The Word: UIW Community Newsletter - April 23, 2021


UIW President Helps Welcome Pope-Appointed Bishop to San Antonio

Bishop Janak walks through St. Mark the Evangelist Church

San Antonio Auxiliary Bishop Gary Janak walks through St. Mark the Evangelist Church April 20 during his episcopal ordination Mass displaying the apostolic mandate from Pope Francis — written in Latin — which proclaims the bishop’s appointment to San Antonio. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. 

On Tuesday, April 20, the Archdiocese of San Antonio ordained Auxiliary Bishop Gary W. Janak, D.D. during a special, socially distanced Mass at St. Mark the Evangelist Church. UIW President Dr. Thomas M. Evans and Sr. Tere Maya, CCVI, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word were among the men and women religious and members of the Catholic community who celebrated Bishop Janak’s installation.

Appointed to his new role by Pope Francis, the Most Rev. Janak was ordained by Archbishop of San Antonio Gustavo García-Siller with co-consecrators Auxiliary Bishop Michael Boutette and Bishop Brendan Cahill, of the Diocese of Victoria. During the ordination Mass, Rev. García-Siller reflected on God’s call and on the human response, noting that when God called Rev. Janak, he answered with humility and trust. Like Mary, he made himself available to the Holy Spirit and devoted himself to be a servant of the Lord. Service is at the heart of Rev. Janak’s ministry and he has chosen as his motto “Give Your Servant a Listening Heart,” from 1 Kings 3:9.

As part of the ceremony, the Most Revered Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, read the Papal Bull that noted Pope Francis’ praise of Most Rev. Janak as “outstanding in spiritual life, practical experience, sound faith, prudence, scholarship.” The Most Rev. Janak was formerly the rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Victory and vicar general of the Diocese of Victoria in Victoria, Texas. Please join the University of the Incarnate Word in welcoming the new bishop to our wonderful city.


UIW Announces Piper and Moody Professors

Piper Professor - Dr. Tanja Stampfl

A headshot of Dr. Tanja StampflThe Piper Professor awards are given annually by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation to professors for superior teaching at the college level in the State of Texas. Each spring, the UIW faculty select a peer to compete as the nominee at the state level the following year. The UIW faculty have selected Dr. Tanja Stampfl (College of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences) as the UIW Piper Professor for 2022.

Dr. Tanja Stampfl is professor of English and has taught courses in English, Women’s and Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, and Student Success at UIW since 2009. Her scholarship reflects those same areas of interest, such as her monograph A Century of Encounters: Writing the Other in Arab North Africa (Routledge 2019), which examines American, British, and Arab encounters in fiction over the course of the 20th century. She has published several journal articles on the complexities of national belonging in postcolonial literature and co-authored articles on gender and acts of mothering in American, Arab, and Swiss literature. Currently she is co-editing a special edition on displacement in the Journal of Sciences Institute with Dr. Ismail Avcu and completing a book proposal entitled Searching for the Motherland. Complementing her literary scholarship, Stampfl has co-written articles on teaching, professional development, writing across the curriculum, and student success with colleagues in English, History, Education, Pharmacy, Physics, and Marketing. With Dr. Ensar Ağirman she co-authored two ESP textbooks and initiated the sister school agreement and Erasmus+ partnership between UIW and Ataturk University.

Dr. Stampfl has served on Faculty Senate, the University Retention Committee, the Women’s and Gender Studies Board, First Faculty, and the CHASS Governance Committee. Some of her largest contributions have been Alpha: First Generation Student Success and directing the QEP Writing Academy. She will start to serve as the chair of the English department in August 2021.

Dr. Stampfl received the Provost’s Legacy Teaching Award, held the Sister Patrice Slattery Chair of English from 2015-2018, won the Sister Margaret Rose Palmer Award for Education, and is the 2020-2021 UIW Moody Professor. 

Dr. Stampfl will be honored at the faculty appreciation event in January 2022. Congratulations, Dr. Stampfl!

Moody Professor - Dr. Sandra Guzman-Foster

A headshot of Dr. Guzman FosterThe Moody Professorship was established in 1971 at the University of the Incarnate Word and Our Lady of the Lake University through a grant made to the two institutions by the Moody Foundation. A faculty member is named Moody Professor from each institution and in turn delivers two public lectures. The awarding of the Moody Professorship reflects the level of scholarship attained by the recipient. 

