“The Tom Lea Institute was created to engender an appreciation of the art, character, and legacy of Tom Lea. It is committed to educating students and the public about Tom Lea’s relevance to history, art, and literature. Through curricula, public programs, exhibits, and publications, the Institute shares Lea’s legacy in order to inspire present and future generations.”
2021 Board of directors
Joe Lea Jr., CHAIR, Austin
Tania Schwartz, CHAIR-ELECT, El Paso
Cecilia Hager, SECRETARY, Fredericksburg
Stephen "Steve" Feinberg, FINANCE, Santa Fe, NM
James Polk, Finance, FINANCE, Santa Fe, NM
Benjamin Arriola, Jr., El Paso
Frank “Cinco” Feuille, El Paso
Pete Leavell, Denver, Colorado
Trudy Lewis, Odessa
Edgar Lopez, El Paso
Adair Margo, FOUNDER, El Paso
Isha Rogers Santamaria, El Paso
Catherine Lea Weeks, Houston
Raymond White, Austin
J.P. Bryan, Houston
Laura Bush, Dallas
Micki Costello, Fredericksburg, VA
Bill Kiely, Spicewood
James D. Lea*, Houston
meet the board
JOE LEA, JR. (Chairman) is an Austin trial lawyer where he has been practicing for over 48 years. He is an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. El Paso was his home growing up and in his earlier years as a lawyer. He treasured the times he spent with his uncle Tom Lea.
TANIA SCHWARTZ (Chair-Elect) is Vice President of The Mesa Group and a Trustee of the Schwartz Foundation. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Texas Cultural Trust and president of Texas Women for the Arts. She has a B.A. in English and American Literature, a M.A. in Education and she completed her Ph.D. studies in Educational Leadership and Foundations. She was inducted into the El Paso Women’s Hall of Fame in 2006. Tania lives in El Paso with her husband, Scott Schwartz, and their two children.
CECILIA HAGER (Secretary) is a native of San Antonio and spent her formative years on South Texas ranches in Brooks and Zavala counties. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Trinity University and has served on the boards of the Uvalde Arts Council, Hill Country CASA, Kerrville Public School Foundation, Texas Public Radio and as President of the South Texas Cattle Women.
STEPHEN 'STEVE' FEINBERG (Finance) is the Chairman and CEO of Dorsar Investment Co., a diversified investment company with interests in real estate, agriculture, and private equity. Steve is also on the boards of the Continental Transmission Corporation and Security Capital Preferred Growth. Selected board service includes presidency of the Feinberg Foundation; American Jewish Committee; University of Texas at Austin, College of Education Advisory Board; and several other institutions. He was born in Chicago and has homes in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and El Paso.
JAMES H. (JAMIE) POLK (Finance) has been active in the real estate investment business since 1974, both in El Paso and in Santa Fe with the ArchstoneSmith Trust and with Security Capital Group. Through his family’s long friendship with Tom and Sarah Lea, he has been an admirer and collector of Tom Lea’s works for many years. Past Board affiliations include the Lee Moor Children’s Home in El Paso, the New Mexico Nature Conservancy and St John’s College in Santa Fe and Annapolis. He received an engineering degree from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from the University of Virginia. Residing in Santa Fe with his wife, Mary, he enjoys spending time with family in Austin and Denver.
Benjamin Arriola, Jr. son of former board member and founder of Southwest University, Yolanda Arriola, is the President of Southwest University. He graduated from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. With the Institute's focus on education, Southwest University has been a consistent sponsor of the Tom Lea Institute for several years and it has hosted lectures on Tom Lea’s life and work for its students and the general public. Southwest University Park, the sports home of El Paso’s Chihuahua AAA baseball team, features large reproductions of Tom Lea’s World War II art in a display honoring the military. Ben is passionate about carrying on his mother's vision of providing practical, affordable, and efficient education for veterans, young people, and adults who want to switch careers. Southwest University focuses on degrees that have a high rate of employment upon graduation.
DR. FRANK 'CINCO' FEUILLE is a native El Pasoan who returned home in 1999 to practice dentistry and establish the Implant & Laser Periodontal Surgery Center. Dr. Feuille graduated in 1992 from Texas A&M University with a degree in BioMedical Sciences. He graduated cum laude in 1996 from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and received his certificate and Master's degree in Periodontics in 1999. Dr. Feuille is a Diplomate (board-certified) of the American Academy of Periodontology as well as a Fellow in the Academy of Osseointegration, the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry, and the American College of Dentists. He is the only El Pasoan to have been awarded the Young Texas Dentist of the Year Award and was privileged to be nominated for the Texas Dentist of the Year. He has been named a Texas Monthly Super Dentist for the last eight years in a row and he founded the Thunderbird Study Club.
