Tom and Carrie Drez

Tom ’88 and Carrie ’88 Drez were both raised in Catholic families, attending Catholic schools throughout their lives. Tom and Carrie firmly believe that faith and family can get a person through anything, teaching their children that prayer is powerful and giving back is the best way to show thankfulness for all they have. When college loomed on the horizon, Lewis seemed an obvious choice for both and allowed them not only to continue their education in a setting where the values they were raised with remained core to their studies, but also enabled them to remain close to their families.

The Drez family joined the President’s Circle in 2010 following the passing of Brother William Walz, FSC. Christian Brothers Services generously established an endowed scholarship in Brother William’s name to honor his 22 years of service leading the organization. Brother Michael Quirk, FSC, Ed.D. ’75 ’79 current President and CEO of Christian Brothers Services, and Tom work together as point persons for the scholarship, which is awarded annually to a senior Computer Science or Business major.

“Carrie graduated with a B.A. in Social Work, and I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science in May 1988,” says Tom. “We married the next year in June, and have been blessed with three wonderful children, Nick, Jamie and Charlotte.”

Nick is currently a senior at Marquette University, Jamie is a sophomore at Lewis, and Charlotte is a potential future Flyer.
During his years at Lewis, Tom ran for Student Government President and lost by a mere 17 votes. It didn’t take long for Tom to turn the negative experience into a positive one. Without a job for senior year, he applied for a part-time computer job at Christian Brothers Services (CBS), then located on the Lewis campus. The senior year part-time job turned into full employment upon graduation, and Tom celebrated his 26th anniversary at CBS this past May.

Carrie also diligently worked to maintain a steady work-family balance as the couple started their family.

“My dad started working with his dad out of college and I guess things just fell in place for me to continue to do the same,” says Carrie. “It was not my original plan, but it has worked out for the best. Working for family has allowed me the most flexibility to raise my kids and continue to work. Both my brothers joined in over the years and with my dad passing away a few years ago, it has only made the emphasis to continue working with family more important.”

When they aren’t working or spending time with family, Carrie is involved with Hope and Friendship Ministries in Lemont and has coached travel soccer for their daughter for eight years. Tom proudly joined the Lewis University Computer Science Advisory  board this past summer. He is also currently IT and PR Chairman and a Past President serving on the Board from 2002-2013 for the Lemont Lions Club. He is active at the district and state levels of Lions Clubs currently serving as IT Chairman for both. In  honor of his community service work, Tom was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow Award in 2008 and Lions of Illinois FoundationFellow Award in 2007 from the Lemont Lions Club.

“My mom was a stay at home mom until the four of us were in high school and then went back into her original career choice, nursing,” explains Carrie. “She went back for herself, as well as to help put four kids through Catholic school. She stood out asan example to me that raising kids is the most important job you can have - and also that it is never too late to get back into thework force. She proved that hard work and determination can get you wherever you want to go.”

“I really learned a great deal from Bill McLean at St. Laurence High School, Dr. Steve Berger and all of the Mathematics and Computer Science faculty fromLewis University, and Brother William Walz, FSC, former President and CEO, and the entire management team at Christian Brothers Services in Romeoville,”adds Tom. “My father, Ken, worked in IT Systems at CNA insurance company in Chicago, and I was a founding member of the St. Laurence Computer Lab Assistant Program in 1983 under the direction of faculty member Bill McLean. That excitement for computer science extended into earning my degree from Lewis.”

Tom also found guidance through Bob Kempiak ’66, Registrar, who kept him gainfully employed as a transcript clerk in the vault during his time at Lewis. He also found a friend and cohort in Joe Falese ’78 ’84, Vice President for Student Services, as Joe provided guidance and direction while both men served as Resident Advisors.

“We always tell the kids that there is nothing more rewarding than making someone else happy, and that it is important to be kind to others because younever know what another person is going through,” says Carrie.

“We always look back fondly on our time at Lewis. The campus has grown and changed quite a bit over the last 25 years under Brother James’ guidance and direction. We both would not mind going back to Lewis and doing it all over again,” says Tom.

“Combined with the fact that our daughter, Jamie, now attends Lewis, we are glad to have strengthened our ties to the school in recent years,” says Tom. “We very much look forward to continuing our relationship with Lewis in the years to come.”

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