The UIW Moody Professor is traditionally a senior faculty member who is recognized for teaching excellence, scholarship, and community service. The Moody Professor delivers two public lectures, one at UIW, and one at OLLU. The Moody Professor also serves as the December Commencement speaker and carries the University Mace at all official functions. The UIW faculty have selected Dr. Sandra Guzman-Foster (Dreeben School of Education) as the UIW Moody Professor for 2021-2022.

Dr. Sandra L. Guzman-Foster is the Sister Theophane Power Endowed Chair and an associate professor in the Graduate Studies Department in the Dreeben School of Education. She currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Trauma Studies in Education and the Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue Journal. Additionally, she serves as an executive board member of the SoL (Source of Light) Center at the University Presbyterian Church in San Antonio and is a member of the research and evaluation team for Compassionate San Antonio, a grassroots movement that promotes, supports and celebrates San Antonio’s commitment to be a world-class compassionate city. Dr. Guzman Foster conducts research on topics related to the social, historical, philosophical, and political contexts of education such as critical thinking and critical pedagogy, the school to prison pipeline, social identities, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in education. She challenges her students to think critically and achieve more than they may think is possible and creates an environment where her students are both motivated to learn and are provided with the opportunity to learn. Dr. Guzman Foster emphasizes academic excellence and encourages her students to commit themselves to practices of lifelong learning and exhibits her own dedication to the same principle. Her goal is to prepare her students to live and work in a globally diverse world and to help them develop a critical lens, so they are able to analyze the world around them by applying what they have learned in class.

Dr. Guzman Foster will be honored at the faculty appreciation event on May 12, 2021. Congratulations, Dr. Guzman Foster!

Faculty Research Makes Global Headlines

A headshot of Dr. David VequistDr. David Vequist, professor of Management in the H-E-B School of Business and Administration (HEBSBA), and founder/director of the Center for Medical Tourism Research (CMRT) was recently featured in an article in Reforma, one of the largest daily newspapers in Mexico. His research on medical tourism - or in this case, vaccine tourism - was cited in the article "Viajan más a EU, pero por vacunas," as authors Arely Sánchez and Azucena Vásquez explained that despite the pandemic, individuals from Mexico and Latin American countries are still traveling to the United States, only now, in search of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

From the article:

"At least one in four people vaccinated against Covid-19 in the counties of the southern border of the United States could be tourists, mainly Mexicans, who travel to receive the drug, estimated the Center for Research in Medical Tourism (CMTR).

About 53,000 doses could have been applied to non-residents of those counties, says the Center, which is part of the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) in San Antonio Texas.

'Statistics show us that there are probably tens of thousands of Mexicans or other Latino immigrants who have come to the United States for vaccine tourism,' said David G. Vequist, founder and researcher of the CMTR."

CMTR, located within UIW's HEBSBA is the world's premier academic research center devoted to medical tourism/travel research. Vequist is regarded as one of the leading academic speakers and authors on the industry of medical tourism/travel. The center is aggressively pursuing primary data and accumulating secondary data to support the development of thought leadership, best practices, lessons learned, and policy formulation in the new industries of Health Tourism, Wellness Tourism, Dental Tourism, Medical Tourism, and Retirement Tourism. As part of its purpose, the center will supply stakeholders around the world with leading edge research and the truth about the impacts of this trend on the countries, companies and people involved in this industry through the Center's websites and papers.

Read the full Reforma article

Learn more about CMTR

Fashion Professor Moves to Round Two of Hoffman Challenge

A headshot of Dr. Melinda AdamsDr. Melinda Adams, professor of Fashion Management in the School of Media and Design, submitted an entry to the 32nd Annual Hoffman Challenge. Dr. Adam's piece titled, "Where do your flowers bloom?" successfully made it past the first round of judging.  

The theme this year is a "Garden State of Mind" and participants are expected to apply their creative and technical skills when submitting their designs. Stay tuned for more details. 

Congratulations, Dr. Adams!

UIW Places High Among the Nation’s Leading Artificial Intelligence Experts at Recent U.S. Navy Competition

A screenshot of the system at workIn December 2020, AVS Labs' Computational Intelligence Lab (CIL) principal researcher Srikanth Vemula, a Ph.D. candidate and graduate research assistant and Eulises Franco Penalosa, senior Computer Information Systems student, participated in a competition conducted by the United States Navy to augment unmanned surface vessels (USV) for maritime situational awareness in monitoring and tracking ship movements in the sea. The CIL lab developed a completely novel system within a single month that placed in the top 50% of all nationwide participants. This approach augments the USV existing detection and tracking systems capabilities by training and developing a deep neural network, an area of research that continues to trailblaze in the CIL Lab; both at UIW and San Antonio. Using a single on-board camera, the neural network was able to correctly detect and track the vessels on the water surface. Once the vessels are identified the neural network is then able to estimate the bearing and distance and relays the information to the helmsmen, who can then determine the best course of action. In addition to determining the distance, bearing and type of vessel using a single camera from the ship; the neural network can also track and plot the correct location of the ship anywhere on the planet to within 50 meters.  

