Continuing the Mission

by Michael Barrett

TYME to Empower

Monica Velasquez McIlwain '01 BA always knew she wanted to run her own business, and volunteer with teenage mothers. She just didn't realize she could combine the two ideas. Monica Velasquez McIlwain

After getting her BA in psychology at UIW and her MA in organizational management at the University of Phoenix, she founded TYME to Empower in 2006. TYME stands for Teaching Young Mothers to Excel, and it's a topic she's passionate about for good reason.

"When I was in high school, I was a teen parent. I learned the struggles and stereotypes and a lot of different things that come with being a teen parent," McIlwain said. "And so, once I started getting my degrees and exploring different avenues and different careers out there, I decided to start my own nonprofit."

TYME to Empower is partnered with the Northside Teen Parenting Program. McIlwain motivates the teens verbally, but she also takes action: She provides financial assistance and the bare necessities such as clothing for parents and babies, diapers and formula.

McIlwain believes that encouraging young adults to set goals and remain focused will help reduce the teen pregnancy rate in San Antonio.

By day, she's an insurance agent. By night and weekend, she's usually talking to the head caseworker at Northside.

It's a full plate, but it's something she has been accustomed to since she was a student. "I was just so fortunate. I really, really give a lot of thanks and appreciation to Incarnate Word because it opened up so many doors for me," she said. "In order for me to finish my degrees, I had to have motivational teachers. And that helps me when I go to talk to the kids and I tell them that even though you have a lot on your plate, it's still doable."

For information about TYME to Empower, call (210) 478-7933.

40 Under 40

The San Antonio Business Journal's 40 Under 40 list, a prestigious recognition of achievement in the Alamo City, awards young professionals whom the Business Journal has identified as tomorrow's leaders. To be included in the annual list, the chosen individuals have shown significant career advancement at a young age, commitment to their fields, community involvement or a combination of the three. UIW is proud to highlight four alumni honorees for their accomplishments.

Junab Ali '94 BBA founded Möbius Partners Enterprise Solutions with high school friend Jay Uribe in 2000. They started their business out of a room in Ali's house. Now, they're the top-rated large enterprise reseller in Texas, with offices in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, and their rapid growth doesn't seem to be slowing down. Junab Ali

This minority-owned business is an IT solutions provider for Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystem products. They provide servers and storage solutions, including software and services, for companies that maintain at least 150 employees or generate around $250 million in revenue.

Ali loves his job, and he positively reflects on his days as a finance major. "Those professors were really, really challenging. It's one of those things where you only get out of it what you put into it, and those professors made the information available and they made it so there was a sense of accomplishment, and they were always there to support me," he said.

Ali admitted his inclusion on the 40 Under 40 list is flattering. "It gauges how quickly you're able to accomplish some of the things in your life, and to be recognized for those accomplishments is extremely flattering,” he said. “I just hope I can continue to produce success and contribute back to San Antonio and the University of the Incarnate Word."

Jenny Carnes '99 BBA has taken her sports management degree all the way to the top as the executive director of the San Antonio Local Organizing Committee for the 2008 Men's Final Four.Jenny Carnes

March Madness is one of the biggest sporting events in the country, culminating with the Final Four weekend when the top four college programs in the nation vie for the Division One Men's National Championship. It changes location each year, and hasn't been held in San Antonio since 2004. It is expected to bring more than 50,000 people and $80 million of economic impact to the city this year.

The Local Organizing Committee, which consists of the San Antonio Sports Foundation, the city of San Antonio and host school the University of Texas at San Antonio, has been coordinating this event for a couple of years. Carnes' leadership on this large-scale effort was surely a factor in her inclusion on the 40 Under 40 list.

"I know several leaders of the community that have been in classes prior to this year, and they're great people and pretty important people in San Antonio, so to be in with them is pretty special," she said.

Carnes credits her adviser, Dr. Tim Henrich, UIW professor of sports management and kinesiology, who helped her secure an internship at the Sports Foundation nine years ago, but has a special place in her heart for the late Sr. Maria Goretti Zehr, her piano instructor as well.

“I played on the basketball team at Incarnate Word, and she would cut out newspaper articles about how we had done that week and give them to me. She was just a very, very sweet woman and really someone that I remember the most out of all the professors I had."

Peter Cavazos '95 BA is the area manager and senior vice president for Citibank in San Antonio. After working in various sales and service positions while earning his communications degree at UIW, he joined Citibank 10 years ago and has used his skills and talents to work his way to his current administrative position. Peter Cavazos

In 2005, he opened San Antonio's first Citibank branch; now there are nine local branches and eight in Austin. He's responsible for all of them.