Charles (Pete) Leavell, Leavell is CEO of 4UR Ranch Inc. in Creede, Colorado, a 3,000-acre luxury guest ranch. Pete’s parents, Charles and Shirley Leavell, were friends of Tom Lea, who together spent many days fishing at the ranch. Some of Tom’s experiences and his love of the outdoors were enlivened at the ranch, featured in Tom’s novel, The Primal Yoke. Back in El Paso, Shirley and Sarah were known as the “gold dust twins” for their ability to raise money for good causes. Pete retired as CEO of Renaissance Entertainment Corporation. He was the founder and President of Leavell Management Group, Inc, in which he acquired, developed, and managed numerous real estate ventures and Wolf Creek Pass Ski Area in Colorado. Pete is the founder of Ellora Energy LLC, a natural gas exploration company. He produced the award-winning documentary of the Grand Prix Racing Circuit at the Cannes Film Festival in 1975. Former board affiliations include the Denver International Film Festival, Chairman of the Board of Colorado Conservation Trust, and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Presently Pete holds Pioneer status as a member of the Roundup Riders of the Rockies, a prestigious 60-year-old organization of horse enthusiasts. He and Lindsey, a successful artist, have two grown children, Jennifer, and Brian, and two grandchildren.
TRUDY LEWIS is a retired public-school teacher in Odessa. She has 39 years teaching experience in Waco, Midland, and Odessa where she taught AP U.S. and European history as well as International Baccalaureate history of the Americas. Currently she is active as a community volunteer serving on the boards of the Ector County ISD Education Foundation and the Ellen Noel Art Museum and a grants committee member of the Permian Basin Area Foundation. She graduated from Rice University with a BA in History. She and her husband, Tryon, are the parents of two daughters.
Edgar Lopez, Lopez has an impressive architectural portfolio spanning over 25 years of work in El Paso. He is Principal Architect for IN*SITU Architecture. Edgar’s experience includes feasibility studies, project programming, master planning, new construction, renovations, and additions. A forward thinker, Edgar has been recognized in the El Paso community for his sensitivity to the built environment and his commitment to understanding each individual project he undertakes. These impressive projects include his work as principal architect for the City of El Paso, GSA, UTEP, Texas Tech, and the Mills Plaza, to name a few. Lopez holds a Master of Architecture, UNAM, Mexico, and a Bachelor of Science, UACJ, Mexico. He is a board member for the Texas Society of Architects Continuing Education Committee and the American Institute of Architects Texas Society of Architects. IN*SITU Architecture owns and is located in the building where Tom had his first studio, in a converted bookie’s joint. It was from these humble surroundings where Tom did the studies for his “giants” artwork of Pass of the North mural fame. The location is only a few blocks from the U.S. Federal Courthouse, which is the Mural’s home.
ADAIR MARGO (Founder) owned Adair Margo Gallery in El Paso from 1985-2010, exhibiting over 400 artists from a dozen countries. She became devoted to preserving the legacy of Tom Lea and founded the Tom Lea Institute in 2009. During the two-term presidency of George W. Bush, Adair chaired the President’s Committee on the Arts and joined First Lady Laura Bush for the United States reentry into UNESCO. She was appointed by Secretary of State Colin Powell to the US National Commission for UNESCO; and received the Aguila Azteca, the highest recognition given by the Mexican Government to a non-Mexican citizen, from President Felipe Calderon and the Presidential Citizens Medal from President George W. Bush. Adair Margo earned her B.A. in Art History from Vanderbilt University; studied Renaissance art and Italian in Florence, Italy, with Syracuse University; and completed her M.A. in Art History at New Mexico State University. She lives in El Paso and is married to Dee Margo. They have two grown sons.
Isha Rogers Santamaria, Isha has been in real estate acquisition and restoration for about six years, along with her husband, Steve. Their company is named “Saint Rogers” – “Saint“ for Santamaria and Rogers, for Isha's maiden name. They are well known for restoring the old Southwestern Railroad and Freight Depot. One of their recent projects is the Tom Lea Airbnb and also the St. Rogers apartments, where Tom and Sarah lived shortly after their marriage. Isha’s appreciation for Tom Lea started with a painting she inherited and has now blossomed into a collection of drawings and paintings—some featured in the unique Airbnb. In December 2017, she purchased a flight that stopped along portions of the Tom Lea Trail as part of a TLI fundraiser. Isha had a fantastic opportunity to visit some of Tom’s work at the Hall of State at the State Fairgrounds, the UT Medical Branch at Galveston, the Carroll Library at Baylor University, and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. Included in the couple’s next projects is the beautification of Murchison Park, located on the southernmost tip of Mount Franklin, which is itself the southernmost part of the U.S. Rocky Mountain chain.
CATHERINE LEA WEEKS is the granddaughter of Tom and Sarah Lea. She is a native Houstonian with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from the University of Houston. She worked for 17 years for Shell Oil Products US and Shell Trading in various positions within the Downstream Stock Accounting, Supply, Controllers and Operations Support groups.
