The Word: UIW Community Newsletter - January 22, 2021


UIW Participates in San Antonio DreamWeek

This week, the University of the Incarnate Word participated in San Antonio's DreamWeek celebration. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "DreamWeek aims to bring people, their unique ideas and their myriad of voices to the forefront of a city-wide summit. Ideas become most powerful when they are advanced through the interaction of individuals and communities, and propelled towards a greater awareness of the issues that touch us all."

The University hosted two official DreamWeek events. The first, "Muslims and Christians Creating the Beloved Community," was hosted on Friday, Jan. 15 and featured people of diverse faiths coming together to discuss how to find our shared humanity, despite our differences, in order to create a better world for all. The panel featured Imam Omar Adib Shakir, resident Imam at Masjid Bilal Ibn; Bishop Trevor Alexander, Protestant chaplain and adjunct faculty; Mourad Takawi, assistant professor of Religious Studies; Yesenia Caloca, assistant director of the UIW Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability; and Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, CCVI, professor emerita of Religious Studies. 

A headshot of Ya'Ke Smith

This year, the City of San Antonio's MLK Commision made the decision to host the city's annual MLK March virtually. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 18, thousands of people tuned in for the virtual celebration, a screening of a film called, Dream: Rise Up for Justice. The film was produced by UIW alumnus, Ya'Ke Smith (pictured left). Ya’Ke graduated with his B.A. from the Communication Arts Department in 2003 and later became the youngest recipient of UIW's Alumni of Distinction for Professional Achievement award. His films have received world-wide acclaim, screening and winning awards at over 100 film festivals. His short film, dawn., made its television premiere on HBO in February of 2015, and screened on the network for two years. The film was also streamed as part of Issa Rae's Short Film Sunday series on her YouTube channel. In addition, he has been featured on NPR, CNN, HLN, Ebony Online, Indiewire, Filmmaker Magazine and Shadow&Act. He is currently an associate professor of film in the University of Texas at Austin's film program and associate dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Moody College of Communication. 

UIW's final DreamWeek event was held virtually all day on Thursday, Jan. 21. "Touching and Transforming" was a day of dialogue with Black alumni of the University of the Incarnate Word who have touched thousands of lives and are transforming society. In tune with the San Antonio DreamWeek theme this year, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” alumni spoke to students and community members about what it means to apply one's education to building a better world.

View a complete list of featured alumni and UIW's upcoming Black History Month events

Watch the City of San Antonio's Virtual MLK Day March, produced by Ya'ke Smith below. 


Communication Arts Faculty Wins Top Paper Award

A headshot of Dr. Zazil GarciaDr. Zazil Reyes García, director of Communication Arts Accelerated Bachelor to Master Programs and associate professor of Communication Arts, was awarded the Top Paper Award in the Latina/o Communication Studies Division by the National Communication Association. García’s award-winning paper was titled, “Feminist Latinidad: A Comparative Media Analysis of One Day at a Time and Jane the Virgin.” 

Congratulations, Dr. García!

3D Animation and Game Design Faculty Published

The front cover of a text bookAdam Watkins, coordinator and professor of 3D Animation and Game Design; Jingtian Li and Matt Tovar, assistant professors of 3D Animation and Game Design; and Kassandra Arevalo, instructor of 3D Animation and Game Design, recently published two books with CRC Press. The books, both tutorial-based texts, teach readers how to create animated games using industry-standard software—Unity, Substance Painter, Maya, and Unreal Engine—that are free to students. Using these books, students can completely create a playable version of a game. Learn more about each book at the links below. 

Creating Games with Unity, Substance Painter, & Maya

Creating Games with Unreal Engine, Substance Painter, & Maya

UIW Business Faculty Member Featured in New York Times

A headshot of Dr. David VequistDr. David Vequist, professor of Management in the H-E-B School of Business and Administration, and founder of UIW's Center for Medical Tourism Research, was recently featured in an article in the New York Times called, "Why Medical Tourism Is Drawing Patients, Even in a Pandemic." Vequist is regarded as one of the leading academic speakers and authors on the industry of medical tourism/travel. 

The center provides high-quality research and thought-leadership in the economic, social justice, and societal impacts of the Medical Tourism/Travel industry. It aggressively pursues primary data and accumulates 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. 

