Tampa Catholic High School announces a gift of $100,000 to the school by Class of 1977 alumnus Rene J. Zarate and his wife Mary, whom Rene met at TC their freshman year. In honor of their generosity, the executive boardroom in Tampa Catholic’s new Center for Student Services will be named the “Mary and Rene J. ’77 Zarate Boardroom”.
Rene is one of four children of Elsa and Rene Zarate, Sr. to attend Tampa Catholic. Siblings Vivian Zarate Braaksma ’76, John Zarate ’79 (wife Patty ’80) and Jacqueline Zarate ’82 are also TC alumni, as are numerous nieces and nephews.
Tampa Catholic and Catholic education have played a strong role in their lives. Rene, Mary and the other Zarate siblings created the Elsa Zarate Memorial Scholarship in honor of their mother who worked tirelessly to ensure that her children were able to have a Catholic education. The scholarship is awarded to an incoming Tampa Catholic freshman each year, providing tuition assistance to the student throughout his or her four years at TC. Rene shared: “The TC community has had, and continues to have, a tremendous impact on our life, from the core education, to the lifelong relationships. Mary and I have been very fortunate and hope to stay connected in a way that helps others that have not been.”
Mr. Robert C. Lees, Principal of Tampa Catholic, offered appreciation for the Zarate’s gift. “Rene and Mary Zarate share a strong passion for Catholic education. Rene has provided crucial leadership as a member and chair of TC’s Consultative Board. This generous gift continues the great legacy of the giving that the Zarate family has at TC. Mary and Rene embody the ideals of Faith Excellence and Family, that we aspire to instill in our students.”
While at TC Rene was a third baseman for the storied Tampa Catholic baseball program, winning a state championship in 1976. Because of his success at TC, he was able to continue playing baseball at Western Kentucky University, where he lettered for four years, eventually becoming a catcher for the Hilltoppers.
After obtaining his Bachelor of Science with a Concentration in Accounting at Western Kentucky, Rene returned to Tampa and began his career as a CPA. After spending several years with an International firm, he joined Rivero, Gordimer & Company, a Tampa CPA firm, where he reunited with many fellow TC alums. Over the ensuing 36 years, Rene has had the good fortune to utilize his experiences to assist entrepreneurs and governing boards with counsel. His services have ranged from strategic planning to bankruptcy reorganizations, international investments, business transactions and valuation work. All of which was made possible by his TC experience and relationships, from clients, partners and coworkers.