By Stephen M. Sanchez
LOGOS NEWS EDITOR
The University of the Incarnate Word community will be polled to get its views on the state’s new law allowing concealed guns on campus but UIW will likely opt out, the president said.
Dr. Louis J. Agnese Jr., who’s been president 30 years, shared this with those who attended his annual “State of the University” address on Oct. 6 at CHRISTUS Heritage Hall.
Agnese also gave a mostly upbeat report on the university’s growth in his “Looking Ahead to 2020” PowerPoint presentation, pointing out how UIW has grown from 1,300 students and a budget of $8 million when he first became president in 1985 to its 11,000 students globally and budget in the hundreds of millions today.
He’s seen a small college morph into the fourth-largest private school in the state and the largest Catholic institution in the state. UIW currently has 10 campuses in San Antonio, one in Corpus Christi, and another in Killeen. The university also contracts with 144 sister schools overseas in its Study Abroad program. More than 80 majors are offered including bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. UIW also has professional schools in pharmacy, optometry and physical therapy with a School of Osteopathic Medicine set to open in fall 2017 at Brooks City Base. UIW students also receive more than $150 million annually in financial aid.
Agnese announced plans to build a new off-campus residence hall and parking garage by 2018 to accommodate expected growth. The 11 residence halls currently used by UIW have been filled to their capacity causing the university to partner with a hotel off-campus to accommodate overflow students.
Softball and baseball fields are also expected to get a facelift in 2017, Agnese said. An indoor sports facility will be built and the Richard and Jane Cervera Wellness Center will be upgraded to a six-story building the following year. The new wellness center will have two floors dedicated to athletics and the remaining four floors will house science and engineering labs, he said.
The Student Engagement Center, which will replace the recently demolished Marian Hall Student Center, will be complete by 2017. The new 140,000-square-foot center will feature administrative offices, including those for University Events and Student Programs, Campus Life, the post office, print shop, bookstore, the Help Desk, and a new dining facility. The offices of Career Services, Health Services, and Veterans Affairs also will be in the building, as will an 800-seat multipurpose ballroom, and eight multipurpose rooms, each seating 30 to 40.
Agnese also announced San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor will begin teaching at the university next year. Taylor, the first African-American to be elected mayor of San Antonio, currently teaches public policy at the University of Texas-San Antonio.
Touting UIW’s diversity, Agnese said nearly 28 percent of students attending the university are international students, and UIW is No. 1 in the number of Hispanic students receiving degrees.
“UIW is the only university in Texas that looks like Texas today,” Agnese said.