UIW's culture of giving back benefits donors and recipients.

By Debra Del Toro

Through the years, generous gifts from the University of the Incarnate Word’s many donors have made a difference in the lives of countless students, faculty and staff.

The rising cost of college tuition, paired with the continuous cutbacks in federal and state financial assistance, has made earning a college degree a challenge for many students. At UIW, more than 92 percent of students receive some form of financial assistance to offset the cost of their education. Incarnate Word remains committed to providing an affordable education to the student body which now numbers more than 8,400. The university is assisted in this endeavor through the charitable gifts of its donors.

Endowed scholarships have enabled many Incarnate Word students to attain their educational dreams.

“The Cheever Scholarship has supported me throughout my college career and is part of what made my experiences memorable,” said Elizabeth De La Rosa ’11. “Being a first generation college student, I didn’t have the support system to guide me through the college process of choosing a school and then finding a way to make it affordable. Being awarded this scholarship gave me more than tuition money; it was a burst of encouragement. It was like having someone say to me ‘You can do this. I believe in you. I’m there to support you.’”

De La Rosa received the Col. and Mrs. Charles E. Cheever, Sr. Scholarship as an undergraduate. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology in May and is now pursuing her graduate degree at UIW. Her endowed scholarship afforded her the opportunity to add a cultural component to her education.

“I studied abroad in Rome, at John Cabot University my sophomore year and this scholarship helped fund the cost even while abroad. This scholarship was a genuinely positive aspect of my undergraduate education. I am sincerely grateful to have received this award and the opportunities it has provided me,” said De La Rosa.

Throughout her undergraduate years at UIW, Alicia “Allie” Caballero, who graduated Magna Cum Laude, last May, received several endowed scholarships.

“With the help of generous donors, I was able to attend a summer school session and earn my undergraduate degree in three years. I am very proud to have graduated before I was even 21,” said Caballero.

She understands the importance of giving back to allow others the kind of opportunities she experienced.

“I would like to one day provide a scholarship to deserving students who want to succeed in this world,” said Caballero.

UIW senior Joe Martinez is a busy student with two full time jobs. He is the recipient of the Ruth Desotell Scholarship.

“Receiving these types of awards has had a huge effect on the ability for me to finance my education. Not having to worry about trying to pay thousands of dollars in tuition gives me more time to study and do my best in the nursing program,“ said Martinez

Efforts like the Annual Fund help our students not only to afford their education but to have an enriched educational experience as well. Through the Annual Fund, monies are raised each year to meet the difference between student tuition and the total cost of a UIW education. Proceeds from the Annual Fund benefit student scholarships, academic divisions, library and computer resources, academic and student services, and campus ministry and counseling programs. Last year’s campaign raised nearly $350,000.

The Faculty Development Endowment Fund provides support for faculty research projects, creates opportunities for curriculum enhancement and subsidizes the cost of attending professional academic conferences.

“The faculty are at the heart of all that we accomplish at UIW. They work very hard and very creatively. They are always looking for new and better ways to engage our students. Their time and effort is supported by the Faculty Development Endowment,” said UIW Provost Dr. Denise Doyle. “This allows us to sponsor workshops, send faculty to conferences, bring faculty together to concentrate on one topic or one new technology. It supports faculty research. All the money goes to the faculty and ultimately, through them, to our students.”

Dr. Mary Ruth Moore, professor in the Dreeben School of Education agrees, “Faculty development is essential for the continued personal growth of the faculty and is a pipeline of new knowledge and ideas for the faculty to share with students. Without faculty development, minds become stagnant, classes become dated, and students become bored.”

Effects of giving are not only felt by the recipient. They can be equally beneficial to the donor.

“I give to UIW because I believe in sharing some of my resources with different charitable causes. Some of those groups are international, some national, and some local. But I hold a special place for UIW because I have benefitted in so many ways by my work and relationships here,” said Doyle.

Former Development Board member John Whitehurst and his wife alumna George-Anne “Gee-Gee” have a special place in their hearts when it comes to giving to UIW.

“My husband and I have given through the years,” said Gee-Gee Whitehurst ’82 BSN. “Incarnate Word provides a very marvelous, very rounded education. The Sisters have always given so much. My husband’s aunt was Sr. Teresa Reichert. So we have had a very personal association with the Sisters for many years.”

She admits that giving is something very personal and should have some significance to the giver.

“Everyone needs to be guided to give by what they feel is important to them,” said Whitehurst.

The culture of giving is an essential part of our Mission and one that is passed on to every member of the university community.

“I believe that if someone has the means to give back to the institution that helped them achieve their educational goals, they should greatly consider it. I am a prime example of the positive effects these generous contributions have on students,” said Martinez.

If you are interested in giving to UIW, visit: www.uiw.edu/giving/