Category Archives: News

CMASR acquires new collection from late Chicana poet, activist

The Center for Mexican American Studies and Research has acquired a collection of papers from Angela de Hoyos, the late Chicana poet, artist, songwriter and activist. 

Her body of work featured feminism, gender and Chicana philosophy as prominent themes. De Hoyos wrote Spanish language song lyrics in the 1950s and poetry and essays in the 1960s and 1970s when she emerged as a prominent voice in the Chicano movement.

She also produced drawings and other artistic motifs that included flowers and nature, buildings in the Spanish architectural style, sculptures and family portraits. De Hoyos enjoyed an international reach, as several of her works were translated and published in South America and Europe. The poet and author Raúl R. Salinas referred to her as the “spiritual den mother of Chicano letters.” 

In 2021, her husband Moises Sandoval donated materials related to her career to the CMASR Special Collections at OLLU. The Angela de Hoyos papers consist of approximately five linear feet of printed and digitally scanned documents, audio and video saved to CD and DVD, spanning her career from the 1940s through the 2000s.

Included in the collection are original poetry, books, instructional pamphlets, royalty statements and various publications in which she was featured. The digital files contain photos of her paintings, sculptures and block prints, dresses and pottery. 

The finding aid to the Angela de Hoyos papers is published under the Our Lady of the Lake University Library webpage for the Center for Mexican American Studies and Research. 

The papers are accessible in person by appointment at the Special Collections for the CMASR, located in the Our Lady of the Lake Convent, room 112. Through the summer, the archive is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Contact archivist Joseph De León at

Dr. Montoya and former student create business app

Jared Montoya, PhD, Professor of Leadership Studies, and former student David Hill (MS 2013, PhD 2019) have created an app to help businesses – “WeGood?” – which is available in the Apple Store.

“The overall goal of the app is to help organizations to engage and retain their employees,” said Dr. Montoya, Leadership Studies Program Chair. “The initial testing will be for food service, healthcare, retail and manufacturing, but I imagine that educational institutions will also be considered in the future.”

Dr. Montoya served as the dissertation chair for Dr. Hill in the Leadership Studies program. As a student, Dr. Hill developed a leadership theory and an assessment tool. After earning his PhD, Dr. Hill reached out to Dr. Montoya to explore how his research could be applied to organizations. From that outreach, the two men formed a partnership and launched a company, “High Quality Leadership,” in 2020, 

“The more we researched, the more we realized that employee engagement, especially frontline employees, is a major challenge for most organizations,” Dr. Montoya said. “This led to the initial ideas and development of the app, which is based on David’s leadership theory.”

Dr. Montoya and the former student designed the app while meeting at a local coffee shop. 

“This experience,” Dr. Montoya said, “is evidence of the tremendous opportunities that exist for graduates from OLLU’s School of Business and Leadership.” 

Payroll update

The Payroll Department is updating some information within the payroll system this week. As a result, employees paid on the June monthly payroll only may see their direct deposit in their bank account a few days earlier than the published pay date of June 30.  This will vary based upon each banking institution’s processes and may not occur with all monthly paid employees. 

Graduate student recognized as #BigShotOnCampus

Ana Hinojosa, a second-year graduate student in Counseling, has been recognized as a #BigShotOnCampus through the American Health Association CoVac Initiative for her efforts in increasing vaccine confidence and combating misinformation. 

Hinojosa took the lead with her fellow peer educators and coordinated a 13-week, weekly myth-busting question-and-answer survey and corresponding table events. She also coordinated and ran mobile vaccination sites. 

As a five-year member of the Health Education Resource Office, she plays a critical role in the day-to-day success of continued education efforts in regard to COVID-19 and vaccination efforts. 

Hinojosa is a work-study in the Health Education Resource Office, which is now part of the Wellness Center.

New campus recreation opportunities

As a follow-up to the June step challenge, Campus Recreation is excited to announce new recreation offerings starting this week for staff and faculty. Yoga will be offered for just one class, but volleyball and pickleball will be offered through July 29.

“Drop-in” volleyball will be held in the UWAC gym on Wednesdays from 5-6 p.m. “Drop-in” pickleball will be held on the OLLU tennis courts on Thursdays from 5-6 p.m. Yoga will be held on Tuesday in UWAC 112 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. 

“Drop-in” simply means those interested show up and play. All skill levels are welcome, even if one has never played. Teams will be formed as people show up.

For more information, contact Kyle Belback at or call 210-434-6711, ext. 6710.

In the News

Recent media coverage that brought attention to OLLU:

On June 26, a story in The Columbian about combating homelessness written by OLLU MSW student Cecilia Engleman:

On June 23, a story in the San Antonio Business Journal about alumnus and former OLLU Vice President Dan Yoxall:

On June 21, a story in the San Antonio Business Journal about OLLU professor Jared Montoya and alumnus David Hill and the launch of their new app:

On June 20, a story in USEducation about alumna Asia Ciaravino becoming CEO of The Children’s Shelter: 

Harrison Watts named Faculty Athletics Representative

The Athletics Department has announced that Professor J. Harrison Watts, PhD, will be the new Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR). Dr. Watts takes over the position from Stefanie Becerril, who had been the FAR since August 2019.

