In this issue, meet Board of Trustees member Betty Kelso

Betty Kelso

Betty Kelso

It’s been three years since Betty Stieren Kelso was invited to serve the University of the Incarnate Word as a member of the Board of Trustees, and she has loved every minute of it.

“It’s been a wonderful experience for me,” Kelso said. “The other trustees are just amazing and our president is unbelievable. [Dr. Louis Agnese Jr.] is the most energetic person I’ve ever known and gets more things done than anyone I’ve ever met.”

Kelso’s ties to the university go way back. Her mother, Elizabeth Huth Coates, attended Incarnate Word High School and began her college education at what is now UIW.

“She was quite a philanthropist,” Kelso said, explaining that her mother funded the UIW theatre building that bears her name. Coates also assisted the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word by providing funding for the restoration of the Chapel of the Incarnate Word.

“I have always admired the university,” she said. “It’s different from any other university. It reaches out to all kinds of people.”

Kelso serves on the institutional advancement committee and has previously served on the education committee. She is interested in the many projects ahead, such as the renovation of the nursing building and future construction of a fine arts building.

She credits the Feik School of Pharmacy, the School of Optometry and the School of Nursing and Health Professions for creating many opportunities for students. “These are wonderful and are very needed in the community. Incarnate Word meets the needs of the community.”

Kelso also sees spiritual needs being met.

“I believe strongly in a faith-based education,” she said. “It’s very, very important, and these students are so lucky to have access to that.”

She hopes graduates of Incarnate Word will continue to “care for the things they’ve learned, the respect for other people, to continue their spiritual education and to always have a positive attitude.”

Kelso, a rancher, is active in the community. She continues her mother’s commitment to philanthropy and, in 2007, received the Col. W.T. Bondurant Sr. Distinguished Humanitarian Award from the San Antonio Academy Alumni Council. She has served on the boards of the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, and she is a past president of the Exotic Wildlife Association. Kelso keeps busy with her husband, Lt. Col. Bob Kelso, and her family of five children and 13 grandchildren.