Raymond White focuses his law practice on complex commercial and civil litigation disputes. He has represented plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of disputes in federal and state trials and appellate courts. White is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and Consumer and Commercial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has the distinction of having the U.S. Top 100 Verdicts, The National Law Journal (2012) and Texas Top 50 Verdicts, The Texas Lawyer (2012). In 1980-81, White clerked for Judge Jerre S. Williams, United States Court of Appeals, for the Fifth Circuit. He is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law. Raymond grew up in El Paso, the son of El Paso’s Congressman, Richard White, who represented the city for 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has been a strong supporter of Tom Lea Month events in Austin, Texas.
J.P. BRYAN is the founder and chairman of Torch Energy Advisors. He was CEO and President of Gulf Canada Resources Limited (1995-98). Chairman (1990-97) and CEO of Nuevo Energy Company (1990-95). Chairman and CEO of Torch Energy Advisors, Inc. (1981-95); CEO of Bellwether Exploration (1987-97), First Vice President of E.F. Hutton & Company and Director of Investment Banking-Southwest Region (1978-1981), President and CEO of The Mortgage Banque (1974-1978), Executive Vice President and Director of Dominick & Dominick, Inc. (1969-1974), and Vice President of Morgan Guaranty Trust Company (1966-69). He received his B.A. from The University of Texas-Austin (1959-62); his L.L.B. from The University of Texas Law School-Austin (1963-65); and his B.F.T. from the American Institute of Foreign Trade-Phoenix. AZ (1966).
Mr. Bryan has been actively engaged in the energy business for over 30 years. He has extensive preservation experience. He has served on the advisory board for the Brazoria County Historical Museum, the Chairman of the Board for the Institute of Texan Cultures, served as President for both the Texas Historical Foundation and Texas State Historical Association, and as a Commissioner for the Texas Historical Commission. He has written numerous articles and given speeches on various subjects, mainly pertaining to Texas history and its preservation, and collects Texana. Among his numerous business awards are Texas Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1994 and Canadian Oil Producer of the Year in 1995.
LAURA BUSH is one of the most beloved and admired American First Ladies. For decades, she has championed key issues in the fields of education, health care, and human rights. She has traveled to more than seventy-six countries, including two historic solo trips to Afghanistan, and has launched groundbreaking education and healthcare programs in the U.S. and abroad. Today, as the Chair of the Woman’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, Mrs. Bush continues her work on global healthcare innovations, empowering women in emerging democracies, education reform, and supporting the men and women who have served in America’s military. Laura Bush holds a degree in education from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Texas. President and Mrs. Bush are the parents of twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, son-in-law, Henry Hager, and proud grandparents of granddaughters Margaret Laura “Mila” and Poppy Louise Hager.
MICKI COSTELLO, born in Vallejo, California, has spent a lifetime on the move, first as the daughter of an Air Force pilot and then as an Army wife. After raising her family, she returned to work in the Army Family Liaison Office in the Pentagon while operating a small art business in Clifton, Virginia, and now in Dallas, Texas, carrying on the tradition in keeping with her creative family. Her artistic skills were developed under master artists in Italy, Germany, and the United States as well as at the University of Virginia. Her work has been featured in local Dallas galleries. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Performance from the University of Texas at Dallas, and has served as board member and advisor to the El Paso Armed Services YMCA, Fisher Houses and women’s organizations. She currently serves as a board member on the Education and ArtScape Committees of the Arboretum in Dallas, Texas. Micki and her husband, Jack, have two married children: Patrick, a major currently stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and his wife, Rachel, who works as a free lance photographer; and Adrienne, a Department of Homeland Security specialist working for Booz Allen Hamilton, and her husband, Steve Tekampe, who is a professional engineer in Fairfax, VA.
WILLIAM 'BILL' KIELY: Water centers the life trajectory of El Paso native William “Bill” Kiely, a life he says has been “pretty exciting and sometimes bizarre,“ from a childhood playing in irrigation well water on his parents’ Vinton farm, to earning his engineering degree from the University on the Rio Grande (Now UTEP), to soldiering in Vietnam’s rice paddies. He was a pioneer in deep water submersibles and off-shore terminals for oil supertankers. Tom Lea’s art also flows through Bill’s life. Later, just returned from Vietnam, he, “a total stranger,” knocked on Tom and Sarah’s door. “ I asked a hero from my youth if he would have a print I could purchase to take with me to my new life in D.C.” Lea gave him a small signed print of Ranger Escort West of the Pecos. History. Says Bill, “While Tom and Sarah did not remember that brash young soldier at their door 30 years previous, over the next few years, we developed a truly wonderful and strong friendship.” Kiely and his wife, Ann, helped purchase Tom’s World War II sketchbook for the El Paso Museum of Arts permanent collection.