Athletic Director Shane Hurley commented, “We have always taken academics seriously, and that is evident in being recognized with the conference’s Top GPA award. I am confident that Harris will continue to ensure our student-athletes are accomplishing their academic goals. He will ensure everyone is compliant with the NAIA in all aspects. We thank Stefanie for her service over the last four years, and we are excited to add Harrison to our team.”

As a member of the NAIA, OLLU is bound by eligibility standards. These rules exist for the common good of all participants, and Dr. Watts will ensure OLLU’s student-athletes abide by these standards. Athletes failing to comply with expected standards will face institutional sanctions, which may affect their eligibility to participate in the athletic program.

Student-athletes are responsible for upholding and maintaining personal eligibility status. However, coaches, the athletic director, assistant athletic director, and Dr. Watts will be available to assist students in better understanding and complying with NAIA requirements.

For a student to be eligible for any NAIA-recognized intercollegiate competition at OLLU, Dr. Watts will ensure that the student conforms to the following regulations:

An entering freshman student must graduate from an accredited high school or be accepted as a regular student in good standing as defined by the enrolling institution.

An entering freshman student must meet two of the three entry-level requirements:

  1. A minimum score of 18 on the Enhanced ACT or 860 on the SAT (for tests taken on or after April 1, 1995); 
  2. An overall high school grade point average of 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale;
  3. Graduate in the upper half of the student’s high school graduating class.

The class rank must appear on the student’s transcript, leaving certificate or another academic document. If the student’s class rank does not appear on the documents mentioned above, a letter from the student’s principal or headmaster, written on the school’s letterhead and with the school’s official seal, stating that the student meets the class rank requirement can be accepted.

Watts commented, “I’m excited to be a part of the athletics team as the Faculty Athletics Representative. I plan to mentor our student-athletes to see the big picture academically and find their career calling. This requires that I get to know each of our student-athletes and direct them along the right path.”

Dr. Watts began his formal education at a community college, earning an Associate of Applied Sciences in Agriculture from Vernon College. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Applied Sciences and a Master of Arts in Political Science from MSU-Texas. He also earned a Master of Arts in History and Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University. Dr. Wats received a Master of Business Administration from the University of the Southwest in Hobbs, N.M., and a Master of Science in Human Resources Management from Golden Gate University. He attended law school at Regent University, earning a Master of Arts in Law, specializing in Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Texas A&M University School of Law, earning the Master of Jurisprudence with a specialization in Business Law and Compliance. Finally, he earned the Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration with a specialization in Criminal Justice from Northcentral University.

Dr. Watts has been a full-time faculty member since 1998, working at Vernon College, Cameron University, Washburn University and Our Lady of the Lake University, where he has been since 2014. Dr. Watts is a tenured full professor who teaches out of the Department of Applied Social and Cultural Sciences (Criminology and Criminal Justice) and the Department of Business (Business Law and Management).

Dr. Watts is a veteran of the United States Army and currently serves in the Texas State Guard. He played varsity football and ran track at Arlington Martin High School in Texas. His oldest daughter, Whitney, is an assistant cheer and dance coach at OLLU. His youngest daughter, Mariah, is a two-sport student-athlete at OLLU running track and cheerleading. Additionally, he has an up-and-coming son, Jase, who is competing in Pony League baseball and hopes to become a future Saint. 

Isaac Martinez selected to the Academic All-America Team

OLLU’s Isaac Martinez has been selected to the 2022 Academic All-America® men’s track and field/cross-country team as a second-team selectee by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). CoSIDA members, such as OLLU’s 15-year member Patricia Constantin, submit nominees for consideration. The organization boasts more than 3,000 members, and all are eligible to vote for all sports teams each year.

Martinez led the cross-country team to its seventh Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) title and a seventh trip to the NAIA National Championships in Vancouver, Wash. He earned All-Conference honors after finishing fifth in a slate of 37 runners in the 8000m with a time of 26:13. OLLU hosted the meet at the Windcrest Golf Club in nearby Windcrest, Texas.

Martinez is a senior from Weslaco, Texas, and a graduate of Weslaco High School. At the RRAC Track and Field Championships in April, Martinez won the 5000m with a time of 16:45.00 and the 10,000m with a time of 34:52.52. Martinez earned a 4.0 GPA this past academic year and has a 3.92 cumulative GPA.

Martinez is slated to complete his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance in August.