Read the New York Times piece

Mission and Ministry

Peace in Our World: A Reflection

Hands holding

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

Sunday Morning Prayer

santuaryUniversity Mission and Ministry invites you to attend our weekly Sunday Morning Prayers. While we cannot gather in-person to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in Our Lady’s Chapel or the Chapel of the Incarnate Word, we can gather virtually and unite our prayers of petition during this celebration of the Liturgy of the Word. The service will be held on Zoom. The platform will open at 10:45 a.m. for an opportunity to greet one another before prayer. We hope you’ll be able to join us! For more information, please contact Lena Gokelman or Carmen Aguilera at or (210) 832-3207.

RSVP to receive a Zoom link to the Jan. 24 Prayer Service

A Message from University Chaplain, Fr. Thomas Dymowski Regarding COVID-19 Vaccination 

A vaccine is preparedRecently, our Archbishop of San Antonio, Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MsSP, wrote to priests and deacons of the Archdiocese with guidance to help ease the consciences of the faithful who object to using vaccines against the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes Covid-19, which, "in the course of research and production, employed cell lines drawn from tissue obtained from two abortions that occurred in the last century." He attached to his communication the following note from the Vatican Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith released on Dec. 21, 2020, that explains the conditions under which their use is permissible. The document concludes, "the passive material cooperation in the evil of the procured abortion from which these cell lines originate is, on the part of those making use of the resulting vaccines, remote...The moral duty to avoid such passive material cooperation is not obligatory if there is a grave danger, such as the otherwise uncontainable spread of a serious pathological agent – in this case, the pandemic spread" we are currently experiencing.

The Vatican Note, while restating that vaccination is not, "as a rule, a moral obligation and therefore voluntary, proposes that, from the ethical point of view, the morality of vaccination depends not only on the duty to protect one's own health, but also on the duty to pursue the common good." As chaplain of the University of the Incarnate Word, in the circumstances of the current pandemic, I can tell you I intend to be vaccinated as soon as possible and urge everyone whose health allows it to do the same.

Fr. Thomas H. Dymowski, O.SS.T. 
University Chaplain 

Community News

UIW Set to Celebrate Black History Month

A banner that reads "UIW Celebrates Black History Month"

UIW is set to host several events throughout the month of February in celebration of Black History Month. While the schedule is still being finalized, currently scheduled events include the following: 

  • Feb. 2: Central High in Little Rock with Dr. Roger Barnes – Dr. Roger Barnes, professor of Sociology, will share stories about Central High in Little Rock, the site of forced desegregation in 1957. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional three years earlier, during a period of heightened activism in the civil rights movement. 
  • Feb. 3: Intersectionalities: Complicated Identities in the Pan-African Diaspora – People with African ancestry live all over the world, and Black skin is not just part of African ancestry. To complicate matters further, gender identities, sexuality, ability and disability, and faith are some other identities that intersect with and also define Black identities. In this panel discussion, guests will discuss how Black identity resists easy classification and what that means in our everyday lives.
  • Feb. 9: Pierre Lecture: A Conversation on Catholicism, Racism and Health – The annual Pierre Lecture, sponsored by the Religious Studies Department will feature Dr. Vanessa White, a scholar from the Catholic Theological Union, and Dr. Neomi De Anda, a scholar from the University of Dayton. 
  • Feb. 11: Student Research Showcase – Join UIW students for a virtual gathering and exhibition of student work related to Black history and heritage.
  • Date TBD: The Underground Railroad to Mexico – This panel discussion will feature Roseann Bacha-Garza of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Maria Hammack of The University of Texas at Austin for a presentation on the story of runaway slaves who sought freedom in Mexico, and the Tejanos and many other groups who helped them on their journey.

Learn more and register for each event

Swing-In 2021: Save the Date!

A banner with the Swing-In logo that reads "Swing-In 2021" with date information

The Swing-In Auction and Golf Tournament is an annual event of the University of the Incarnate Word Development Board that raises funds for student scholarships. Your support each year allows us to continue building on our success, providing necessary funds to students seeking to continue their higher education.

The 44th Annual Swing-In Auction will take place on Thursday, May 13, followed by the Swing-In Golf Tournament on Friday, May 14, at The Quarry Golf Course. All proceeds raised from the auction will directly benefit the University’s scholarship fund.

For more information on sponsorships and how you can participate in this year's Swing-In please contact Ana Bribiesca Hoff at (210) 829-6075 or

There are two ways you can get involved and help before the event!

  1. Donate items: The Office of Development is seeking donations for the Swing-In Auction Party. If you would like to support the auction by donating items, gift cards, experiences or wine bottles, please contact Ana Bribiesca Hoff at (210) 829-6075 or
  2. Volunteer: We can't do it without your support! Register as a Swing-In Golf Tournament volunteer

Swing-In Raffle

Swing-In raffle tickets are now available to purchase. As always, only 300 tickets will be sold! 