Development of these types of passive systems are of vital importance to defense agencies to establish a method of documenting the vessel tracking and positioning that does not rely on current methods which utilize; predominantly, radar that can be problematic in clandestine operations where use of radar may alert adversaries. This novel method produced by AVS Labs, CIL Lab can be deployed on any system in USV with minimum use of the other sensors; greatly simplifying sensor requirements needed to detect, track and position. The CIL division of AVS Labs will continue to hone its artificial intelligence capabilities and apply them in innovative ways in a variety of challenges to continue serving as San Antonio’s leading artificial intelligence laboratory.

Research Week: Faculty Service-Learning Showcase

The UIW Research Week logoLast week, UIW faculty members participated in the Faculty Service-Learning Showcase, hosted by the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability, as part of University's annual Research Week’s activities. Research Week is a week-long event of presentations, demonstrations, and lectures hosted by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. The theme for 2021 was “INclusive INquiry.” 

The Faculty Service-Learning Showcase featured a broad base of participants actively and generously furthering UIW's values of social justice, inclusivity and service. Participants presented virtually during the week or held live conversations on April 16. Presentations came from the areas of Business, Education, English, History, Human Performance, Nursing, Nutrition, Optometry, Psychology, Religious Studies, Science, Spanish, and Theatre Arts, as well as from personnel from the Ettling Center. Faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, administrators and staff were in conversation and presented. 

Emerging themes of the week ranged from listening to needs and to pain, feeling empathy but moving into compassion, thinking and analyzing injustice and systemic injustice. Service learning and engaged scholarship are grounded in solidarity with God’s global family. They can help develop a sense of community and help in vocational exploration. While a short volunteer project can have value, strategic and deliberate larger plans aligned with goals are needed for structural transformation.   

Showcase presentations can still be viewed here

For more information about service learning, contact the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability at

Mission and Ministry

Baccalaureate Mass

A priest prepares communion

The University of the Incarnate Word will hold its Spring Baccalaureate Mass on Thursday, May 6 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The virtual doors will open at 5:45 p.m.

The history of the Baccalaureate ceremony is firmly entrenched in the medieval European custom of presenting graduating candidates for the degree of Bachelor (bacca) with laurels (lauri) or recognition of their achievement. It is traditionally a religious service of celebration and thanksgiving for the time the graduates (bachelor and advanced degrees) have devoted to growing in wisdom at a place of education. 

University Mission and Ministry cordially invites the UIW family to gather in thanksgiving on this interactive Zoom platform to celebrate the sacrifices and accomplishments of our soon to be graduates. Though we are unable to gather in the traditional way, we know that having the opportunity to see friends, family, and mentors who have impacted one's life is an important part of the celebration of this day.   

Graduates, faculty, Incarnate Word Sisters, family and friends are invited to register for the Zoom link by Sunday, May 2. Due to security purposes and to preserve the integrity of the Mass, the registration deadline is firm. 

Register for the Baccalaureate Mass

Find Commencement Ceremony and Baccalaureate Mass FAQs

Mass Schedule

The interior of a chapel

UIW Mission and Ministry is now live-streaming Sunday Mass from Our Lady’s Chapel. We invite your participation in one of the following formats: 

Our livestream Mass is a hybrid broadcast, bringing both our in-person assembly in Our Lady’s Chapel and online assembly together. Both groups are able to see and hear one another.

Community News

Cardinal Angel: In Appreciation of Adriana Leal

By Phillip J. Rangel, USAF Retired, UIW BA '18, MS '17

To many, a Cardinal represents strength, resilience, leadership and the presence of a loved one’s spirit. Tori Rhodes wrote, “The cardinal was revered within Native North American traditions because the bird was known to announce the coming of spring and, at the same time, the cardinal was considered to be a special spirit of leadership because of its’ bright and beautiful plumage.” 

Adriana embraces her grandfather for a photoAdriana Leal is the perfect representation of a Cardinal with her own spirit of leadership and the spirit of her two grandfathers who she epitomizes within herself, who proudly served our country in the military during war. Her leadership, devotion, and dedication to the UIW Student Veteran Community and their families is continually demonstrated by her superior performance as director of UIW’s Military and Veteran Center (MVC). She constantly assures students are taken care of and honored while handling all necessary VA requirements. Mike Floore, a U.S. Army Veteran and a UIW ROTC Cadet, who will soon become a Commissioned Officer this May said, “Adriana has believed in me since the day I met her. Her positive energy and words of encouragement have truly gotten me through my tenure at UIW.” 

