Agnese headshotDear Friends:

I’m pleased to welcome you to the 2013 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.

I’m happy to report that we set another enrollment record this fall with 9,597 students. That number includes more than 900 students at our campus in Mexico City, which only had four students when it was launched ten years ago (and three of them left). Our international enrollment has reached an all-time high, as nearly 16 percent of our students are now from outside of the United States (a record 73 countries in total). By the way, we now have about 30,000 alumni worldwide, a four-fold increase since 1985.

All of those numbers point to an important aspect of our Mission – to provide access and opportunities to populations historically underserved by higher education. UIW remains at the top in the United States among faith-based universities in graduating the most Hispanics with bachelor’s degrees, even though Hispanics remain underrepresented nationally in college. We’re also No. 6 among all not-for-profit private universities in the country (it’s worth noting the five schools in front of us are much larger). 

“Our international enrollment has reached an all-time high, as nearly 16 percent of our students are now from outside of the United States (a record 73 countries in total).”

But it’s not a matter of simply providing access. Our students deserve an excellent educational experience that features first-rate facilities. This is something in which benefactors such as Ruth Eilene Sullivan play an important role.

In September, we dedicated a new facility long overdue at UIW – the Ceramic and Sculpture Studios that we named after Ruth Eilene. The Sullivan family’s history with Incarnate Word goes back to 1902 with the addition of the beautiful Grotto of Lourdes. In the 1980s, a love for baseball led Ruth Eilene and her late husband, Dan, to donate Sullivan Field. As for the location of the studios, the synergy couldn’t be better – next to Sullivan Field. It’s a fitting tribute to the Sullivan family that ties together athletics and the arts.

Earlier in the summer we refurbished the former West House and renamed it the McCracken House in honor of Dr. Richard McCracken, who’s served six of the eight Incarnate Word presidents since joining UIW in 1964. This includes me, as Dick was my assistant when I became president in 1985.

Dick has worn many other hats in the nearly 50 years he’s been at Incarnate Word, including director of public relations and dean of alumni. It was appropriate, then, that the McCracken House be named after him since it’s the new home of several university offices, including the Office of Public Relations and the Department of Alumni and Parent Relations.

In order to strengthen the student experience at UIW, particularly as students become alumni, this past summer we launched the Center for Civic Leadership in partnership with CHRISTUS.

I was surprised to learn that according to research, students enter college with a desire to serve but leave with a sense that their desire hasn’t been fostered. Given that service is an important component of the student experience at UIW, we felt compelled to do something to correct this disconnect, which is what we hope to accomplish with the Center.  It will seek partnerships with local and global groups willing to provide opportunities for students to serve, engage and learn through collaborative involvement. By the way, the Center’s director is someone familiar to many of us, Sr. Dot Ettling.

I encourage you to read the rest of The Word for additional details on the many exciting things that are happening at UIW including an update on our planned School of Osteopathic Medicine.

As you do, please remember the momentum generated by your generous support 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 2013.

Best Wishes,
Louis J. Agnese Jr., Ph.D.