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Chris Erevelles highlights her trusting partnership with husband Winston Erevelles

Community
May 30, 2024

Partnering with purpose

by Jennifer R. Lloyd (M.B.A. ’16)

Since a faith-inspired 2001 meeting in Pittsburgh placed Christine “Chris” Erevelles, M.D., in touch with her future husband, Winston Erevelles, Ph.D., their trusting partnership has grown along with their dedication to St. Mary’s.

As Winston Erevelles takes office as the 14th President of St. Mary’s University in June, his wife, Chris Erevelles, shared her personal and career journey with Gold & Blue magazine as she enters a new era as the spouse of the President.

Q: Can you share a little bit about your background and where you grew up? 

A: I grew up in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. My dad was one of seven children. My mother was one of 11. They both grew up during the Great Depression. My mother said all they had for dinner was oatmeal and whatever my grandfather caught in the river. Once she married, she said, “I will never eat another bowl of oatmeal again as long as I live,” and to my knowledge, she did not. My dad had it a little bit better because his father could read and write. So, while my grandfather was a coal miner, he worked a lot in the office and had steady employment. My dad’s parents came from Poland just before the start of World War II. My maternal grandparents are Pennsylvania German. When my dad was 17, he asked his mom to give permission so that he could fight in World War II. He joined the U.S. Navy and fought mostly in the North Atlantic on a destroyer escort. His unit got a presidential citation for valor. The war shaped my dad in good ways and bad, much like war does. My parents got married in 1947. They had six children, and I am the youngest of six. My oldest sister is 16 years older than I am. 

Q: You and your husband have said you love to cook. For you, did that love of culinary arts come from your family? 

A: My mom, who was probably the best cook in all of Emmaus, started out not being able to boil water. But my paternal grandmother moved into our home after my grandfather died and taught my mom to cook. My grandmother died when I was 4, but my older siblings say that she could make a piece of shoe leather taste like filet mignon. She passed her skills to my mom and my mom to me. Cooking is something that the whole family enjoys doing together. Winston and I love trying new recipes. Mostly, we enjoy being creative while spending time together.


  • Fun facts about Chris Erevelles

    Favorite St. Mary’s University event:  

    • , especially the recognition of employees’ years of service 

    St. Mary’s projects she’s excited for: 

    Activities that wow: 

    • Was a volunteer firefighter from age 14 until college 
    • Loves the chemistry behind balancing pool chemicals in the family’s backyard and whipping up homemade ice cream 
    • Joined her kids in learning Taekwondo and earned a second-degree black belt 
    • Don’t believe us?

Q: After attending Catholic schools growing up, you switched from a physician assistant major at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, to set your sights on medical school. Tell us about your inspiration to study medicine. 

A: I attended Allentown Central Catholic High School, which is a college prep school. I wanted to attend medical school. Having graduated in 1982, my guidance counselor said, “There’s no way you can go to med school and have a family.” I took that at face value and entered the PA program at Saint Francis on a scholarship. During my first semester, my Biology professor, with whom I’m still friends, encouraged me to consider the pre-med track. I talked to my parents about it, and there was no small amount of resistance, for the same reasons cited by my guidance counselor. Being fairly stubborn, I was able to convince them that I could succeed in medicine and was accepted to the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Q: What made you sure at a young age that you wanted a medical career? 

A: I was a volunteer at the local hospital. I racked up a ridiculous number of hours over four years. Our neighbor was an ENT doctor there and would introduce me to his colleagues, who allowed me to help in various capacities. I would get pulled in to help chaperone ultrasounds, rush with orderlies as we took patients to the operating room, etc. I thought, “Man, this is cool. It’s really interesting. These people are making a difference.” 

Winston Erevelles stands next to Chris Erevelles
Chris Erevelles, right, stands next to her husband, Winston Erevelles.

Q: Your specialty is in emergency medicine. What drew you to that type of medicine? 

