By Julian Gonzalez ’04 BA

Eloquent and beautifully written, the Incarnate Word Mission statement conveys the five core values that resonate with students and alumni. It has been seven years since I followed the bagpipers across campus on a steamy May morning. It represented the culmination of four years filled with sweat, tears and smiles. As I passed my classrooms, I could remember the lessons learned, the ideas shared, and how the tenets became a part of my life. The five tenets presented themselves in a way that I could comprehend at that time in my life.

Faith: Grow; experience and learn what it is to be a Catholic. Love your God, love yourself, and love your neighbor.

Service: Give; be a contributor, without question or expectation, to something that holds meaning for you.

Innovation: Strive; there is always something better, bigger or more efficient. Operate at a deeper level, and you will find yourself in a better place than you started.

Truth: Accept; reality is different through the lens of your neighbor. Accept that the truth may vary for each person; it is the understanding of this that can give you the full experience of this tenet.

Education: Learn; it never stops. If you remain open to it, you will be a student for the rest of your life. Learning from books, each other and experiences all lead to a better you.

Now that my name has been immortalized among the many alumni of UIW, the tenets speak to me with a different message. They tell me that it is not their individuality that helps develop me. It is when I unite all five concepts into one idea that it becomes more than just a Mission statement. The University of the Incarnate Word has tried to teach me how to pay it forward.

The recipients could be family, friends, coworkers, significant others and even pets, but UIW wants each of us to be a better person and have our community feel the reverberations of our efforts. We have been blessed in our past by just experiencing the pulse of the UIW campus. We owe it to UIW and to ourselves to show our community that we are Cardinals and that we make a difference.

Would you like to share how you are living the Mission? Your story could be featured in our magazine. Email Ashley Festa at