UIW Celebrates Spring Class of 2023

May 11, 2023

Graduates Community Service made Economic Impact of nearly $1 Million

Student wearing cap and gown holds arms out in celebration

San Antonio – With thousands of friends, family and supporters cheering on, the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) is proud to announce the conferral of 1,068 professional, doctoral, graduate and undergraduate degrees to students at the 2023 Spring Commencement Ceremony.

The event took place during two ceremonies on Saturday, May 6 at the Freeman Coliseum with 583 doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students crossing the stage during a morning ceremony and 485 students from UIW’s health professions schools doing the same in the afternoon ceremony. All five UIW health professions schools (Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions, Feik School of Pharmacy, Rosenberg School of Optometry, School of Physical Therapy and School of Osteopathic Medicine) were represented.

The graduating Spring Class of 2023 completed an inspiring 32,473 hours of community service, providing an economic impact of nearly $1 million. Community service is a pillar of the well-rounded education promised by UIW and it is the hope of our community that the graduates will continue this legacy of service as concerned and enlightened citizens of our world.

As UIW President Dr. Thomas M. Evans said to the graduates during the ceremony, “As is most appropriate for an institution located in San Antonio, some students have shared with me that they remember our core values with the acronym FIESTA for faith, innovation, education, service and truth. We have one core value for each letter, except for the A. During your orientation, some of you may have heard that the A stands for the grades that you will get. While I certainly hope that was the case, I prefer to think that the A stands for Action. Action drives us to bring our core values to life in real, tangible ways. It requires a deep commitment to living lives of integrity and being people of good character. Each of you now has the precious opportunity to do just this. Take all that you have experienced here – all the knowledge shared with you by your instructors, all the love and support of your classmates, and all the prayers lifted up for you from your UIW family – and contribute to forming a more just and better world.”

Also honored during the ceremony was outgoing Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Jack Lewis. Lewis has dedicated 12 years to UIW in various capacities from co-chair of the School of Osteopathic Medicine’s Capital Campaign committee and co-chair of the University’s last comprehensive campaign, to board Treasurer, to Vice Chair and then chair. Lewis also found ways to support new programs and opportunities, such as the Liza and Jack Lewis III Institute of the Americas, supported the purchase of Founders Hall and sponsored students for whom a UIW education would not have been possible without his support. For all that and more, Lewis was presented with an honorary degree, making him a UIW Cardinal forever.

As Evans said of Lewis during the ceremony, “Jack is also one of our most ardent ambassadors, welcoming new friends and benefactors into our community in hopes that they come to appreciate the work that we do here as much as he does. I am glad to say that because of Jack, they almost always do. To borrow a few words from Jack himself, ‘I have loved UIW forever. We are making great things happen and we are helping students who would not otherwise have this chance. We are changing lives. I have seen all the good that the university has done for students over the years. I’m a believer.’ There is certainly one thing that I believe and know about Jack, and it is that he loves this university as if it were his own alma mater. Now, I am so glad to say that it is.”

Also recognized during the afternoon ceremony was Dr. Holly Cassells who is retiring after more than 40 years of service to UIW and the Ila Fay Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions in various roles including dean. And Dr. Caroline Goulet was honored for her time as the interim provost. Goulet will continue in her role as the Associate Provost of Health Professions.