You will be pleased to know that we completed another highly successful year at UIW in May. We ended the year on a very positive note due to two events: our first-ever undergraduate commencement ceremony at the Freeman Coliseum (located next to the AT&T Center, home of the San Antonio Spurs) and the groundbreaking for our newest sports facility.
Early in May, more than 5,000 friends and family members gathered to watch as 424 students received their bachelor’s degrees during a procession featuring all of the traditional pomp found in the campus ceremonies. By the way, as a measure of how much our institution has grown in the last decade, just 218 students received their undergraduate degrees from UIW in the spring of 2000.
In mid-May we broke ground for a Fencing and International Sports Center that will be located at St. Anthony Catholic High School, which we own and operate. The $3 million fencing center will be a multi-purpose facility that will provide new opportunities for high school and college students interested in this sport. The expected completion date for the center is January of 2013.
Looking ahead to the fall, we expect to set another enrollment record. Early indications are that we’ll surpass 9,000 students for the first time in our 131-year history. That’s nearly seven times our enrollment from 1985. We’re also expecting a record enrollment at our campus in Mexico City, which now offers several new degrees, including an MBA and a master’s in education.
We should reach another significant milestone this fall when our endowment exceeds the $100 million mark for the first time. That’s an increase from about $3 million in 1985.
In August, we’ll dedicate our two newest locations. The Debbie and Naty Saidoff Center, located in the northwest part of the city, will house our new School of Physical Therapy and an additional ADCaP site (the Saidoff Center will be our sixth location in San Antonio). Meanwhile, our newest international location will be in Heidelberg, Germany, a historic city of about 140,000 people that has been home to more than 50 Nobel laureates.
I encourage you to read the rest of this issue to catch-up on what else has been happening at the University of the Incarnate Word. Included is a profile on Board member Michael Belz, who is president of Catholic Life Insurance, and a feature on Dr. Andrew Buzzelli, dean of the Rosenberg School of Optometry who was chosen Educator of the Year by the Texas Optometric Association.
Remember, it’s because of your commitment to our community that we can continue fulfilling Incarnate Word’s goal of offering students the best possible educational opportunities within a context of faith. Please remember an investment in higher education is something that will yield returns for a lifetime for you, your family and our community.
Special blessings on you and your loved ones throughout the remainder of the summer.
Louis J. Agnese Jr., Ph.D.