“Based on past enrollment trends, it’s likely that next year UIW will become the third largest private university in Texas.”
I’m pleased to welcome you to the 2012 donor’s issue of The Word, our way of saying “Thank You” to the many special people from around the world that contribute to the continued betterment of the University of the Incarnate Word.
The past year has been one of the busiest in our long history, particularly the last few months.
The biggest news is that our bid to join the Division I Southland Conference was accepted in August. The move to Division 1, which will officially take place in July, is one of the most important events in our 131-year history, up there with our transition from Incarnate Word College to University of the Incarnate Word in 1996.
The decision to leave Division II for Division I was made for several reasons. Primarily it’s to increase our overall brand recognition by extending awareness of UIW beyond our South Texas home base.
Let me give you an example. The Southland story was carried by more than 70 print, broadcast and online news outlets across the United States, from Connecticut to Hawaii and many points in between. It reached four of the Top 10 media markets and nine of the Top 21.
While the story was extensively covered in San Antonio, it was also carried by national media such as ESPN, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, the Chicago Tribune, and Sports Illustrated. Plus, it was picked up by several TV stations in the Dallas/Fort Worth market and other farther away locales such as Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota and the D.C.-metro area.
We conservatively estimate that a comparable ad buy covering all of the markets that carried the story would’ve cost us at least $1 million, and probably closer to $2 million. In other words, the move is already paying dividends for us, and more importantly, our students. They stand to benefit the most because the increased visibility of UIW will allow them to continue building equity in their degrees as the university becomes better known outside of South Texas.
By the way, you may have already noticed an increased usage of the “UIW” acronym in our promotional materials. That was the first recommendation we implemented from a communications agency we contracted to help us extend UIW’s brand statewide, nationally and internationally.
We reached another important milestone this fall by topping the 9,000-mark in enrollment for the first time (9,188 students). This makes UIW one of just four private universities in Texas with enrollments of at least 9,000 students. Based on past enrollment trends, it’s likely that next year UIW will become the third largest private university in Texas.
A closer look at the numbers shows UIW has the greatest number of Hispanic students of any private university in Texas, a figure that’s higher than the combined total of the next two schools. We’re also No.1 nationally among faith-based universities in the conferring of bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics, and No.3 among all private, not-for-profit universities. These are important figures because they illustrate we’re meeting our Mission of providing academic opportunities to groups historically underserved by higher education (sadly, college attainment by Hispanics remains low statewide and nationally).
In August we broke ground on the East Side Clinic, a project that will allow us to extend our ministry into one of the most impoverished areas of San Antonio. The $8 million clinic, which will be completed next spring, will offer several health-care services such as optometry and nursing. Unlike many of our projects, this was accomplished without corporate support. Instead, it’s an initiative between UIW, foundations, and the public sector.
I encourage you to read the rest of The Word for additional details on the many exciting things that are happening at UIW. As you do, please remember the momentum generated by your generous support – whether for the East Clinic, the new school of physical therapy or our move to Division I – is what allows us to continue fulfilling our goal of offering students top-notch educational opportunities within a context of faith. Your steadfast support is also what allows UIW to continue having a positive impact on San Antonio and South Texas.
Special blessings on you and your loved ones for the remainder of 2012.
Louis J. Agnese Jr., Ph.D., President