She not only leads a dedicated team, but she is always seeking better ways to serve. For example, she continuously supports the UIW Chapter of Students Veterans of America (SVA) and played a critical role in the accomplishment of the University being awarded the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) grant. Each of these organizations have played an important role at UIW by creating a student veteran environment that provides a space for veterans that they are comfortable in.

Adriana was appointed the director of MVC in 2015, and ever since the office has vastly improved by transitioning the entire UIW VA Certification process from paper to digital and cutting the certification time by more than half. She leads two full-time employees and four student workers, ensuring the needs of veterans and their family members receive their benefits in a timely manner. Karissa Vigil, UIW Military and Veterans Center Certifying official, said that “She is committed to providing the utmost service and care to our veteran community, not only within UIW but on the outside as well,” and “She understands the true meaning and importance of serving those who have served their country. Her love for this country, community, and our veterans is prevalent, she leads by example which encourages her team to strive and do the same.” Her dedication is of vital importance at UIW. Her staff is an integral piece at UIW, by serving over 1,000 students who utilize military benefits to cover tuition. On top of this, over 28 percent of UIW’s student body are military affiliated. Retired Navy Commander, Jonathan Lovejoy, stated, “Adriana is a dedicated leader and tremendous asset to San Antonio’s military community and UIW. She supports everything from individual VA benefits to Veterans Day Car Parades and military affiliated athletic events.”

Adriana stands with two servicemembers Former U.S. Marine Byron Perez said, “As the director of the Military and Veteran Center, she is always willing to pass her knowledge on and she still shows that same helpfulness with our student population that she afforded to me as a student. She is a wonderful person. I am grateful I get to work with her!”

Unknowingly and unintentionally, Adriana has been a mentor not only to the staff she leads, but the students she comes into contact with such as Christopher Marshall, studying to become a Physician’s Assistant.

“Adriana has been my continuity at UIW since I started my academic adventure five semesters ago," said Marshall. Her genuine caring and professionalism for our unique populous led me numerous times just to stop by her office in between classes just to vent, ask questions or just see how she was doing.”

Although Adriana didn’t serve in the U.S. Military, she emulates a soldier, sailor, marine and airman, that the UIW student veteran would consider to be a positive role model. She has earned a badge of honor because of her dedication and commitment to the veteran community by ensuring everyone is well cared for, honored, and has an outstanding experience at UIW. Her grandfathers would be proud of her unwavering service to the veteran community. 

William Mulcahy Award for Ecological Stewardship

Headshots of Dr. Barton-Weston and J.R. Chiodo-BenmuvharThe William Mulcahy Award for Ecological Stewardship was created in 2007 in recognition of grounds superintendent Bill Mulcahy’s leadership in ecological conservation and care of the land at Incarnate Word. Each year, the Earth Month Committee selects two members of the UIW community to receive this award, one faculty and one staff member. Congratulations to this year's award recipients, Dr. Heather Barton-Weston, assistant professor and public health coordinator in the Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions, and J.R. Chiodo-Benmuvhar, assistant director of Residence Life. Thank you for your contributions and dedication to practicing sustainability and protecting our beautiful Earth.

Swing-In Auction Party: Register TODAY!

A banner that reads: Swing-In Auction Party and Golf Tournament

The 44th Annual Swing-In Auction Party and Golf Tournament is just around the corner! This year, the auction party you know and love is coming to you in a safe, virtual format. Plus, when you register for the auction, you will also be able to view the premiere of our virtual "gala" program! All proceeds raised from the auction will directly benefit the University’s scholarship fund to ensure the continuation of higher education for students at the University of the Incarnate Word.

The auction will officially open Friday, May 7 at 8 a.m. and close Thursday, May 13 at 8:30 p.m. The virtual gala program will premiere on the auction site on Thursday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m.

You don’t want to miss your chance to bid on amazing auction items including:

  • Front-row Spurs tickets including car service
  • Artistic Images Studio Portrait Session
  • Happy Hour at Frederick’s Bistro for 20 guests including appetizers and drinks
  • Invisalign or Braces Package from 7 to 7 Dental
  • A $2,250 gift card to Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
  • Koe Wetzel autographed electric Fender guitar
  • Radiance MedSpa Package
  • Whataburger for a Year
  • And more!

