San Antonio businessman, philanthropist and NFL owner Tom Benson is being honored nationwide for his educational philanthropy.
Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints, is one of eight individuals who have been selected to receive the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award in October from the National Catholic Educational Association. The Seton Award is the association’s highest honor, given in recognition of significant contributions to Catholic education. The award is named in honor of the first native-born American saint.
The eight honorees will receive their awards on Oct. 4 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
In recent years, the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation has contributed significant funding to Central Catholic High School, the University of the Incarnate Word and the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. Benson, through his foundation, donated $4 million to Central Catholic to upgrade the football stadium and to build a new athletic and convocation facility. Two years ago, Benson provided the seed money to the University of the Incarnate Word to help establish the school’s first football program. The team began playing last season. The Benson foundation also issued a $14 million challenge gift to support the Oblate School of Theology’s capital campaign.
He has also donated to numerous charities in New Orleans as the owner of the Saints.
Benson has been involved in the automobile business since 1950 and banking since the 1970s. In 2008, Benson bought a New Orleans television station and formed a global media group.