The Word: UIW Community Newsletter - June 5, 2020



A Special Message from UIW President, Thomas M. Evans, PhD 

A chapel with a cross, red drapes and an altar  

Dear Students, Parents, Faculty and Staff,

Like so many of us, the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has shaken me to my core. His death, and the deaths of so many other men and women, are grim realities of the inequalities and brutality Black Americans and people of color unjustly endure, which hurts our nation as a whole.

As we grieve, we are also moved to consider what we can do – what we should do – to enact change in our communities and contribute to a more just world. As a community of faith and education, we have a unique charge to illuminate truth and elevate the human dignity of every person. We must do what institutions of higher education do best: we must educate, we must inform, we must encourage open dialogue and appreciate the many perspectives that invites. We must also consider our Mission and reflect on how we can move through the world as concerned and enlightened citizens who serve the needs of humanity.

The University of the Incarnate Word was founded by three Sisters who bravely left their homes a half a world away to answer the call of Bishop Claude Dubuis who wrote, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude of the sick and infirm of every kind, seeks relief at your hands …” Today, UIW continues to answer that call to serve the multitudes of every kind through an emphasis on social justice and Catholic Social Teaching.

That said, we can always improve, listen more closely and consider how to better serve our university community. To that end, I have charged the President’s Council on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to reconvene and put forth recommendations on how we can improve at UIW and put our faith and the Word into action. Co-chaired by Sr. Walter Maher, CCVI, vice president of Mission & Ministry, and Dr. Barbara Aranda-Naranjo, provost, this council includes students, faculty and staff from throughout the University working toward making our community even stronger and united as One Word.

As protests were held in our city and in many others, Sr. Walter shared her thoughts and invited us to reflect on this past week's events, “to lament, cry out, and ask God to look on our distress and to show us the way of compassion and mercy, especially as we try to process, mourn, and even peacefully protest the depths of destruction that have been inflicted upon some of our brothers and sisters.”

I pray that though we remain apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that we are all shown the way of compassion and mercy through unity. I pray that all of those who make up our dynamic community here and around the world are safe and well. I pray that when we encounter those who are not, that we strive to care for them so they may seek relief at our hands.

I leave you with an excerpt and prayer from   Racial Justice and the Catholic Church  by Fr. Bryan N. Massingale a theology professor at Fordham University in New York. His words spoke to me and I pray they might speak to you as well.

Social life is made by human beings. The society we live in is the outcome of human choices and decisions. This means that human beings can change things. What humans break, divide, and separate, we can — with God's help — also heal, unite, and restore.

What is now does not have to be. Therein lies the hope. And the challenge.

Come, Holy Spirit!

Fill the hearts of your faithful.

Enkindle within us the fire of your love.

Come, Holy Spirit! 

Breath into us a fiery passion for justice.

Especially for those who have the breath of life crushed from them.


Praised be the Incarnate Word!


Thomas M. Evans, PhD


Mission & Ministry

In Solidarity - A Message from Sr. Walter Maher, CCVI, Vice President of Mission & Ministry 

A cross against a blue sky

“Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude
of sick and infirm of every kind, seeks relief at your hands.”

— Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis, 1866

Reflecting on this past week's events, we cannot but lament, cry out, and ask God to look on our distress and to show us the way of compassion and mercy, especially as we try to process, mourn, and even peacefully protest the depths of destruction that have been inflicted upon some of our brothers and sisters.

In the fifth chapter of the Book of Lamentations, God encourages those who suffer to lament, to cry out, and to break up their silence. In other words, God encourages suffering humans to openly express their grief, pain and suffering - and to do it, even in the midst of confusion and pain, in a peaceful, yet transformative way.

God also expects us, the whole community, to stand in solidarity with the sufferers, that is, with those who are on the margins, those who are vulnerable, those whose lives are in danger and to work tirelessly to eliminate the causes of their suffering.

