A Red Celt Thread Runs Through the Latino Family
It’s easy to see why Paul Latino ’03 and his wife Klair (Kopnicky)’03 tell their 12-year-old daughter that she might one day meet her husband at University of St. Thomas. Paul and Klair met on that beautiful campus. Paul’s parents Michael ’65 and Kathleen ’66, who has passed on, came to know one another at UST. Paul’s brother and sister-in-law, Joey ’00 and his wife Amber (Barnes) ’00, also fell in love as students at Houston’s only Catholic University. Given that the six also have uncles, aunts and cousins who are alumni, the Celt legacy lives strong in the Latino family today — in the sharing of memories made years ago and in the form of new memories created as they stay connected to their alma mater.
Michael, the patriarch, pursued chemistry, and Kathleen was a teacher and administrator. Together, they had four sons, naming each after saints and encouraging them to go to college. The older two, Tony and John, chose other universities. But Paul and Joey were drawn to UST and received large scholarships. The St. Thomas road has made all the difference, say the younger brothers.
Paul’s UST Experience
Paul, now a father of three and founder of Downrock Creative, a creative agency, was focused on graphic design but got so much more at St. Thomas than his excellent liberal arts education.
“During the freshman year, my faith became alive as if in perfect timing with God’s plan,” Paul said. “Life was different, full of more joy, and I became aware of my love for all people. My first experience with spiritual direction came from Fr. William Kelly, one of my professors. I saw that faith could be and should be integrated into every aspect of life. You could seek that out at another university, but it would probably take more effort.”
Like Paul and Klair, Joey and Amber have three children. A business applications developer, Joey said the thought of UST stirs emotions of “pride, love and laughter.”
“I’m very proud of the education I received at UST,” he said. “I figured out what love was at St. Thomas—in and out of my theology classes—and on top of it all, I had an absolute blast. I showed up a child, and I left more mature and experienced. I left prepared for my technical career and with an invaluable foundation in philosophy, theology and logic, which I appreciate more over the years.”
Staying Connected & Making New Memories
The Latino family receives the alumni emails and is excited to reconnect with friends at the “Two Saints and a Taco Tasting” event. When busy schedules permit, they head to the beautiful campus to attend alumni family weekends like outdoor movies, games, jumping houses for the kids, sometimes costume contests.
Paul said, “Klair and I took our kids to the prayer garden where we would sometimes go as students. We take our kids to Christmas on the Mall. They still talk about the camel and the snowball fights.
“Sometimes Klair and I go on dates to UST and kneel outside the Chapel of St. Basil. It’s a cool place and memory for us.”
This legacy family found something special at the University, something lasting to hold onto and cherish.
Alumni can stay connected and engaged and find information on upcoming “cool” happenings here.