The NAIA Academic All-America® program is financially supported by the NAIA national governance structure to assist CoSIDA with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2021-2022 NAIA Academic All-America® program. For more information regarding the Academic All-America® program, visit

Chris Burks is new assistant coach for women’s basketball

OLLU announced the hiring of new women’s basketball Assistant Coach Chris Burks. He comes to OLLU after a two-year stint as a graduate assistant for the University of Jamestown women’s basketball team.

Head Coach Tanya Ray commented, “I am thrilled to have Chris join us here at OLLU. Those who have worked with Chris in the past all talked about his passion for coaching, his strong work ethic and the energy he brought on a daily basis. Those qualities will be a welcomed addition as we try to continue to build on the foundation of success that has been laid here. His experience at both the NCAA and NAIA levels will be a huge benefit for our program, and I am excited to have him on board to start this journey. “

Burks became a graduate assistant at Jamestown, an NAIA school in North Dakota, in July 2020. While there, the team posted a 15-11 overall record and 12-10 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) in 2020-2021, finishing as quarterfinalists in the postseason. The team posted an overall 18-13 record in 2021-2022 and 11-11 in the conference. They closed out their season as quarterfinalists in the conference tournament.

His duties at Jamestown included signing 28 student-athletes and contributing to the development of the teams’ academic success. He spearheaded the team fundraising program, which garnered more than $60,000. He raised funds through the E-Team sponsor, AAU tournaments, and high school basketball season games. Burks was also the team’s Adidas rep and was responsible for creating and marketing all Jamestown social media accounts. His other contributions at Jamestown include: developing and organizing the junior varsity game schedule, team travel plans for away games, creating and leading multiple community service projects, leading the team’s summer camps, managing and executing game film breakdowns using Synergy and successfully leading the junior varsity team as head coach.

Before Jamestown, Burks was the assistant coach at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kan., for three years. Duties and highlights at Southwestern, also an NAIA university, included recruiting, growing the win percentage by 25 percent, developing and leading analytic meetings using PER and Lineup Efficiency to provide evidence to game management decisions and player evaluations, leading skill workouts, directing all aspects of scouting, creating team bonding exercises, organizing and conducting strength and conditioning program, organizing class and campus work schedules.

Burks spent one year as an assistant coach at NCAA D3 Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas. During his time there, he helped guide the Mountaineers to winning seven of their last 11 games to qualify for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) championship tournament. After eliminating Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas) in the first round, the team fell to Trinity University (San Antonio) to end their season. Burks managed all aspects of recruiting at Schreiner, directed defensive team strategies, led warmups before practices and games, demonstrated bench management during games to provide feedback to players and keep players mentally engaged and mentored and led post players during practices to increase skill development.

Burks collegiate playing career included seasons with NCAA Division I Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Ala., and NAIA Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas, before finishing at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. While at UMHB in Belton, Burks was part of the team’s national championship run and helped the team to a 27-6 record and a No. 2 ranking in the final NCAA Division II national poll.

“Most of all, I am ecstatic to join the OLLU family,” Burks said. “This is a great opportunity to continue my coaching journey with an amazing historic women’s basketball program. I am looking forward to joining Tanya Ray in leading the women’s basketball program. San Antonio is a special place to be, and this program is already running with success. It is a great time to jump right in with this current roster, build relationships and maintain this program’s success.”

A native of Dallas, Burks earned a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management with a minor in marketing at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. He received a Master of Science in Leadership at Jamestown.

OLLU honors President Melby with retirement celebration

Our Lady of the Lake University honored President Diane Melby, EdD, with a festive retirement celebration on Thursday at the Whitley Theological Center. The event drew more than 100 guests for an evening of food, toasts, laughter, tears and memories.

Since Dr. Melby arrived in 2015, OLLU has flourished, advancing the Mission of the Sisters of Divine Providence and expanding its impact and reach across the U.S. and beyond.

New facilities for campuses in Houston and the Rio Grande Valley have opened. The Slater Apartments stand as the newest residence hall on the San Antonio campus. And a $55 million comprehensive campaign – the largest in OLLU history – is nearly complete.

“It has been an honor to serve OLLU for the past seven years,” said Dr. Melby, who will retire next month. “I look forward to watching the university’s continued growth and emergence as a national leader in higher education. We are moving into a new era, and Dr. Abél Chavez is the right person to lead OLLU forward.”  

Abél Chavez, PhD, will succeed Dr. Melby as OLLU’s 10th president on July 18. He attended the celebration, along with such distinguished guests as philanthropists Rubén Escobedo and Verónica Salazar-Escobedo (BA 1965). 

Led by Mistress of Ceremonies and OLLU Trustee Lorena G. Gonzalez, PhD, an alumna (BA 1989, PhD 2005), the celebration featured music from Mariachis and a poignant tribute video.  

Sister Pearl Ceasar, CDP, Superior General of the Congregation of Divine Providence, Gloria Urrabazo, Vice President of Mission and Ministry, and trustee George Person, shared warm reflections. 

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