As a community of faith called to see Jesus Christ in the persons of a multitude of sufferers, we commit to continue working to defend and promote the human dignity of all God's children; to work toward a most just society that addresses the systemic roots and heals the deep wounds of racism; and to ensure the safety and well-being of all so that our entire society can benefit from the unique gifts and talents each individual brings for the betterment of the whole.


That They May All Be One by Rev. Leo Almazan

Two people hold hands

Lord Jesus, as you were about to lay down your life for us, you prayed to the Father: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us…” (Jn. 17:21a) Today, as we are faced once again with the division and strife caused by the sin of racism, we join our voices to your voice, and we pray:  

That all of us be one: 

Black and white.  

Young and old. 

Near and far. 

That all of us feel as one: 

Loved, not feared. 

Safe, not insecure. 

Valued, not scorned. 

Uplifted, not beaten down. 

That all of us work as one: 

Not to tear down, but to build up. 

Not only to stop violence, but also to promote peace.  

Not only to restore order, but also to ensure justice. 

Not to favor few, but to defend the dignity and rights of all. 

May we all be one. 

May we all recognize each other as one family, as sons and daughters of God. 

May we be united, here on this earth, and may our bonds of charity and love lead us to the eternal life. Amen.  


Commencement Spotlight 

Congratulations, UIW Class of 2020 



UIW Celebrates Faculty

On Tuesday, June 2, 2020, UIW celebrated the accomplishments and contributions of the faculty of the University of the Incarnate Word through a Virtual Faculty Appreciation Watch Party, hosted by the Office of the Provost. The following faculty were recognized during the event. 

Promotion and Tenure Decisions

The following faculty were recognized for promotion in faculty rank and/or were granted tenure: 

Granted Tenure:

  • Dr. Paulo Carvalho, Feik School of Pharmacy 

Promotion to Associate Professor: 

  • Dr. Arunabh Bhattacharya, School of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Dr. Renee Rentería, School of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Dr. Brent Sanderlin, School of Osteopathic Medicine 

Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure: 

  • Dr. Lalon Alexander, School of Media and Design
  • Dr. Theresa Alexander, School of Media and Design
  • Dr. David Armstrong, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Dr. Tina Beck, Feik School of Pharmacy
  • Justin Bennett, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Dr. Okan Caglayan, School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering
  • Dr. Russell Coates, Rosenberg School of Optometry
  • Dr. Zenon Culverhouse, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Dr. Luella D'Amico, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Dr. Sandra Guzman Foster, Dreeben School of Education
  • Dr. Zazil Reyes Garcia, School of Media and Design
  • Dr. Timothy Griesdorn, H-E-B School of Business and Administration
  • Dr. Danielle Gunter, Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions
  • Dr. Jennifer Kish, School of Physical Therapy
  • Dr. Yutaka Maki, Rosenberg School of Optometry
  • Adam Mulder, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Dr. Shree Nair, School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering
  • Dr. Cynthia Purcell, Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions
  • Dr. Brett Richardson, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Dr. David Starkey, School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering
  • Dr. Matt Valdes, Rosenberg School of Optometry
  • James P. Waller, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 

Promotion to Full Professor: 

  • Dr. Lourdes Fortepiani, Rosenberg School of Optometry
  • Dr. Michael Frye, School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering
  • Dr. Stephanie Grote-Garcia, Dreeben School of Education
  • Dr. Rebecca Attridge, Feik School of Pharmacy
  • Dr. Scott Roberts, H-E-B School of Business and Administration
  • Dr. Alicia Rubio, H-E-B School of Business and Administration
  • Dr. Donald Sikazwe, Feik School of Pharmacy
  • Dr. Tanja Stampfl, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Dr. Sülleyman Tek, School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering
  • Dr. Kevin Vichcales, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Dr. Raghunandan Yendapally, Feik School of Pharmacy 

Promotion to Full Professor with Tenure: 

  • Dr. Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 

Sabbatical Approval

The following faculty were recognized for sabbatical leave, for the semester indicated, to continue their research:

  • Dr. Adrienne Ambrose, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Fall 2020
  • Dr. Lydia Andrade, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Spring 2021
  • Dr. Rosa Cárdenas, School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering, Spring 2021
  • Dr. Christopher Edelman, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Spring 2021
  • Dr. Neeta Singh, School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering, Spring 2021
  • Dr. Tanja Stampfl, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Spring 2021

Dr. Lopita Nath was recognized as the Edward Zlotkowski Faculty Service-Learning Award recipient for her commitment and service to the refugees in San Antonio.