A: Emergency medicine is probably the youngest specialty. Before the advent of emergency medicine as a specialty, it was the luck of the draw when you went to the ER. You could have an ophthalmologist manage your heart attack, or a general surgeon manage your child’s seizure. The specialty has evolved greatly. During my surgery rotation, I realized I enjoyed seeing patients in the emergency room because it was a challenge to make a diagnosis, and I am told that I think pretty well on my feet, which is certainly necessary when taking care of patients who can present with any number of life-threatening emergencies. I found in the emergency department you take a very methodical approach when getting the medical history, then the physical exam, and then the lab tests and scans, if necessary. As an emergency medicine specialist, we have to consider the most serious potential causes of what has brought someone to the emergency department and exclude those causes. You also see people at their worst — frightened, ill, injured — and I consider it a privilege to have people trust me. I would say that emergency medicine found me. I was fortunate to get one of eight spots a highly competitive emergency medicine residency the Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. That was providence. 

Q: Now, you are a hospital administrator with Baptist Neighborhood Hospital and an emergency medicine doctor. Can you tell us more about your current role? 

A: I am the System Medical Director for the nine Baptist Neighborhood Hospital locations in San Antonio. They are licensed hospitals with an ER side and an in-patient side. They’re called neighborhood hospitals because they’re quite close to different communities, and people like to be close to home and family when they are sick. Our facilities are able to provide that care for patients. However, we also can send patients to the Baptist Health System facilities if needed. We will be building our 10th hospital in 2025. System-wide, we see 140,000 patients a year. 

Q: In 2001, you met your future husband while he was working at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. How did you two connect? 

A: We met on an online Catholic dating site in January 2001. We had our first in-person date on February 22, 2001. I think that we knew on our first date that we would get married.

Q: It must have been a fantastic date. What made you so sure it was a match? 

A: I’m fairly reserved, but there was a level of comfort with Winston that was remarkable. I was divorced and had a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old. Winston came to meet them in March after we dated for a month. At the time, my son, David, was a fan of the character Thomas the Tank Engine from the show Thomas & Friends. At the time, they actually had a Thomas train that traveled to Cleveland, not far from us. We decided that we were going to take them on this Thomas the Train trip. The hotel where the train ride ended had a big pool and indoor playground. After we were all exhausted, we went to watch TV. We had two rooms, of course. As we were watching cartoons, I looked at Winston, and said, “You know, we should get married.” And that was the proposal. So, he tells people that I summoned him. We had been dating for four months. We were married on July 10, 2001, and then married in the Catholic Church after my annulment was finalized, exactly one year to the day. Later, we had two boys together, Joseph and Michael. 

Q: Winston Erevelles has said that, when he met you, he found “the joy of having a spouse who is your biggest supporter.” What has it been like to share your life with him? 

A: Very early on, I knew that Winston was my soulmate. I knew that we shared so many things on a very deep level, from our faith to our love of children to our desire to take the gifts that we were given and help other people. My philosophy is that God gave me this unique set of gifts. My job here on Earth is to do as much good with those gifts for as many people as I can while walking hand-in-hand with my husband on the way to heaven. Ultimately, as a married couple, my goal, my job, is to make sure I am with my spouse in eternity. 

Q: Now that your husband is taking on the role of President at St. Mary’s University, in what ways are you hoping to become more involved in the University? 

A: I’m personally very excited about the Nursing Program because of my profession. In general, I am looking forward to speaking with and, perhaps, influencing these students who are at this pivotal point in their life’s journey. The unique advantage of a small Catholic institution is that it gives students the ability to figure out what they’re good at and what they like while being formed by the Marianist community into people of faith who will move our society forward as professionals in Christ. I really am excited to be a part of that. Some of the students studying at St. Mary’s, in particular, may be wrestling with the same things that I did. “Can you have a family and do this?” I’d like to be someone to say, “Yes, not only is it possible, it’s awesome.” 

* Interview edited for length and clarity.

Read more about President Winston Erevelles

Winston Erevelles shares his journey to the St. Mary’s presidency and outlook on the next chapter

Winston Erevelles, Ph.D., has been a fixture of the University’s School of Science, Engineering and Technology as its long-time Dean and Professor of Industrial Engineering. On June 1, he became St. Mary's University's 14th president.

Honoring our legacy, shaping our future

This summer, St. Mary’s University will celebrate its 172nd anniversary. It is deeply moving and inspiring to reflect on the hopes and aspirations the Marianist brothers must have had as they helped boldly lay the first stones of St. Louis Hall in the late 1800s. 

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