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A Look Back


It was no accident of history that the first graduate of what was Incarnate Word College in the early 20th century was Antonia Mendoza of Durango, Mexico.  From the beginning, international students have been an integral part of the educational community at Incarnate Word.  By 2006, UIW had international students from more than 45 countries representing 6 percent of the overall enrollment of over 5,200 undergraduate and graduate students.

Considering the early history and orientation, it is no small wonder that Incarnate Word has a national reputation for producing Hispanic women completing graduate degrees, or is the only college or university nationally to have produced five nursing graduates that achieved the rank of Brigadier General and head the nurse corps of the U. S. Army and Air Force.  Incarnate Word is also regularly rated as one of the top universities in the U.S. graduating Hispanic students with bachelor's degrees in many disciplines, including the biological sciences, business and the health professions.

In the early 1920s the operations of the high school and college moved into a single, five-story building that still serves as the administration building.  Also in the early 1920s, the College president, Sister Columkille Colbert, CCVI, became the first woman religious in Texas to earn a Ph.D.  By 1925 the collegiate offerings in all areas were fully accredited by what is now the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  The nursing program was established in 1929, and the first nursing degrees were awarded to two Sisters the following year.