Tom Trebat, Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Nov 04, 2012

When I went searching for all of the ‘62 ND Dons that also graduated from UND, one of the toughest to find (other than Richard Harrar that I still haven’t found) was Tom Trebat. He and Jerry Erbach were good friends from grade school days and Jerry directed me to Columbia University in my search, but it took many months and thousands of miles to find Tom in Brazil. On a visit to his son in nearby Newport Beach, Tom and his lovely wife Margaret dropped by our house to tell his story over a few glasses of wine.

Like Don Stevens (see 1/20/12 above), Tom started his ND career across the lake at Moreau Seminary, but eventually his vocation changed direction and he graduated with a BA in 1967 and then followed that up with an MA from John Hopkins in 1971 and a PhD in economics from Vanderbilt in 1978.

While on a research assignment to Rio in the early 1970s, Tom met his future wife, a Brazilian girl with the unlikely name of Margaret Mary Miller.  They married shortly thereafter and returned to the US to go to graduate school together.   Up until recently, Margaret and Tom have lived mostly on the East Coast of the US, with frequent trips “home” to be with family in Chicago and Rio. 

After Vanderbilt, Tom and Margaret headed to NYC where Tom spent 25 years as a senior international economist for Bankers Trust, Chemical Bank and Citibank; then four years as a senior manager at the Ford Foundation; and seven years as an Adjunct Professor of International Affairs and Executive Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University.

And that’s when Tom disappeared! In 2012, after nearly 35 years in the Big Apple, Tom and Margaret accepted the challenge to open a new office for Columbia University in Rio de Janeiro as Director of Columbia Global Centers, Latin America. Tom and Margaret have four grown children, two of which live in Brazil, and one grandchild. Tom can be reached at thomastrebat@gmail.com.

Tom and Margaret are glad to be reconnected with the ’62 Dons and are making preliminary plans to be in attendance for the 50th reunion in 2016.  Looking ahead, they are planning on dividing time between the U.S. home base in the Chicago area and Rio de Janeiro.  Tom’s present assignment with Columbia University should extend through the Olympic Games in 2016.  If any of the Dons make it to Rio for the occasion, he and Margaret look forward to hearing from them.

Webmaster's Note: Since this was posted, I heard from Jerry Erbach who shared the following:

Thanks Jack. Very nicely written. Tom and I started out together at Lincoln Public School in Mount Prospect with Mrs. Frazier. St. Raymond Catholic School opened the next year and both he and I (as well as a couple of other kids from our class) transferred to St. Raymond’s. At St. Raymond’s, we had the same teacher for three years (St. Dolores - Pain?) who got tired of us both and allowed us to do two grades at the same time (Fifth and Sixth) since we had two classes sharing the same room. (Jim Starshak was also in the group of about 10 students). All three of us played little league and pony league baseball together.  In fact, Starshak’s dad and older brother coached my first baseball team. After that, it was Notre Dame high school, where Tom and I convinced each other to go out for the Cross Country team in our sophomore year and did rather poorly. I continued and did better after that. 

Tom also got me the job working in the kitchen at Moreau Seminary for room and board. A real financial help given the six years it took to go through Notre Dame. While Tom was studying at Sais in Washington DC he introduced me to the World Bank project manager for Yemen, which was pivotal in my decision to accept a UN Volunteer position in Sanaa. Until that time in 1971, Yemen was essentially a closed off country coming out of 9 years of civil war with very little known about it on the outside. When I got there, there were only 10 Americans in the whole country. 

Anyway just some chatter about how we are tied to people, even if we don’t see them for some time. Cheers. Go Irish.

 


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