Dr. Veronica Acosta was presented the President’s Teaching Award by Dr. Thomas Evans, president of UIW, to recognize her teaching and student engagement, both in and out of the classroom. Dr. Acosta was selected from 41 faculty nominations. 

Dr. Lila LaGrange was presented the Dr. Kathleen Light Outstanding Faculty Award by Dr. Thomas Evans, president of UIW, which recognizes faculty for their role of teacher as mentor, providing innovation in the classroom, and exhibiting teaching excellence, while showing personal concern for the student.

The faculty of UIW recognized Dr. Tanja Stampfl, from the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, as the Moody Professor for the 2020-2021 academic year. As the Moody Professor, Dr. Stampfl will provide the commencement address for the December 2020 commencement ceremony. She will also present two public lectures during the Spring 2021 semester based upon her research, one at UIW and one at Our Lady of the Lake University. 

Four faculty received the Provost’s Legacy in Teaching Award, presented by Dr. Barbara Aranda-Naranjo, provost, which recognizes faculty’s dedication to teaching and learning and joins faculty to the long legacy of teaching excellence that characterizes teaching at UIW.  Faculty recognized for the Provost’s Legacy in Teaching Award are: Dr. Laura Cannon, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; Dr. Brittanie Lockard, Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions; Dr. Brandon Metroka, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; and Dr. Christopher Pierce, School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering. 

Five faculty were granted faculty emerita status and will soon reach retirement bliss. These faculty are: Dr. Esmeralda De Los Santos, H-E-B School of Business and Administration; Dr. Letitia Harding, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; Dr. Sharon Herbers, Dreeben School of Education; Dr. Mary Beth Swofford, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; and Dr. Alison Whittemore, School of Mathematics, Science and Engineering. Best wishes for a long, healthy and happy retirement. 

We congratulate these faculty for their contributions to teaching and learning, to research in their respective disciplines, to their commitment to student engagement, and to their service to UIW. 


Dr. Trey Guinn Publishes Article in The Department Chair 

A headshot of Dr. Trey GuinnDr. Trey Guinn, Communication Arts assistant professor and program director, contributed a forthcoming article in The Department Chair titled "Maximize the moment: Chairpersons and the learning community in crisis."  

The article leads with, “We are in the midst of unprecedented times as chairpersons. Challenges of this magnitude demand that we learn and grow." Guinn identifies tools chairpersons can use during this global pandemic. 





Dr. Zazil Reyes Garcia Presents at the Western States Communication Association Convention 

A headshot of Dr. Zazil ReyesDr. Zazil Reyes Garcia, assistant professor of Communication Arts, presented her paper, “Intersections of agitation: The fight for justice for immigrants and women of color” at the annual Western States Communication Association Convention, held in Denver this semester.  

Her paper is part of larger research project, Podcasting Latinidad as a Crónica Rhetorical Narrative in Stories, Music, and Entrevistas that will be published next year with the Western Journal of Communication.   

Reyes recently received promotion to associate professor with tenure. 






Community Updates

The dignity, health and wellbeing of every member of the University of the Incarnate Word community remains an institutional priority at the heart of our Mission. In response to this pandemic, UIW has assembled a team that meets daily to ensure that every possible contingency to keep campus life moving forward is considered when making campus-wide decisions. UIW continues to work closely with local and state officials, is taking all precautions as directed by the CDC, and sharing preventative information and resources with the University community via email. As a community, we offer our prayers for all of those affected by COVID-19 and all those who care for them.