Cavazos remembers working in UIW's Learning Assistance Center under Margaret Mitchell. "She was absolutely wonderful and got me started in becoming a writing and math tutor there at the university," he explained. "I took critical discourse with her. That gave me my start when it came to writing, certainly something I enjoyed the time that I was there, and helped me branch out into helping people."

His experience at UIW was crucial in other ways, too. He met Diana, the woman who would later become his wife, in a journalism class. "I met my wife there, I asked her to marry me there, and I even married her at the Motherhouse Chapel. So it has a special place in my heart."

His service on the university's Development Board proves that point even further. "That's also been wonderful, too, because that's giving back a little bit to the university," he said.

Staci Foster-Diaz '96 BS felt surprised and honored to be named to the 40 Under 40 list for a couple of reasons. Not only is she often not found in San Antonio, but the company she works for, Genentech, is headquartered in San Francisco. Staci Foster-Diaz

As a senior clinical oncology specialist, she works "in the field," and her field is all of South Texas. She doesn't have an office per se. Her work is very individualized and takes her everywhere, including down to the Valley and the borders, and that's why it's so gratifying for her to be recognized by the San Antonio Business Journal.

"I just thought it was really special. It meant a lot to me," she said.

Her nutrition degree prepared her to work first as a dietician for a company that worked with children diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Because Genentech makes a product to treat those children, she had the opportunity to meet company representatives and decided she wanted to work for them.

Her work involves meeting many doctors and keeping them updated on treatment options. "It's a $2 billion drug and my territory is responsible for about $24.5 million," she said. "It's a little overwhelming when you put it like that."

Not surprisingly, she remembers her favorite class at UIW as chemistry and Dr. Mary Kaye Sawyer-Morse as one of her most important mentors and teachers.

Young Alumni Events

About 40 UIW graduates braved the cold Jan. 10 to participate in the first Young Alumni Gathering at Augie's Barbedwire Grill in San Antonio. The inaugural event kicked off the latest effort by the university to reconnect with alumni.young alumni mixer

The event included food, fun and libations. Alumni had the chance to network, meet new people and reconnect with old friends.

UIW's Young Alumni group includes all those who have graduated in the past 10 years. The Office of Alumni Relations is planning two gatherings a year to welcome each new graduating class, one in January and one in May. The events are designed to introduce the young graduates to the Alumni Association of which they become members automatically after commencement. While in school, students often are so focused on earning their degrees and moving on to the next step of their lives that they don't realize how much their alma mater still has to offer after graduation. Alumni are entitled to many benefits, from receiving this magazine to attending mixers and other alumni events.

There are five UIW alumni networks in Texas to accommodate graduates throughout the state. Groups are located in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, the Coastal Bend and the Valley.

To find out more, or for specific information on the next Young Alumni gathering, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (210) 805-3595.

UIW Women Honored in Hall of Fame

The university is privileged to have a connection to four of the latest honorees named to the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame. Founded in 1987, this organization annually elects 15 women in various categories of achievement. This year's inductees were honored at a ceremony at St. Philip's College on March 6. This year's outstanding honorees and their catagories included Maureen Halligan, creative arts; Dr. Arcelia Johnson-Fannin, higher education; Dr. Kathi Light, health professions; and Sue Ellen Turner, military.

Maureen Halligan '71 MA (Hon.), '06 LHD (Hon.), professor emerita of theatre arts, has collected a remarkable list of achievements throughout her 93 years, making her moreMaureen Halligan than deserving of this honor. She established herself as an actress in her native Ireland and co-founded an acting company there with her husband, the late Ronald Ibbs. Her productions during this part of her life included the London premiere of Sean O'Casey's Red Roses for Me and co-starring with her husband in a modern-dress Hamlet directed by the legendary Sir Tyrone Guthrie.

She founded the Dublin Players in 1950. "I toured the world, but I toured America nine times coast to coast," she said. She also appeared in films, TV and radio.
She settled at Incarnate Word College in 1964. "I came over for three weeks, and I'm still here!" she said. "It gave me a wonderful opportunity to remain in the theatre, which I've loved all my life."

She and Ibbs developed the UIW theatre program, established a resident company and built the Halligan-Ibbs Theatre Arts Center. They also contributed their experience to other theatre companies in the city and elsewhere.

