November 17, 2023

Over 2,000 nurses from across the nation and globe visited San Antonio last week for the 47th Biennial Convention of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma), an international honor society of nursing. Those who have dedicated their lives to the service of others in the nursing profession came together to celebrate Sigma’s 100-year history of successes in transforming global healthcare and to look ahead to the future.

Forty-one of the nurses who attended the convention took time to visit the UIW Broadway campus to learn about the University and its history in healthcare, work that continues to this day. The three founding Sisters of the University were asked by Bishop Claude M. Dubuis, to help treat those suffering during a cholera epidemic in 1869. Soon after, the Sisters established the city’s first hospital, the Santa Rosa Infirmary before founding the college that would eventually become the University of the Incarnate Word. Fifty years later, Incarnate Word College established the Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions, making it the first accredited school west of the Mississippi River to offer a baccalaureate degree in nursing. Since then, the school has offered numerous opportunities to those seeking to provide the best quality healthcare to their communities.

The visiting nurses were greeted by UIW nursing students who offered them gift bags containing University mementos. Others who helped welcome them included community members such as Sr. Mary Cecilia Henry, CCVI , and Dr. Kathleen Tilton, undergraduate Nursing chair and Traditional BSN program director.

The nurses heard the story of the founding Sisters and spent time familiarizing themselves with the University’s history, campus and the living legacy of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. Noteworthy campus locations that they visited included the Heritage Center, the Chapel of the Incarnate Word, Brackenridge Villa, Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, and the Blue Hole.

Dr. Danuta Wojnar, dean of the Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions, and Dr. Yvonne Davila, UIW’s Accelerated BSN (ABSN) director, helped coordinate the tours. They were both happy to see how pleased the visiting nurses were with their time spent at the University.

“The nurses enjoyed learning the history of the Sisters of Charity of Incarnate Word and the history of the University of the Incarnate Word,” shared Dr. Davila. “One nurse who participated shared she felt so welcomed here at UIW and stated that this was the most memorable excursion she ever had.”

Through opportunities to share the University’s rich history and ongoing achievements, its community members and students are also able to use these moments to consider how to continue building upon its strong foundation to better provide quality care, education, and service to its surrounding communities.