I’m pleased to welcome you to the annual donor’s issue of The Word, our way of saying “Thank You” to the many special people that contribute to the continued betterment of the University of the Incarnate Word.
Looking back, this was a record-setting year like no other, and one that illustrates the importance of momentum and synergy.
In December, we received an $11.5 million gift from Stanley and Sandra Rosenberg, the largest in UIW history. This gift had national ramifications, as it was also one of the biggest by Jewish philanthropists to a Catholic university in recent years.
A few months later, a Jewish family from Los Angeles heard about the Rosenbergs’ generosity. They contacted us about making their own gift to UIW – an empty Albertson’s store in the Westover Hills area. As we’ve long wanted to establish a presence in the northwest part of the city, we readily accepted the unexpected multi-million dollar gift from Debbie and Naty Saidoff.
The building, and the surrounding land, will become the future home of the UIW School of Physical Therapy. It will also provide us with a new, strategically-placed ADCaP location that’s about two miles from SeaWorld and Northwest Vista College.
Another well-timed gift this past year came from John and Vladimira Miller. This gift helped upgrade and expand the School of Nursing and Health Professions through the addition of a much needed floor (we also launched a doctoral degree in nursing practice this fall). In honor of the Millers’ generosity, the school was named after John’s mother, Ila Faye Miller, who was a nurse.
In late summer, we were selected as one of the Great Colleges to Work for by “The Chronicle of Higher Education”, the third consecutive year we’ve received this prestigious recognition. We also made the national Top 10 Honor Roll in the medium-size category. Only one other university from Texas was chosen in the national Top 10 in our size category.
At about the same time, a news article from “The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Maga- zine” showed that UIW was tops nationally in 2010 among faith-based universities in graduating Hispanics with bachelor’s degrees and No. 2 nationally among all private universities. These are important rankings given our student demographics and because Hispanics continue to be severely underrepresented in higher education at a time when they are the largest minority group in the U.S. and Texas.
The fall semester opened with more good news. For the first time in history, we surpassed the 8,000-mark in student enrollment. Our global enrollment increased by 10 percent from last year to 8,455 students in 2011 (from a record 67 countries). The enrollment has more than doubled since 2000, and UIW is now one of only four private universities in Texas with over 8,000 students.
The Mexico City campus also set an enrollment record, with 600 students representing eleven countries. To give you a bit of context, the Mexico campus had four students when it opened in 2003; three of them left within a few months while the fourth transferred to San Antonio. In fact, there are almost as many students at the Mexico City campus today as there were full-time students at Incarnate Word in 1985.
In late September, we received the two largest competitive grants in UIW history, totaling almost $9 million. The grants will be instrumental in our efforts to increase retention and graduation, both of which have shown considerable improvements in the last three years. Along those lines, we were happy to learn that UIW placed the highest number of student-athletes – 123 – on the Lone Star Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll for academic performance. That number put us atop of the sixteen schools in the tri-state conference.
I encourage you to read the rest of The Word for additional details on the many exciting things happening at UIW. As you do so, please remember the momentum generated by your support is what allows us to continue fulfilling our goal of offering students top-notch educational opportunities within a context of faith.
Special blessings on you and your loved ones for the remainder of 2011.
Louis J. Agnese Jr., Ph.D.