President’s pasta pleases students

By Darlene Jasso


Professors, faculty, staff and even Dr. Louis J. Agnese Jr., president of the University of the Incarnate Word, served students at the annual President’s Spaghetti Dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

The elegant dinner doesn’t just come together with a blink of an eye though. Hours of preparation take place to present the well-attended event in McCombs Center Rosenberg Skyroom.

The day before the dinner, employees of the university gather in the cafeteria to roll meatballs and fold silverware in napkins. Altogether, they made more 2,500 meatballs to serve an estimated 1,000 people.

Mary Jinks, a UIW librarian, folded silverware in napkins along with Dr. Bill Carlton, kinesiology department chair. Jinks said she has been participating in the spaghetti dinner preparation more than 20 years.

“Sometimes I do the silverware and other times I roll the meatballs,” said Jinks. “Either way, I enjoy participating.”

Carlton joked about the hard work and effort it was for him to participate.

“We’ve been here for an entire 15 minutes — now that’s dedication,” Carlton said. He said he also enjoyed volunteering his time for the students. He said it is a way for the university to show its appreciation. “It’s all for the students,” he said.

What students needed to get in were their student IDs. Once they checked in, they waited in the long line to be seated.

The night was a special gift from the president and all the employees at UIW. With the restaurant-style setting, students were seated at the decorated circle tables, and went to the line to get served food.

Professors, faculty and staff were serving food, drinks and seating the students throughout the entire night.

Students attending the dinner for the first time were really impressed by how the night was presented.

“I didn’t expect it to be so classy and exclusive,” said Omar Amin, an international student from Austria. “It was really nice to see that so many people came. It was well- attended, and the food was really good. There was a three-course meal, a starter, a main course and a dessert. I was expecting for it to just be spaghetti.”

The plate included salad, cooked vegetables, sausage, and the president’s secret family recipe for penne pasta spaghetti and meatballs. After students finished their plates, UIW employee volunteers came around offering different varieties of desserts.

A live band including Jim Waller, a music professor, played classical jazz music, which gave the atmosphere more of a restaurant-style feel and some holiday classics.

Edwin Mendoza Hipp, a religious studies major and an international student from Guatemala, said his favorite part for the evening was the music.

“Actually one of the things I am really enjoying is this wonderful music,” Hipp said. “Right as soon as I got here, I just really loved the feel of the atmosphere.”

Mendoza and Amin said they really enjoyed seeing the president serving the students, saying it was “a very humble gesture.”


Amin said he saw his Arabic teacher serving students.

“It really goes to show how much the teachers care about the students,” Amin said. “It brings me closer to the teachers. It makes me feel that they care more about us than [the professors] would at other universities.”


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