In this issue of The Word you will read about a major academic endeavor that will significantly enhance the quality of future healthcare in Texas.
In January we joined a small and very select group of universities in the state with Schools of Pharmacy (we now have the only one in San Antonio). Along with the School of Nursing and Health Professions, which contains the oldest nursing program west of the Mississippi River, the new School of Pharmacy gives us bookends in healthcare that further strengthen our historical ties to this field.
Given our current student demographics – half of our student body is Hispanic – the pharmacy program stands to make a substantial impact on increasing not just the overall number of pharmacists in Texas, but also more specifically, the number of Hispanics in this important professional field, which presently has few minority practitioners.
What makes this a cutting-edge program is that it will be the only one in the country with an optional Spanish-language certificate track, something of vital importance to a city such as San Antonio that has a large, and growing, Spanish-speaking population. For example, the last census found that Spanish was the language of choice at home for more than 40 percent of the residents of Bexar County.
This optional bilingual track will be extremely rigorous because it’ll require precise and in-depth knowledge of technical and scientific Spanish. However, there’s a substantial payoff for those who pursue this option. While the average starting salary for a pharmacist straight out of school is currently about $80,000 per year – excluding signing bonuses, which are commonplace – there’s such a demand for Spanish-speaking pharmacists in our state that they often command much higher salaries. Keep in mind that the median household income for Bexar County is about $38,000 a year, which is below both the state and national figures.
James “Fully” Clingman, our new Chairman of the Board of Trustees, recently made a telling observation about the lack of pharmacists in Texas. Fully, who retired last year as COO and president of H-E-B, said the need is so acute that H-E-B could hire an entire graduating class from a pharmacy school and still have a shortage of pharmacists.
Speaking of Fully, please join me in welcoming him as our new Chairman. He brings a wealth of experience to this position from his many years at H-E-B, which has long been a strong advocate of the university; that’s one of the reasons we renamed our School of Business and Administration in honor of H-E-B last year. Fully will be a terrific Chairman of the Board, and all of us look forward to working with him.
Finally, you may have noticed some small changes in this issue of The Word. During the next year, The Word will be undergoing additional changes that we believe will improve what’s already a very good publication. So feel free to let our Office of Public Relations know how we’re doing. Our goal is to provide the UIW community, especially our alumni, with a quality magazine that meets their needs while keeping them connected to us.
I encourage you to read the rest of The Word for an update on all of our recent activities. In the meantime, let me thank you for your steadfast support. It’s that support that allows us to continue fulfilling Incarnate Word’s goal of offering students the best possible education within a context of faith. Special blessings on you and your loved ones in 2004.