With the purchase of a Swing-In raffle ticket for $100, you earn a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime experience and support UIW students' pursuit of higher education at a faith-based institution. All proceeds will directly benefit the UIW Scholarship Fund.

The raffle winner will choose one of the following prizes: 

Purchase your Swing-In raffle ticket

In the News

News 4 San Antonio: Local college students say inauguration was a history lesson

Two students in masks stand side by side in a screen grab of a news story"The President's inauguration was a history lesson in real-time for some students at the University of the Incarnate Word.

'I found it really exciting,' said Aimee Galindo, the president of the University's Student Government Association. 'Especially when Kamala came in, I don't know, my skin got kind of shivery because it's the first woman and it's just a historical moment for us to be able to watch it.'"

Read and watch the full story


Blood Drive - Save the Date

A person in a red shirt with bandages on their armThe University community is invited to a South Texas Blood & Tissue Center Blood Drive sponsored by UIW on Tuesday, March 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the SEC Ballroom. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and UIW community members are welcome to donate blood. 

Donors will have the opportunity to earn community service hours, win a UIW t-shirt, and earn donor points to redeem online. For more information, please contact Campus Life at or the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability at  

Schedule an appointment

Cardinal Corner

Four Cardinals Named to Southland Preseason All-Conference Teams

A collage of headshots of UIW soccer players

Four student-athletes on the University of the Incarnate Word women’s soccer team were selected to the 2021 Spring Soccer Preseason All-Conference Teams, announced the Southland Conference on Wednesday. This is the first time in program history the Cardinals have had four selections.  

Hannah Walsh and Keeley Ayala both earned first team honors, while Isabelle Beletic and Jade Piper were named to the second team. The four were members of the squad that made UIW's first appearance at the Southland Conference Tournament in program history. 

Head Coach Emma Wright-Cates 

“This is an incredible moment for these four players. Everyone has been working extremely hard, and for them to be recognized by the conference for all their hard work and efforts is a tremendous honor. We are all very excited about the future of the UIW women’s soccer program and looking forward to getting back on the pitch this Spring.” 

Hannah Walsh 

  • In 1,164 minutes played in the regular season in 2019, Walsh put up the second-most shots on the team with 35 (17 shots on goal was third highest). 
  • She scored her first goal as a Cardinal against McNeese (Oct. 18) to contribute to UIW's 2-0 shutout. 
  • Walsh scored her second goal of the season against Sam Houston State (Oct. 25), initiating UIW's 3-2 double overtime win.
  • In the first round of the SLC tournament, Walsh tallied three shots (one on goal) against the Islanders. 

Keeley Ayala 

  • Following a historic 2019 season, Ayala was named second team all-conference as a forward. 
  • With 13 goals on the season, Ayala scored at least one goal in eight of the 11 SLC matches.  
  • She boasted two multi-scoring matches, with two scores against Prairie View A&M (Sept. 6) and two goals against Houston Baptist (Oct. 11), including the game-winning golden goal in overtime. Her second golden goal of the season came against Sam Houston State (Oct. 25) in double overtime. 
  • Ayala was a perfect six for six in penalty shots on the year, which ranked first in the nation following the SLC Tournament. 
  • In the first round of the SLC Tournament, Ayala racked up seven shots (five on frame) against the Islanders. 

Isabelle Beletic 

  • Beletic was named third team all-conference as a midfielder in 2019. 
  • She started 18 games and clocked 1,469 minutes on the pitch, also putting up 10 shots with four on target. 
  • In the first round of the SLC tournament, Beletic tallied one shot on goal against the Islanders. 

Jade Piper 

  • Piper tallied the fourth-most shots on the team with 23, 11 of which were on frame, during the 2019 season. 
  • In 1,332 minutes played, Piper scored two goals in the regular season (vs. Nicholls and Lamar). 
  • Piper scored in the Cardinals' debut at the SLC tournament in the 87th minute to tie the game and bring it to extra time. She also was responsible for the assist on the Andrea Reyes goal in the 80th minute. 

