Message from the President

Dear Friends:

Louis J. Agnese Jr., Ph.D.

The cover of this issue of The Word features Aliaksandr “Alex” Yatsko, a junior swimming prodigy who earlier this year captured UIW’s first national championship in swimming.

Yatsko’s achievement is especially notable considering this was the first year of competition for the men’s swimming program, which at one time during the season rose to 15th in the Division II national rankings. His accomplishment is also one of the many success stories for our athletics programs during the 2007-08 school year.

Academics and athletics, and football in particular, will be part of two special events planned for the beginning of the fall semester that are open to alumni and all other members of the Incarnate Word community.

You may recall from your days as a student that near the beginning of each fall and spring semester at Incarnate Word, we celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit to mark the start of that semester’s classes. During the Mass, we also recognize the students who were named to the Dean’s List the previous semester. This year’s liturgy will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 24 at Our Lady’s Chapel.

Then, on Monday, Sept. 1, we will dedicate the Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium (located across from the Convocation Center). The stadium will be the home for our new football team when it begins play in 2009 against Monterrey Tech University. Starting at 10 a.m., we will join the Bensons and other members of our community in asking for God's blessing on our student-athletes, the Benson Stadium and all that we do at UIW.

After the blessing, with the help of Bill Miller Bar-B-Q and Coca-Cola, we will stage our first football tailgate party as we begin building a gridiron tradition for future generations of alumni and their families. The party will also feature a workout by members of our football team.

Tom Benson, who owns the New Orleans Saints football team, has been a friend of Incarnate Word for more than a quarter century, while Gayle Benson sits on our Board of Trustees. This special service also will be a way of acknowledging the Bensons’ philanthropy to Catholic higher education in our city. Football at UIW, for instance, would not have been possible without their steadfast support of our university.

I encourage you to read the rest of this issue of The Word to learn more about Yatsko’s personal story and also the latest happenings at UIW. This issue’s theme, “Making the World a Better Place,” nicely compliments your commitment to Incarnate Word, something that allows us to continue fulfilling our Mission. On behalf of the faculty, staff, administration and students, special blessings on you and your loved ones for 2008.

Best Wishes,

Louis J. Agnese J