympics and the Recreation Center for the Handicapped, now better known as the Pomeroy Center.
Bob became a board member at the Pomeroy Center in 1988 and became board chair after Janet Pomeroy’s passing in 2005. He provided critical support to the Center at an important time in that organization’s history and was honoree at their Banner of Love celebration in 2008. Bob has also served SI well in recent years as vice president of the Alumni Board and in his current role as chair of the Investment Committee of the Board of Regents.
The words of Tennyson come to mind when we consider the life of Bob Enright:
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
…I am part of all that I have met…
…a bringer of new things.”
In Bob’s case, he is as much a part of all of us as we are of him and a true composite of those who have touched his life. In Bob, we see Fr. Tollini’s grace, Kevin Hermann’s integrity, Harold De Luca’s generous spirit, Bob Drucker’s class, Paul Tonelli’s humor, Dan Linehan’s passion, Jeff Columbini’s loyalty, his Nohnna Tollini’s wisdom, his mom’s love of family and his proud father’s good looks. And in the great Jesuit tradition, Bob always strives for something more, seeking to be “a bringer of new things.” Bob, you are a man of immense dedication and integrity, and we are proud to honor you today for your good work.
On behalf of the school, the SI Alumni Association, the Regents and Trustees, thank you for being a loyal and humble friend of SI and a role model for future Ignatians. Congratulations.