Dr. Louis J. Agnese. Jr. has been president of the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) in San Antonio, Texas since 1985, when at 33 he became one of the youngest presidents of a four-year university in the United States. He was inaugurated as the eighth president of Incarnate Word on March 25, 1986, which is the feast of the Annunciation.
Prior to UIW, Dr. Agnese was a vice president at Briar Cliff University in Iowa, where he was spokesman for institutional needs and shared responsibility for policy, long-range planning, budget and personnel.
During his presidency, enrollment at UIW has increased from 1,296 in 1985 to 10,984 in 2015. UIW is now the third-largest private university in Texas based on global enrollment. UIW also added the first Ph.D. program and doctoral-level programs in pharmacy, optometry, physical therapy, nursing practice and business administration; Division I athletics; and opened campuses in Mexico and Germany. A School of Osteopathic Medicine will open in 2017.
Dr. Agnese is the recipient of many honors and awards. He was named one of Five Outstanding Young Americans and one of Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World in 1989, when the American Marketing Association also named him Marketing Person of the Year. He received the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1996, and was also named Hispanic Educator of the Year. He also received the Gold Medal in the President and Public Category of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
In 2000, he was named the Outstanding Leader in Catholic Education by the Archdiocese of San Antonio and received the International Leadership Award from the San Antonio Council for International Visitors. In 2006, he received the Ford Salute to Education Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to higher education.
In 2009, he received the Sister Cecilia Bush Award from the Dear Neighbor Ministries for his commitment to minority education and was also the recipient of the Best and the Brightest Award from the University Roundtable of San Antonio. He received a Legacy Leaders Award from the San Antonio Business Journal in 2013 and an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree from Korea’s Woosong University in 2014.
Dr. Agnese is currently a board member of Adelante!-U.S. Education Leadership Fund, and is on the executive committee of the World Affairs Council of San Antonio. He is also a board member of the think tank MATT.org (Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together) and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Texas Health and Science University.
He is a past board member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and former Chairman of the Partnership for Hope, a Rockefeller Foundation poverty project. He also served as Chairman of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and Vice Chairman of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of San Antonio.
Dr. Agnese has a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of Pittsburgh; a Master's of Education in Counseling and an Education Specialist Degree in Supervision of Counseling Services, both from Gannon University (Erie, PA); and a Bachelor's of Art in History and Psychology from St. Mary of the Plains College (Dodge City, KS).
A native of New York City, Dr. Agnese is married to Mickey and they have two children and four grandchildren.