Cardinals chow down at holiday feast

By John F. Barton


Several hundred University of the Incarnate Word students sat down to eat Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the Cardinal Holiday Feast.

The acting president, Dr. Denise Doyle, along with UIW administrators, faculty and staff served the meal and waited tables for three hours in McCombs Center Rosenberg Skyroom.

Formerly known as the President’s Spaghetti Dinner, the Holiday Feast is celebrating 31 years of tradition. UIW’s former president, Dr. Louis J. Agnese Jr., started the feast in 1985 when he first became president as a way to say thanks to the students of then-Incarnate Word College.

Agnese would use a secret family recipe – handed down from generation to generation for at least 150 years — for the meatballs. Administrators, faculty and staff rolled meatballs for the meal the day before.

While the name of the meal may be different, Doyle has continued the tradition for this year’s feast which consisted of penne noodles with a marinara sauce and meatballs. Along with the pasta, students had salad, grilled vegetables, and a pesto sauce for those who did not care for the meaty marinara. For dessert, there was a choice of holiday favorites: cookies, cakes and pies.

As students were led into the Skyroom and seated by members of the Student Success Department, a live band led by faculty member Jim Waller played jazzy versions of some holiday songs. The trio was set up at the left-hand side of the Skyroom with the San Antonio skyline as the backdrop.

“I would say I loved everything, the spaghetti and dessert but my favorite part was the music, it really brought out the fun of this event,” sophomore communication arts major Bianca Jimenez said.

The servers wore festive garb and smiling faces. Most of them had seasonal headwear: antlers or Santa hats. Some could even be seen dancing as the music played and the students made their way through the lines. When the students would return to the tables, the special servers – many of them who had students in their classes — greeted them again.

Dr. Lisa McNary, director of alumni and parent relations, recollected her time as a student at UIW when the annual event first started and it was held in the old Marian Hall Ballroom, the site of which is now the Student Engagement Center under construction. Now she has grown very fond of the event since participating on the other side.

“My favorite part is engaging with the students and giving back to them,” McNary said.

Mercedes Moreno, assistant director of alumni and parent relations, is another UIW graduate who enjoys her participation in the meal as a staffer.

Asked what her favorite part about the dinner, Moreno said: “Seeing where [she] used to be and seeing how UIW helps [students] grow into [their] future self.”



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