UIW Celebrates the Spring Class of 2024

May 17, 2024

As another school year comes to a close, hundreds of new UIW graduates are sent out into the world to continue to advance their education, careers and lives. Although saying farewell to these Cardinals is bittersweet, the University community came together to celebrate the Class of 2024 in a big way.

On Friday, May 10, the Chapel of the Incarnate Word opened its doors, welcoming the Spring 2024 graduates to take part in UIW’s annual Baccalaureate Mass. As hundreds of graduates gathered in the chapel surrounded by their family, friends and mentors the UIW community celebrated the sacrifices and accomplishments of its soon-to-be graduates, offering them their prayers and giving thanks for the blessings that they are.


“The Baccalaureate Liturgies are the last spiritual act we do for our students as we commission and send them out into the world to be concerned and enlightened citizens,” shared Sr. Walter Maher, CCVI, Vice President for Mission and Ministry. “The sense of communion and union was tangible as graduates, families and friends celebrated the Eucharist, thanksgiving for God and goodness to all of us.”

The University hosted two Baccalaureate Masses throughout the day, welcoming 725 people by the end of the day.

“Words cannot express the excitement and how meaningful it is for our students and their families to celebrate this Mass,” expressed Lena Gokelman, director of Music Ministries and coordinator of Liturgy and Media. “The looks on their faces, the joy in their step and sound of their voices as they participate in the prayers and songs of the Mass let us know that this is where we need to be — and as Sr. Mary Henry, CCVI, alluded to in her welcome, a place where they are always welcome to return.”

The following day, Saturday, May 11, the University graduated 673 doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students during a Commencement ceremony held at 10 a.m., and 481 students from UIW’s health professions schools during an afternoon ceremony at the Freeman Coliseum.

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 Rehabilitation Sciences and School of Osteopathic Medicine) were represented. The Commencement celebration also saw the graduation of two Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, the founding congregation of UIW, Sr. Marylou Rodriguez, CCVI, who completed her master's degree in Pastoral Ministry through the Pastoral Institute, and Sr. Christi Sanchez, CCVI, who received her bachelor's degree in Religious Studies with a minor in Psychology.

The graduating Class of 2024 took the University's core value of Service to heart. Collectively, they completed an impressive 58,395 hours (more than 6 and a half years) of community service during their time at UIW providing an economic impact of $1,864,136.  The graduates’ combined educational and personal growth during their time at UIW have prepared them for their next steps.

“I want you to take heart in the fact that the challenges you have overcome during your time here coupled with your strong formation in Mission have prepared you for any uncertainties that lie ahead,” stated Dr. Thomas Evans, president of the University of the Incarnate Word, during his commencement address. “A vital part of that formation lies in our core values of faith, innovation, education, service and truth. These values are not just words on a page, but rather deeply held beliefs that guide our decision-making and inform who we are as individuals. They are a blueprint for creating and sustaining meaningful and fulfilling lives.”

The Class of 2024 leaves behind a legacy of service and achievement. Their journey at the University of the Incarnate Word may be ending, but their impact will reverberate far beyond campus walls. As they step into the world, armed with knowledge, integrity, and a commitment to excellence, they join a vast network of alumni who continue to uphold the values of UIW. With hearts full of gratitude and eyes set on the future, they embark on their next adventure, carrying with them the spirit of their alma mater.