By Dr. Keith Tucker, director of counseling

Reflecting on my years at the University of the Incarnate Word, I find a rather astounding experience.

The impetus towards change with a parade of new programs, becoming a university, the creation of new schools, and the large influx of a culturally diverse student body has been unique. I am grateful to be a part of this expansion.

As I consider this journey, I am amazed at how different it is from the college it was when I started over three decades ago and yet, in many ways, the same. Mission is still the focus, the value of relationship is important, we attend to service and there is an emphasis on the divine. Caring is included in the integral mix of enhanced programs and quality education.

One of the results of an extensive tenure has been witnessing the return of many alumni. They come to visit, reconnect and express. They report their appreciation for persons that mentored them, as well as the excellence of their education. Care often came from faculty, an administrator or staff that made a huge difference in their lives. Being valued as a person is mentioned as a significant trademark. They speak of continuing this heritage in their own lives today.

The CCVI Spirit Award is an example of this value where students and employees alike are recognized for ‘what’ they are rather than ‘who’ they are. By community voice, these awardees are chosen for their caring, their service, their effort to help and their creative vision that promotes a greater community.

Each one of us, students included, can be seen as leaders and followers. Each brings their brilliance and their unique talents and, with appreciation for each other, possibility grows. The gifts of each individual have been woven into a beautiful tapestry that is The Incarnate Word. Always from a gathering of such individuals, growth and learning are inherent, the divine is remembered, and quality is enhanced.

I have been blessed by this gathering of souls, in this work place called the University of the Incarnate Word.