Ray Karasek III (’03, MBA ’07)
“My favorite memory at CBU is meeting Brother Joel Baumeyer in Rozier Hall as a freshman during move-in, after previously being introduced to him on the steps of the ‘New Cathedral’ at a 150-year celebration for Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis.”
Ray Karasek is the kind of man who finds opportunities to serve in the Lasallian tradition no matter where he is. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Ray graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Accounting in 2003 and completed a Master of Business Administration in 2007. He started his professional life at CBU and spent over 12 years going above and beyond the call to make the campus better for everyone.
During his time at CBU, Ray served in many roles, starting as resident director, interim director of Residence Life, budget manager, associate vice president for Student Life, and director of business services. He made an impact in each position he served. While interim director of Resident Life, he developed, interpreted, and enforced university policy and procedures and was responsible for protecting the assets of seven residence halls. He also supervised a team of graduate assistants.
As budget manager, he aided in preparing the university’s annual budget, monthly budget reports, and analysis of financial data. He collaborated with vice presidents, deans, and budget directors on various budget planning and implementations concerning university finances.
He accepted the challenge of becoming the interim associate vice president for Student Life. He led the Office of Student Life in planning the academic year. Among other accomplishments, he helped revise the student handbook and implemented residential housing marketing initiatives such as Maurelian Mondays, a Freshman Experience Initiative for students living on the college campus for the first time.
As director of business services, Ray provided counsel and support to the executive vice president for administration and finance (CFO). He oversaw the Department of Events Management, Print and Mailroom Services, and Card Systems Office and served as liaison for the CFO between Physical Plant, Campus Safety, and Information Technology. While there, Ray developed and implemented a financial aid matrix to better budget the financial-aid discount rate for incoming and returning students. He applied cost-saving initiatives for Print and Postal Services and a collaborative check-out process for resident hall students that brought Physical Plant, Aramark Facilities, Summer Conferences and, Residence Life together for better cost and revenue controls.
What colleagues at CBU remember most about Ray was his willingness to get the job done, his selflessness when it came to his relationships, and his giving of time and resources at CBU. Ray had a special relationship with the Christian Brothers. He made a point of annually loading the Brothers up in a CBU van and then driving them downtown to see the City of Memphis 4th of July fireworks display. He generously gave from his pocket at Christmastime to workers who reported to him at CBU because he knew they were at the lower end of the pay scale. The only explanation offered by colleagues for his service-minded spirit is, “that’s just Ray.”
In 2018, Ray and his wife, Laura, moved to Rhode Island, where he became the director of financial analysis and planning at the Community College of Rhode Island. Specifically, he oversaw auxiliary services and financial analysis. Ray continued his service-oriented life by immediately contacting a Lasallian school to see how he might get involved. Ocean Tides in Rhode Island, a Lasallian school that educates young men considered by a state agency to need residential placement and supervision, was the school he found. Ray chose to donate his stimulus check from the Covid-19 pandemic to Ocean Tides to help with its mission.
Today, Ray and Laura live in Arizona because she is completing her surgery fellowship at the University of Arizona. Eventually, they hope to move back to St. Louis. In the meantime, Ray is searching for opportunities to serve and is already substitute teaching at the San Miguel School in Tucson, a Lasallian school founded by the Brothers.
I have been a ‘Brother’s Boy’ since I was 14 years old, and I have many great memories over my 26 years of involvement with the Brothers.