Sign up for the auction party here

As always, the Swing-In Raffle has returned as well! Only 300 tickets will be sold! Buy your Swing-In raffle ticket for $100 to support UIW scholarships – all proceeds will directly benefit the Scholarship Fund and provide UIW students with the opportunity to further their education at a faith-based institution. The raffle winner will choose one of the following prizes:

  • Tuscany Culinary Escape
  • Charleston Luxury Getaway
  • Fairmont Chateau Whistler
  • $5,000 Merchandise Credit Balance on Credit Card.

Learn more and purchase a Swing-In Raffle ticket here

The Swing-In Golf Tournament will be held Friday, May 14. For information on how to participate in the golf tournament, please contact Kendra Pittman with the UIW Office of Development at

In the News

Visiting UIW Lecturer Talks Earth Day with KSAT 12

Dr. Karen Engates, visiting lecturer of Environmental Science, spoke with KSAT12 about Earth Day and why it's important to take care of our planet. Watch the story:

UIW Faculty Featured in San Antonio Express-News Article on Ramadan

A headshot of Dr. Suleyman TekThe UIW community was invited to a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner (iftar), hosted by the Raindrop Foundation San Antonio, on Sunday, April 18. The meal was offered in a drive-thru format, followed by a virtual gathering via Zoom. The online gathering served as an opportunity to bring people from diverse backgrounds together for building bridges and cultivating mutual understanding. 

In Islam, Ramadan is the holiest of the 12 months, and when Muslims fast. Fasting starts at dawn and ends at sunset. During this time, Muslims refrain from eating and drinking (including water). The fast is broken at sunset with a dinner called "iftar" where family, friends, and neighbors gather. 

As part of this community outreach, Dr. Suleyman Tek, UIW professor of Mathematics, hosted reporters from the San Antonio Express-News to share an iftar dinner with his family.

Read the story about Dr. Tek and his family's iftar dinner here


Keeping Our Planet Green: A Discussion on Sustainability Efforts

A student works in a garden

The University of the Incarnate Word and Texas A&M University-San Antonio in collaboration with the Service-Learning Intercollegiate Collaborative (SLIC) invite you to a virtual panel discussion to bring awareness to sustainability efforts across the city. Join us on Friday, April 30 from 11 a.m. - noon via Zoom. Hear from our panelists: 

  • Minerva Defee, Climate Program Manager, City of San Antonio 
  • Maeve Bassett, Conservation and Volunteer Programs Specialist, San Antonio Botanical Garden 
  • Dr. Rodolfo Valdez-Barillas, Associate Professor of Biology, Texas A&M University-San Antonio 
  • Darren Gaus, Farm Manager, San Antonio Food Bank 

This panel discussion will be moderated by Dr. Ben Miele, assistant professor in the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. 

For more information, please contact Mayra Levy, project specialist for Global Services at

Register here

Cardinal Corner

Business students recognized in 2021 Honors Convocation

A collage of students' headshots

Each spring the H-E-B School of Business and Administration (HEBSBA) recognizes the business students who excel in their class work and extracurricular activities throughout the year.

Spring 2021 is the second straight year the Honors Convocation will not be held in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The students receiving awards and honors this year have spent the entire academic year learning primarily online as in-person learning slowly returns. Each student has demonstrated a dedication to their studies and the community as they work to live out the Mission of the University of the Incarnate Word.

“The faculty and staff of the H-E-B School of Business and Administration are proud to honor the students who have excelled in their disciplines during this academic year,” said Dr. Jeannie Scott, dean of the H-E-B School of Business and Administration. “As we progress toward returning to the classroom in the fall, the achievements made by our students during the pandemic are particularly impressive in light of the many unique challenges they have overcome in the last year. Congratulations to the honorees and we look forward to following your many successes in the future.”

The honorees for each academic discipline are selected by the faculty, including undergraduate and graduate programs. Special awards are also given to students from various student-led organizations. Additionally, scholarships are also awarded during the Honors Convocation.

See a full list of the honorees

Student Wins Inaugural Immigration and Refugee Awareness Art Contest

A headshot of ruby FiloteoGraphic Design student Ruby Filoteo won the 2021 Inaugural Immigration and Refugee Awareness Art Contest in the category for college/university level. Filoteo received a monetary award of $250. This contest was sponsored by the UIW Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability. Students submitted projects to bring awareness to immigration, migration and refugees.

