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Message from the President

Dear Friends:

Louis J. Agnese, Jr., Ph.D.This issue of The Word features a cover story on Ricardo Chavira, a 1996 graduate who is one of the stars of the hit television show, “Desperate Housewives.”

I had a chance to catch-up with Ricardo last fall, when we had breakfast together during one of his frequent trips back home. He is an intelligent, engaging young man who remains humble to his San Antonio roots and proud of the fact that he’s a graduate of Incarnate Word. That comes across in the story, in which Patty Leos, the editor of The Word, spent a day with Ricardo in early January.

You can also read about Dick McCracken, our long-time Dean of Alumni and Planned Giving who will be retiring from that post in June (the good news is that Dick isn’t leaving Incarnate Word – he’ll continue helping our community by conducting prospect research work for the Development Office). I’ll forever be appreciative to Dick for his help in the nearly 20 years I’ve been president of UIW, as I knew I could always count on him for sound advice on a variety of issues. So please join me in thanking him for everything that he has done (so far) on behalf of the University of the Incarnate Word and its related communities. We are a stronger institution because of Dick’s heartfelt devotion and belief in our mission during the last 40 years.

While no one can replace Dick, Lisa Schultz, a UIW graduate who was previously vice president of marketing and public relations at Morningside Ministries, was recently named as his successor. She will start in April and then transition into the position in June.

Lisa will join us during a period of time in which we have experienced tremendous growth in our overall enrollment, which is rapidly increasing our alumni base. You may recall that last fall we became the largest Catholic university in Texas and the fifth-largest private institution of higher learning in the state, trailing only Baylor, SMU, TCU and Rice. And while it’s typical for many universities to experience enrollment dips between the fall and spring semesters for a variety of reasons such as graduation and dropouts, we, for the second year in a row, set another record for spring enrollment by enrolling new students and increasing the retention rate of current students.

As our enrollment continues to grow, you can be assured that we’ll keep offering a quality education at an affordable price, a guiding principle that last fall gained us the No. 6 national ranking from Consumer Digest Magazine as a Best Value for private institutions of higher learning in the United States.

I encourage you to read the rest of The Word for an update on some of our other recent activities. Also, please feel free to let our Office of Public Relations know how we’re doing with this magazine. Our goal is to provide the UIW community, especially our alumni, with a quality publication that meets their needs while keeping them connected to us.

In the meantime, let me thank you for your steadfast support. It's that support that allows us to continue fulfilling Incarnate Word's goal of offering students the best possible education within a context of faith. Special blessings on you and your loved ones in 2005.

Best Wishes,

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