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Generations of Giving

Mar 18th, 2011 | Category: University Gifts

By Dick McCracken

Elizabeth Huth Stieren Coates

When my mother, Betty Huth, was a student at Incarnate Word College in 1922, Incarnate Word had everything a fine arts student could ever want,” said Betty Stieren Kelso, UIW Board of Trustees member. “Mother was a music student.”

In 2011, it would be quite a trick to assemble the large number of fine arts students for a photo, or to say that UIW arts students and faculty have everything they could want or even need. More students and more faculty mean more success and more sophisticated needs. Kelso’s ties to the university go way back; her mother, Elizabeth Huth Stieren Coates, attended Incarnate Word High School and began her college education at what is now UIW.

Even then, students were performing and having art shows on and off campus, and long before KUIW, the university’s current Internet radio station, in the early stages of radio, students had their own program.

“She was quite a philanthropist,” Kelso said, explaining that her mother funded the UIW theatre building that still bears her name. “I have always admired the university. It’s different from any other university. It reaches out to all kinds of people.”

Kelso serves on the board’s institutional advancement committee. She is interested in UIW’s many projects, such as the recent renovation of the nursing building and the upcoming construction of a new fine arts building. “These are wonderful programs and are very needed in the community.”

Kelso also sees spiritual needs being met. “I believe strongly in a faith-based education,” she said. “It’s very, very important, and these students are so lucky to have access to that.”

She and her husband, Lt. Col. Robert Kelso, hope Incarnate Word graduates will continue to “care for the things they’ve learned, the respect for other people, to continue their spiritual education and to always have a positive attitude.” It is with that positive attitude that the Kelsos continue the family’s philanthropic tradition at Incarnate Word. Their recent major gift to the Fine Arts campaign proves just that, and they extend an invitation for others to join them in generously providing for the future of the arts at UIW and in all San Antonio.

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