Alumni and Parent Relations

Cardinals Celebrate Receiving Class Rings

The Department of Alumni and Parent Relations extends a big thank you to all students and alumni who participated in this year’s Red Put A Ring On It! Celebration. This was a very special moment for all our Cardinals and their families as they received their UIW class rings from Herff Jones. Congratulations to all Cardinals who have made it to this point in their academic journeys. Watch the celebration recap video: 

As it is a tradition every year, UIW Chaplain, Fr. Tom Dymowski, blessed the class rings prior to the celebration. This blessing symbolizes a remarkable achievement of students’ academic journeys at UIW and marks the beginning of a new stage in their professional careers. Watch the blessing:

UIW Alumnus Named SACHS Teacher of the Year

A headshot of Alejandro FloresAlejandro Flores III (BA '10) was named the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year at St. Anthony Catholic High School. Flores teaches Spanish I and II and Mexican American Chicano Studies and is also a Class of 2006 graduate of the high school. Among other reasons, Flores was selected for his efforts to make every student feel welcomed and for challenging them to soar to new heights.

Felicidades, Mr. Flores!

REDTalks: Call for Presenters

A banner that says "REDTalks"

Are you interested in participating in a future REDTalk? We are looking for UIW Alumni to share experiences, ideas and career development tools with fellow Cardinals!

If you would like to be a presenter, please fill out this form. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at  

We can't wait to hear from you!


Ward named Freshman of the Year, Cardinals earned 16 all-conference selections

Cameron Ward on the football field

The University of the Incarnate Word football team racked in postseason awards as Cameron Ward was named Southland Conference Freshman of the Year and the Cardinals received 16 all-conference selections, announced the league office on Tuesday. This is the most SLC postseason accolades UIW has won since becoming Division I.

The Cardinals placed three on first team: Kevin Brown (RB), Kelechi Anyalebechi (LB) and Ce’Cori Tolds (KR); four Cardinals earned five second team honors: Robert Ferrell (WR and PR), Caleb Johnson (OL), Cameron Preston (DL) and Shawn Holton (DB); and eight student-athletes were named third team: Cameron Ward (QB), Nash Jones (OL), Reid Francis (OL), Carson Mohr (PK), Blaine Hoover (DL), Chance Main (DL), Isaiah Paul (LB) and Elliott Davidson (DB).

See the full Southland Conference press release

Cameron Ward | Fr. | West Columbia, Texas

The quarterback standout was named SLC Freshman of the Year after he led the nation with 24 passing touchdowns, breaking the program record for most TD passes in a season in just six games. Ward was also second in the nation with 26.3 points responsible for per game. The freshman earned multiple accolades, including SLC Offensive Player of the Week and the Stats Perform National Freshman Player of the Week twice. He also tied the record for TDs responsible for on the season (26) and went 183-303-4 (60.4%) for the best single-season pass efficiency at UIW (146.5). Ward threw for over 300 yards in every game this season and recorded over 400 yards in three of the six games, tallying a total of 2,260 passing yards.

On Monday, Ward was named one of 16 finalists for the 10th FCS Jerry Rice Award as announced by Stats Perform FCS. The Stats Perform FCS Jerry Rice Award is presented to the national freshman player of the year in college football's Division I subdivision. A 40-member national media panel will select the winner from the unprecedented 2020-21 season, which has spanned the fall and spring semesters. The recipient will be announced on May 3.

Kevin Brown | Sr. | Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Brown led the nation all season in average yards per carry at 10.5. He finished the season at 192.2 rushing yards per game and ran for 775 yards total. Brown scored seven TDs this season (five rushing, two receiving). He led the conference in all-purpose yards, averaging 163.3 per game. Brown scored three rushing touchdowns against Northwestern State, which is tied for third for most TDs scored in a game and tied for fourth for most rushing TDs in a game at UIW. Brown was named SLC Offensive Player of the Week and earned a FCS National Offensive Player of the Week honorable mention nod following a 196-yard performance against Lamar. Brown rushed for over 100 yards in four games this season.

Kelechi Anyalebechi | Jr. | Pearland, Texas

In four games played, Anyalebechi ranked fourth in the SLC with 10.5 tackles per game. He recorded a total of 54 tackles (29 solo, 25 assisted). He had a career-high 17 tackles in the win against Lamar, which is tied for most in a single game at UIW. This marks Anyalebechi’s second all-conference selection.

Ce’Cori Tolds | Jr. | Houston, Texas

Tolds opened the season for the Cardinals by returning a kickoff for a 100-yard touchdown, the third kickoff returned for a touchdown of his career, against No. 19 McNeese. He was named SLC Special

Teams Player of the Week for his efforts. The three TDs is tied for most career kickoff return touchdowns. Later in the season, Tolds recorded a season-high five kickoff returns against SLU. Tolds amassed 19 tackles (11 solo, eight assisted), and was responsible for one forced fumble and two pass breakups.