"Once you get attached to Incarnate Word, they never let you go," she said, laughing, in her Irish accent.

Dr. Arcelia M. Johnson-Fannin is the founding dean of the Feik School of Pharmacy. With this appointment in 2004, she became the first woman and the only black woman to be the founding dean of two pharmacy schools, having served in the same capacity at Hampton University in Virginia in 1997.Dr. Arcelia M. Johnson-Fannin

She began her academic career at Florida A&M University (FAMU) in the School of Pharmacy, where she became the first director of their doctor of pharmacy degree program. During this time, Johnson-Fannin and her students became involved in what would later be called “health disparities” research.

"The project was actually to find out if patients were getting the appropriate information when they had drugs that required help. And we presented prescriptions to every pharmacy in Tallahassee, Fla. The prescriptions were presented by members of the students' class, most of whom happened to be black," she said.

"When we wrote up the results and submitted it for publication, they refused to print it, declined to print it, I should say, and two of the reviewers said that they thought the study was biased because the prescriptions were more than likely presented by people who were black."

She still vividly recalls her shock. "I said to myself 'should it matter that I'm black? Don't I need the same information as anybody else?' And that's when I got interested in health disparities research," she said.

She was soon writing grants and spurring others to do so specifically for this rapidly developing area. Over the past seven years, she has received grants totaling more than $6.5 million.

"That's probably one of the reasons I'm here," she said, referring to demographics of the U.S. Hispanic population's rapid growth that were presented in a conference. "I wrote a little note on my pad: 'And we should be developing pharmacy schools to address that population.' And that was 10 years ago. I didn't think I would have the opportunity to do it, but the opportunity arose and here I am."

The Hall of Fame announcement surprised her. "I look at the people who have been selected in the past, and I am certainly privileged to be in such good company."

Dr. Kathi Light '70 BS, has an almost overwhelming list of accomplishments. Her clinical specialty is child health nursing. At UIW, she taught numerous nursing and adult education courses until 10 years ago, when she became the director of the nursing program and Dr. Kathi Lighteventually the dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions in 1999. She has been instrumental in establishing academic and employee wellness programs at UIW and has consulted with other institutions on similar programs.

Outside the university, her duties have included positions as head nurse, supervisor and assistant director of nursing service at Children's Hospital, Santa Rosa Medical Center (now CHRISTUS Santa Rosa), where she later developed a graduate nurse internship program. While on active duty as a captain in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, she served as the duty nurse at Brooke Army Medical Center during President Lyndon Johnson's final illness.

"My first response was shock," she said of learning about the Hall of Fame honor. "There are so many women in this community who contribute so much, and I am humbled to be selected to be part of this group. I was grateful to be nominated, of course, and to be selected is one of the greatest honors of my career."

Light is unique among the inductees in being both a dean and a UIW alumna. She earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1970 and spent a decade away before returning to UIW.

"I love UIW because of the commitment of the people I work with, which comes from our Mission, to provide an outstanding education in a nurturing and mentoring environment," she said.

Sue Ellen Turner '73 BSN retired from the Air Force with the rank of brigadier general in 1995, but she hasn't slowed down. A speaker, author and workplace consultant, she's served in a range of positions, from the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) and the American Battle Monuments Commission to the current board of directors of both the S.A. Federal Credit Union and the San Antonio Opera.Sue Ellen Turner

Entering the military in 1965 as a second lieutenant, Turner rose to the top of her profession during a time when only 2 percent of the general officers were women. As director of the nurse corps, she represented nearly 23,000 men and women who provided nursing care on the ground and in the air during peace and war. As chairwoman of the Federal Nursing Chiefs Council, she articulated the interests and concerns of the nearly 100,000 nurses serving in the federal system to professional groups and the U.S. Congress.

Among her many honors, she holds the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, and she is among UIW's Alumnae of Distinction.

She was likely the only person surprised by her induction into the Hall of Fame. "Anytime you're honored by your peers from your community, it's kind of special," she said.

Sharing a memory from her college experience at UIW, she said, "I ended up in a class that was called Old Testament, and it was taught by Sr. Mary Louise Mueller. I thought for sure that I would probably die before the semester was over. However, it turned out to be one of the best classes that I ever had at Incarnate Word, and I ended up taking a second class with her," she said.

"I learned from her more about how to teach people something that they weren't particularly enthused about or excited about or even interested in. She just had a way of presenting the material such that people in the class would tune in and get it,” she said.