Alumni and Parent Relations

UIW Alumna Earns Inaugural FotoFest John Herrin Memorial Scholarship to the Meeting Place 2021 Virtual Portfolio Review

A photo of Theresa NewsomeUIW alumna, Theresa Newsome, recently earned a scholarship to The FotoFest Meeting Place Portfolio Review, one of the largest portfolio review programs in the United States. The Meeting Place provides an opportunity to have photographers' portfolios reviewed by nationally and internationally recognized curators and art spaces. Of 136 submissions received, eight were selected by the jurors for their "strong and compelling bodies of work by photographic artists with unique and important viewpoints, who will benefit greatly from showing their work to international reviewers at the Meeting Place 2021 Virtual Portfolio Review."

According to FotoFest, "scholarship recipients each receive 16 one-on-one portfolio review appointments with international photography industry leaders, including curators, book publishers, gallerists, photo editors, and collectors. The mission of the Meeting Place is to provide photographic artists with valuable development and career opportunities, with the goal of forging connections that last far beyond the review sessions themselves." 

Newsome is currently in an exhibit at Blue Star and teaches part time at Texas State University. View images of some of her work from her series titled, Objects, below. "Objects is a photographic series that reflects and documents the murder of unarmed black individuals in the United States, either by police brutality or unchecked racism. The objects depicted in this series portray the everyday objects that have become iconographic and in a sense played a pivotal role in the victims murders." 

Learn more about Objects

Learn more about Theresa Newsome

  photo of an ice cream container on its side, a daybed, and skittles next to a can of Arizona green tea 

REDTalk – Allison Ramsey, BS ‘05

Redtalk banner logo with a headshot of Allison Ramsey

The Department of Alumni and Parent Relations is excited to welcome UIW Alumna and UIW Alumni Association Board Director, Allison Ramsey, BS ’05, for our first REDTalk of the year. 

Ramsey is the founder of Empire Life, Tech & Digital Marketing Company. At Empire Life, female founders are guided in scaling their online empires. She is also a software developer, data scientist and college professor. The Empire Life Podcast broadcasts interviews with mega-successful empire builders from around the world. She is an international speaker on women in tech, entrepreneurship, business, leadership, and business partnerships.  

Tune in to our REDTalk next Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. live on the @UIWAlumni Facebook page and YouTube channel. 

Herff Jones UIW Class Ring Info Session

A UIW class ring on display

Learn about the history and production of the Official UIW Class Ring "Affinity" designed by Herff Jones on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. on @UIWAlumni Facebook and YouTube Live! Herff Jones representatives will be available to answer any questions regarding class ring options and orders for current students and alumni interested in purchasing a class ring. 

Schedule a one-on-one appointment with a Herff Jones representative

Alumni Mentor Program

A UIW student uses a laptop with the text, UIW Alumni Mentor Program

The UIW Alumni Mentor Program is seeking mentees for the spring semester! The mentoring program will allow students to learn from industry professionals who align with their career goals. UIW alumni are ready and eager to help pave the way for our Cardinals' future success!

Find more information on and apply for the program


Last Week in UIW Athletics: Jan. 12 - 17

An image of UIW swimming facilities

The University of the Incarnate Word Athletics department closed out two competitions for the week of Jan. 12-17. 

Men's Tennis

  • The Cardinals fell to Oklahoma, 7-0, in their first match of the season. Sophomore Omar El Kadi dropped two sets to 69th-ranked Mason Butler, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 1 singles.  
  • Freshmen, Arnau Miralles, Marwin Kralleman, Luka Stojanovic and Marko Galic all played well in their collegiate debuts.   
  • Miralles and Marwin Kralleman paired up and won three games at No. 1 doubles (3-6).  

Swimming and Diving

  • Women's swimming and diving hosted North Texas at the Ann Barshop Natatorium on Friday, Jan. 15, in a dual meet where the Cardinals finished with an overall score of 132. The Mean Green scored 167 for the win. 
  • UIW came off the swimming blocks strong with a first-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay (Cristina Vergara, Mckenna Stallworth, Cassie Phillips and Magda Vega Vidal). 
  • Brenda Diaz Martinez finished first in the 1,000-yard free with a time of 10:40.68. 
    Senior Cassie Phillips' 200-yard fly time of 2:05.96 claimed first in the event. 
  • Ana Lucia Garza had her best meet of the season. She had a score of 258.30 in the 3-meter dive for first and a score of 248.78 in the 1-meter dive for second. 
  • Ximena Conde Merlos swam another strong meet with wins in the 400-yard IM (4:30.05) and the 500- yard free (5:04.88). 

Follow Along

For the most up to date information on UIW Athletics, visit, follow the Cardinals on Twitter @UIWAthletics and like UIW Athletics on Facebook.   


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)