In the News

News 4: UIW athletes provide support to local school despite COVID-19 

A group of student athletes pose for a photo together 



Ettling Center Receives Grant

A woman sews a mask and mask patterns are laid out

The Ettling Center for Civic Leadership & Sustainability received a grant of $3,000 from the San Antonio Area Foundation to support the Masks for South Texas Initiative that is being led by the Center in association with the Fashion Design and Theatre Arts departments. As of June 1, over 1,300 masks have been distributed to immigrants along the South Texas border as well as to various areas throughout San Antonio. If you are interested in supporting this project, please contact the Ettling Center at or call (210) 832-3208 for more information.


Community News 

Swing-In Auction and Raffle

Swing-in online auction banner   

The 2020 Swing-In Auction Party, originally scheduled for Thursday, April 30, 2020 at the McCombs Center Rosenberg Sky Room, has been rescheduled! The auction is live now through Monday, June 15, 2020.  The Swing-In raffle winner will be announced on June 15, 2020 once the auction closes.

In addition, the Swing-In 2020 committee is partnering with Visitation House to provide support to their fundraising efforts. The online auction will feature some packages that will directly fund the Visitation House Transitional Housing and Education Programs, which provide the resources and support services to help homeless single mothers achieve self-sufficiency through education and employment that pays a living wage. All packages that will directly benefit the Visitation House will be marked with the organization’s logo.

We are grateful to the businesses and individuals who have donated auction items and continued their support through sponsorships. During the online auction you will have the opportunity to bid on unique experiences, gift cards, jewelry, vacations and more with all the proceeds benefiting the UIW Emergency Impact Fund, assisting our students in this time of great need. 

The auction will be live on Monday, June 1, 2020. Click here to find the virtual auction party. If you have any questions, please contact Ana Bribiesca Hoff at (210) 829-6075 or via email at

Swing-In Raffle

Swing-In raffle tickets are still available! Only 325 tickets will be sold! Buy your Swing-In raffle ticket for $100 and support UIW students’ education through the purchase of your ticket(s).

All proceeds will directly benefit the Scholarship Fund and provide UIW students with the opportunity to further their education at a faith-based institution. Winner will choose one of the following prizes:

  • $5,000 Credit balance on credit card 
  • Banff, Calgary and Lake Louise Trip
  • Tuscany Culinary Escape
  • Scotland Championship Golf Experience

Purchase your raffle tickets here.



  A man stands up in a vehicle holding a sign that says "UIWSOM Strong"

Faculty of the UIW School of Osteopathic Medicine gathered (while practicing social distancing) last week for a special parade in honor of their students! UIWSOM faculty drove with posters, signs and more from apartment complex to apartment complex near the school to wish their students well and cheer them on. Thank you, UIWSOM faculty!

UIWSOM students hold signs and smile


Graduating Nursing Students Receive Special Visit  

A nursing graduate poses for a photo in her front yard


In the week leading up to commencement, UIW Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions faculty and staff delivered gifts to graduating students. Students received yard signs and gift baskets with their nursing pins. Way to go, nursing grads! We can't wait to watch you change the world. 







Cardinal Corner

Jairo Cruces receives scholarship from Texas Business Hall of Fame

A headshot of Jairo CrucesEntrepreneur and MBA student Jairo Cruces has been selected by the Texas Business Hall of Fame as the recipient of the 2020 H-E-B Scholarship worth $15,000.

The  Texas Business Hall of Fame  recognizes the professional contributions of business leaders in the state and the impact they have on their communities. The organization also invests in students through its Future Legends Scholar Award Program, which awards scholarships to 36 college students throughout the state annually. The  H-E-B Scholarship  is presented to one UIW student each year.

