Catholic dean quits as Houston faculty calls him a ‘quack’ for allegedly lying about education

The dean of St. Thomas University’s business school – a former Swiss Guardsman who knew Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa – has quit amid allegations he tampered with his degrees.

Mario Enzler is accused of achieving the top job at the Cameron School of Business by featuring several degrees on his resume that apparently don’t exist. The Italian university where Enzler said he earned a doctorate does not offer a doctorate, and the institution where he said he earned a bachelor’s degree is actually a high school, several concerned professors told the private Catholic institution in a April letter.

St. Thomas officials confirmed Enzler’s resignation on Tuesday but declined to comment on the surrounding circumstances.

“The University of St. Thomas accepted the resignation of Mario Enzler on Friday afternoon,” spokeswoman Sandra Soliz said in a statement. “He’s moving on to the next chapter of his life.”

Enzler became dean of the Cameron School in June 2020, despite his resume showing no degrees in business-related fields. He was notably a former Swiss guard of Pope John Paul II, during whose pontificate he also met Mother Teresa. These two experiences are recounted in a self-written book.

The Italian-born educator was a private banker for 19 years before co-founding a mainstream high school in New Hampshire with his wife, according to a resume obtained by the Houston Chronicle. Enzler said there that he recently worked at the Busch School of Business and Economics at the Catholic University of America. He did not respond to immediate requests for comment.

In their letter to the University of St. Thomas board of trustees, the affected faculty members said Enzler should never have been hired as dean. A search committee in St. Thomas received last-minute instructions to consider Enzler for the job. (The complainant professors were not themselves part of the search committee.)

The search committee ultimately decided that Enzler was unqualified for a Dean of Business position, as he apparently held a Ph.D. in music and a bachelor’s degree in classics, the professors said in the letter. He was selected anyway and held the position for two years, they said.

Meanwhile, a handful of professors grew concerned about Enzler’s leadership style and began checking his resume themselves, said John E. Simms, an associate professor of accounting.

Simms said he grew angry when he discovered Enzler’s allegedly falsified background – especially when he worked for a Catholic institution that should value fairness and truth.

“That vision that I and others at the university thought I might have was smoke,” he said. “It just went up in smoke.”

Ramon Fernandez, a tenured assistant professor of accounting, said he was concerned about the process — and the university leaders behind it — that led to Enzler being hired.

“I just don’t want this to happen again,” Fernandez said. “Really, the guy is a charlatan, he’s a cheat and he’s a crook.”

samantha.ketterer@houstonchronicle.com

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