UIW conferred degrees to graduates at two spring commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 10 and Sunday, May 12. The Friday ceremony held in the Alice P. McDermott Convocation Center honored graduates of the university’s Ph.D. and professional doctoral programs including the inaugural graduating class of UIW’s Rosenberg School of Optometry. The Sunday ceremony held at the Joe and Harry Freeman Coliseum honored undergraduate and graduate candidates. A total of 929 students graduated with 783 walking the stage at the ceremonies.
Friday’s graduation featured an interfaith element that represented the diversity of the graduates. Imam Abdur-Rahim Muhammad, Associate Imam of Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah of San Antonio, Texas and a member of the UIW interfaith council, delivered the invocation at the ceremony for professional and Ph.D. candidates. Fr. Tom Dymowski, O.SS.T., UIW chaplain, welcomed the keynote speaker, Rabbi Mark Diamond. Diamond has served as the Los Angeles Regional Director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) since 2012.
Dr. Adrienne Ambrose, assistant professor of religious studies, gave the invocation for Sunday’s ceremony. San Antonio City Councilwoman Ivy Taylor was keynote speaker. Taylor has served San Antonio’s District 2 since 2009. Dr. Jo LeCoeur, professor of English, and Dr. Dianna J. Tison, professor of nursing, were honored with emerita status at the commencement. Theresa Tiggeman, professor of accounting and finance, was awarded the Moody Professorship for 2013-2014. Former Moody Professor Dr. Sally Said, professor of modern languages, presented the university mace to Tiggeman during the ceremony.
The 2013 Alumni of Distinction Recipient for Service in Mission was Julie Bell. After graduating from Incarnate Word College in May 1991 with a master’s degree in education, Bell began teaching special education with Northeast Independent School District (NEISD). In 1995, Bell was diagnosed with Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) and by 1998 was forced to quit working full time. Although faced with a debilitating condition, Bell realized she missed teaching. In 2002, she returned to the North East Independent School District full-time, where she continued teaching students with severe and profound handicaps. In 2012, Bell was honored by NEISD as the High School Teacher of the Year of the Special Education Hospital Homebound Center School for her efforts in educating students with disabilities.