Cruces, who is currently pursuing his  Master of Business Administration  with a concentration in Finance, earned his  BBA in Management  from the University of the Incarnate Word in 2017.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to receive this award. For me, it’s another milestone in my entrepreneurship journey,” Cruces said. “Being recognized by a prestigious group of individuals who recognize entrepreneurs who are trying to make a difference in the community and in Texas.”

Cruces is the owner and founder of  Cruces Cedar Clearing  in Ingram, Texas, near Kerrville. Established in 2018, his company works with businesses and landowners to help manage their properties through services like land clearing and tree trimming and removal. The company also repurposes cleared cedar trees in several ways, including using them as posts for fencing construction. Cruces hopes to use his new ties to the Texas Business Hall of Fame network to expand his business by securing funding to purchase machinery to produce and distribute mulch, which would ensure another use for the materials they clear from properties.

As a student at the H-E-B School of Business Administration, Cruces serves as the vice president of communication for the  Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization  (CEO) at UIW. The student-led organization meets regularly under the direction of faculty advisor Dr. Adesegun Oyedele to establish an entrepreneurial ecosystem at the University through mentor partnerships and startup business initiatives.

“As the advisor and coordinator of UIW’s Pitch Competition, I had the privilege to work with Jairo and a group of highly motivated individuals recruited by Jairo to develop a business idea. Jairo’s outstanding leadership allowed his team to reach the final stage of the Pitch Competition,” Oyedele said. “Jairo’s exceptional work ethic, organizational skills, analytical abilities and interpersonal communication skills distinguish him from his peers.”

In his role as Vice President of communication for CEO, Cruces works closely with other students to help them cultivate their business ideas into reality. He tells students to take in as much advice from their mentors and peers as they can.

“Continue to strive and not give up. I actually applied for this scholarship last year and I wasn't the winner at that time. It gave me a reason to keep on pushing and establish myself more,” Cruces said. “Because eventually their time will come, like it did for me.”

Cruces places an emphasis on building connections and genuine relationships with his clients and the communities in which his company operates. Already an entrepreneur, he is determined to continue growing his business and giving back to his community and University.

The Texas Business Hall of Fame hosts an induction ceremony each fall to honor new inductees. Among others, the inductees for 2020 include Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Randall Stephenson, the chairman and CEO of AT&T. Scholarship recipients are honored at a luncheon prior to the induction ceremony. Both events have been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Cardinals on the Frontlines: Mikaela Flores

Mikaela Flores holds a softball bat and prepares to swing

Dreams can be delayed, but with the right spirit, they may not be denied. For Mikaela Flores, a former student-athlete of the University of the Incarnate Word softball team, becoming a nurse was her dream, but getting there was not without its challenges.  

“I always knew I wanted to go into nursing,” said Flores. “When I went on my official visit, my coach had broken the news to me that it wasn’t possible to do nursing and have the athletic scholarship. 

“I was in this predicament of ‘you’ve played this sport your whole life and you’ve put so much into it’, and I had to let go of my plan and let God take over.” 

Flores went on to play four years for the Cardinals under then Head Coach Amanda Gamboa, starting in 2014 when the team was first transitioning into Division I as a member of the Southland Conference. All the while, she pursued a major in Biology, which she chose knowing it would contribute to her nursing degree in the future. 

Flores made an impact on the field during her first year as she earned third team all-Southland Conference honors as a utility player, hitting .400 at the plate while also serving as the team’s top pitcher for much of the season. Her efforts on the field were matched by her dedication in the classroom being named to the Southland Commissioner’s Honor Roll all four years and was an NFCA Scholar Athlete twice.  

“I needed to finish that chapter of my life before I started another one,” Flores said, reflecting on her athletic career. “You’ll never have a bond like you have with your teammates especially in college, you are together more hours in the day than with your own family.” 

Mikaela poses for a photo in her nursing scrubsFollowing graduation, Flores stayed in San Antonio to get her degree in Nursing at an accelerated program. Just a few years later, she now works at Midland Memorial Hospital in Midland, Texas, as a registered nurse in labor and delivery. She works with the pregnant women from the moment they get triaged to the post-partum process in helping stabilize the mothers and their babies. 