Robert Ferrel | Jr. | Sparks, Nev.

Ferrel led the Cardinal receivers with six receptions for 744 yards. He amassed two receiving touchdowns in two consecutive games and inked his name in the UIW record books with six pass reception TDs, which is tied for third all-time. Ferrel also recorded 91 punt return yards, which is tied for fourth in individual season records at UIW. He gained 331 all-purpose yards against NSU, which ranks first in a single game at UIW.

Caleb Johnson | Jr. | Mount Pleasant, Texas

Johnson was part of an offensive line that held the least number of tackles for loss per game in the nation through most of the season, allowing just 2.80 per game prior to the game against Sam Houston. He was also part of the o-line that helped UIW have the second-best rushing offense in the league, and 14th in the nation, averaging 207.6 yards per game.

Cameron Preston | Jr. | Crowley, Texas

In six games played, Preston recorded 15 tackles (four solo, 11 assisted) with 2.5 tackles for loss for nine yards. He chipped in 1.0 sacks for a loss of seven yards.

Shawn Holton | So. | Fort Worth, Texas

Holton averaged 6.8 tackles per game, which ranked among the top 20 in the SLC. Overall, he recorded 34 tackles (16 solo, 18 assisted). Holton was also responsible for seven pass breakups, first in the league for teams playing in the spring. He tied a program record with four pass breakups in a single game against Southeastern Louisiana.

Nash Jones | Fr. | Nacogdoches, Texas

Jones was part of an offensive line that held the least number of tackles for loss per game in the nation through most of the season, allowing just 2.80 per game prior to the game against Sam Houston. He was also part of the o-line that helped UIW have the second-best rushing offense in the league, and 14th in the nation, averaging 207.6 yards per game.

Reid Francis | R-Fr. | College Station, Texas

Francis was part of an offensive line that held the least number of tackles for loss per game in the nation through most of the season, allowing just 2.80 per game prior to the game against Sam Houston. He was also part of the o-line that helped UIW have the second-best rushing offense in the league, and 14th in the nation, averaging 207.6 yards per game.

Carson Mohr | So. | The Woodlands, Texas

Mohr went 30-31 in extra points, marking the best PAT kick percentage in a single season at UIW at 96.8%. At one point in the season, he held a streak of 44-straight PATs dating back to the Fall 2019 season. He was 5-7 on field goals this season, with a long score from 48 yards out. Mohr scored the most points for UIW with 45.

Blaine Hoover | R-Jr. | Bedias, Texas

In five games played, Hoover recorded four tackles for loss, three solo and two assisted, for a loss of 24 yards to go along with 3.0 sacks for a loss of 21 yards. He recorded 21 tackles on the season (seven solo, 14 assisted). Hoover also recorded one pass breakup and two QB hurries.

Chance Main | Jr. | Cherryvale, Kan.

Main had a team-high 4.0 sacks for a loss of 24 yards in five games this season. He recorded 22 tackles (10 solo, 12 assisted), 4.5 tackles for a loss of 25 yards, and one forced fumble. His four sacks rank sixth in the league, third among teams that played in the spring.

Isaiah Paul | R-Fr. | San Antonio, Texas

In six games, Paul recorded 38 tackles (17 solo, 21 assisted), with 4.5 of his tackles for a loss of 15 yards. He had a season-high 12 tackles in the win against Lamar. Paul was responsible for one QB hurry and two pass breakups. His 6.3 tackles per game ranked in the top 20 in the SLC.

Elliot Davidson | Fr. | Flint, Texas

Davidson played in five games for the Cardinals, amassing 31 tackles (21 solo, 10 assisted). He snagged one interception and broke up three passes.

First three-game conference series sweep for softball since 2016

A softball player hits the ball

The University of the Incarnate Word softball team swept the series against Lamar on April 17-18, winning game one 9-1 (six innings), game two 7-5, and game three 5-1. This marks the first three-game series sweep for the Cardinals since 2016.


  • With the sweep, UIW improved to 12-19, 7-11 SLC, on the season.
  • Sophomore Annie Gunther improved to 6-7 in the circle with wins in game one and game three.
  • Sophomore Jazmine Torres recorded seven of the team's 21 RBIs.

How it Happened

Game 1

The Lamar Cardinals took an early 1-0 lead on a single in the bottom of the first inning on Saturday afternoon, but from then on it was all UIW. Kendall McGary singled down the left field line to score Hailey Jackson and Tori Alvarez-Lopez to give UIW a 2-1 advantage.