“People think labor and delivery is all good times and happy babies, but it is a very critical time,” Flores said. “You get to bring new life into this world, but it is about trying to be a helping hand during a vulnerable experience.” 

Like many medical professionals, her role has remained the same but now comes with heightened precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Once you become a medical professional, there is always a thought regarding cleanliness, however COVID-19 accelerated that,” Flores said. “We usually wear gloves and masks, but now we are having to wear them all the time. It is hard to wear a mask for 12 hours straight. You can’t even take of your mask at the nurses’ station, basically from the moment you set foot in the hospital you are required to wear a mask.” 

In her case, there is a heightened precaution in dealing with patients since they are delivering babies.  

“The scariest thing about it is people don’t realize that when pregnant women come in 10 cm dilated and they are ready to push out a baby, you don’t have time to ask them that list of 20 questions or if they have had symptoms or if they have been in close contact with someone with [COVID-19],” said Flores. “During the laboring process you are literally two feet from a woman’s face while she is pushing and breathing. And then the same goes for being in contact after with a newborn baby seconds after extrauterine life.” 

All while dealing with delicate lives during a pandemic, Flores reflects on her journey to becoming a nurse, while still being able to play at the Division I level.  

“It is going to be tough, but it is so worth it,” she said. “I go to my job every day and can honestly say that I love what I do, there is nothing like helping someone who can’t help themselves.” 


Alumni and Parent Relations

Face Masks 4 South Texas

A woman works at a sewing machine

The Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability is looking for volunteers to assist in their Masks 4 South Texas project! 

Each person that registers will be sent a sewing kit, which includes cotton fabric, flannel, nose bridges, elastics, mask patterns, and thread. Each volunteer is asked to sew 25 masks. Click here to register

If you are unable to assist by sewing masks, you can also make a donation of items needed on our Amazon wishlist! Thank you for your support, Cardinals!  



Cardinals Announce 2020 Cross Country Schedule

Cross country members run

The University of the Incarnate Word's cross country Head Coach Dr. Derek Riedel announced the 2020 men's and women's cross country schedule. 

"The cross country season cannot get here soon enough," said Riedel. "Our last time to compete was March 1. That's a five-month game so I know the team is eager to get back to doing what they do best and compete against other teams."   

"What better way to start back than to welcome UTSA, Texas State and UT-Rio Grande Valley to our UIW Opener under the lights."   

The season kicks off when the Cardinals host back-to-back meets in San Antonio, starting with the UIW Opener (Sept. 1, 2020), a twilight race, followed by the UIW Invitational (Sept. 12, 2020). 

Later in the month, the teams head to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for the Cowboy Jamboree (Sept. 26, 2020). The Cowboy Jamboree is hosted on Oklahoma State's cross country course, which will also which will also be home to the 2020 NCAA Championships on Nov. 21, 2020. 

UIW closes out the regular season at the Arturo Barrios Invitational (Oct. 17, 2020), hosted by Texas A&M. The Aggies are also set to host the NCAA South Central Regional (Nov. 13, 2020). 

The Cardinals travel to Hammond, Louisiana, for the Southland Conference cross country championships, hosted by Southeastern Louisiana, on Oct. 20, 2020. 

"I feel like we have a solid schedule that will allow us to compete against many of the conference and regional schools prior to the championship segment of the season," Riedel said. "I'm especially excited about the trip to pre-nationals at Oklahoma State. It's an historically good course and it's close enough to us where we don't have too long of a trip for a chance to compete against national-level competition." 


**The schedule is subject to change. UIW Athletics will continue monitoring the ongoing situation involving the COVID-19 pandemic and will follow the University's Emergency Response Team, Southland Conference, NCAA, and CDC guidelines and recommendations as they develop and change. We will continue to notify our Athletic community as information is updated.