In the top half of the fourth inning, Abby Frank singled to center field, bringing home Savannah Behabetz and Alvarez-Lopez. Bella Sanchez followed that up with a single of her own to score McGary and Frank, putting the Cardinals up 6-1.

In the top of the sixth, UIW struck again. Sanchez singled down the left field line to score McGary, while Jazmine Torres smacked one up the middle to bring in Frank and Sanchez for the 9-1 lead.

Lamar failed to score in the bottom half of the inning, resulting in the six-inning, mercy-rule victory for UIW.

Game 2

UIW got off to a fast start on Sunday afternoon in game two of the series. With bases loaded, Torres singled to center, scoring Frank and Sanchez. Maddie Boldt scored on a Lamar throwing error in that same play, and the Cardinals jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the fifth, UIW scored again when McGary took advantage of a Lamar defensive throwing error, extending the lead to 4-0.

The LU offense put up two runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning, but UIW answered in the top of the sixth with two more runs. Alvarez-Lopez used a RBI sacrifice fly to center to bring in Boldt before Jackson singled up the middle to score Torres.

LU closed the distance in bottom half of the inning, scoring three runs to make the score 6-5, but the UIW Cardinals shut the door on the Lamar comeback attempt, using a Boldt double down the left field line that scored McGary and secured the victory.

UIW won game two 7-5.

Game 3

The UIW offense struck first in the top of the second inning when Alvarez-Lopez put down a sacrifice bunt to score Torres.

Lamar tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on an infield single to make the game 1-1, but Boldt took matters into her own hands with a solo home run to left field to give UIW the 2-1 lead.

UIW added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh when Boldt sent a sac fly to right field, scoring McGary, before Torres’ two-RBI double to left center brought home pinch runner Leah Hayes and Frank.

UIW went on to win game three, 5-1, for the sweep.

Cardinals get back in win column with victory over New Orleans

A baseball player rounds a base

The University of the Incarnate Word baseball team got back in the win column on Sunday, defeating New Orleans 6-3 in game four of the weekend series at Sullivan Field, sponsored by H-E-B.


  • Lee Thomas, with 25 career home runs, ranks first at UIW since the Cardinals moved up to Division I. Five of those have occurred this season.
  • Thomas recorded his 200th career hit with a solo home run in the second frame.
  • Michael McElmeel recorded his first save of the season, pitching the final 2.1 innings.

How it Happened

New Orleans opened scoring in the first inning, putting up two runs before an Isaiah Zavala strikeout ended the top of the frame.

The Cardinals’ offense was hot from the start, sending nine to the plate in the bottom of the first. Ridge Rogers and Grant Smith hit back-to-back singles before a Thomas RBI single to left field scored Rogers.

Wilson Ehrhardt then brought Smith and Thomas home with a two-RBI single up the middle. UIW used a Ron Brown walk and a Ryan Flores single to load the bases before Ehrhardt made the score 4-2 in favor of the Cardinals, coming home on a Noah Brewer RBI ground out.

Thomas hit one out of the park in the bottom of the second inning and now leads the team with five home runs on the season. The score put UIW up 5-2.

Brown got on base in the third inning, hitting a double off the wall and splitting the right and center fielders. Flores followed it up with a double of his own, splitting the outfielders again, to send Brown home for a 6-2 advantage.

Zavala kept UNO at bay through the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, allowing only one Privateer to reach base in nine batters before the visiting team was able to sneak in a run in the top of the seventh.

McElmeel took the mound and shut the Privateers down through the eighth and ninth innings for his first save of the year. UNO threatened to score in the top of the ninth with bases loaded and two outs on the board, but a fly ball caught by Landon Etzel at left field sealed the 6-3 win for the Cardinals.

On Deck

The Cardinals head to Abilene Christian for a four-game weekend series starting on Friday at 6:05 p.m. (CT) at Crutcher Scott Field.


COVID-19 Resources

A student in a UIW mask looks at a computer

The University of the Incarnate Word continues to monitor the local, regional and state-wide progression of COVID-19 to inform decisions about safe campus operations. Below you will find links to helpful information regarding UIW's COVID-19 warning indicators, case tracking, safety guidelines and resources for the UIW community. These sites will be updated to reflect changes or new information.

Cardinal Daily Health Check

COVID-19 Information Site

COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 Case Updates

Cardinal Flight Plan 

Schedule a COVID-19 test on the Broadway campus (students and employees ONLY)

Schedule a COVID-19 test at the UIWSOM campus (open to general public)