Category Archives: News

MA in Communication Sciences and Disorders completes reaffirmation of accreditation with flying colors  

OLLU’s master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders has received reaffirmation of accreditation from the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). The program was found compliant in all areas and requires no follow-up. The accreditation period runs through April 30, 2030. 

The program is part of OLLU’s Woolfolk School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, home to university’s nationally recognized programs in speech-language pathology. OLLU established the first program in communication disorders in South Texas more than 60 years ago and was the first institution in the state to combine professional training with clinical service with through the Harry Jersig Speech-Language-Hearing Center. 

President Chávez joins Excelencia’s Presidents for Latino Student Success 

President Abel A. Chávez officially joined the President’s for Latino Student Success (P4LSS) during a special event held Friday in the Sueltenfuss Library. P4LSS is a diverse group of more than 130 leaders in postsecondary education who have committed to making their institutions learning environments where Latino students can thrive. The group was created and is sponsored by Excelencia in Education informs, organizes and compels changes to advance Latino student success in higher education.  

P4LSS is a group of college and university presidents from throughout the U.S. who are dedicated to ensuring that Latino students thrive in the higher education environment. The group was created by Excelencia In Education, an organization that accelerates Latino student success in higher education by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, and advancing institutional practices while collaborating with those committed and ready to meet the mission.  

Excelencia’s President Sarita Brown welcomed Dr. Chávez into P4LSS along with current members Cynthia Teniente-Matson, President of Texas A&M University at San Antonio, and Taylor Eighmy, President of the University of Texas at San Antonio. Other prominent leaders attending the event were Henry Cisneros, former U.S. Housing Secretary; Francisco Solis, Jr., President of San Antonio College; Robert Gomez, President of Palo Alto College; Adriana Rocha Garcia, City Councilwoman, District 2, and OLLU professor; Phyllis Viagran, City Councilwoman, District 3; Fernando Godinez, President and CEO of the Mexican American Unity Council; Jeanette Morales, Executive Director of Student and PK-12 Services for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; and Kimberly Espy, Provost and Senior Vice President at the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

L-R: Cynthia Teniente-Matson, President of Texas A&M University at San Antonio; Taylor Eighmy, President of the University of Texas at San Antonio; Abel A. Chávez, President of OLLU.

Suicide prevention hotline is now 988

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline changed its standard 10-digit phone number to a three-digit hotline – 988 – that will take calls directly to a counselor. 

Made up of a national network of local crisis centers that provide free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, the lifeline hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the United States. 

Please help spread the word about this change wherever possible, both in departments and in the community. 

RGV Campus staff celebrate Summer Step Challenge win 

Staff members on the OLLU-RGV campus are celebrating their win in the “Let’s Move” Summer Step Challenge. They received gift cards and OLLU swag for being the team that took the most steps during the month-long challenge which involved all three OLLU campuses. 

Over 30 days, participants in the challenge completed 35,077,840 steps, exceeding the goal of 30 million. The Top Walker was Cynthia Olvera from Team Aguilar on the RGV campus. Team Aguilar also recorded the most steps of all 12 teams. The challenge was fun, healthy, inspiring and helped bring people together from different campuses.  

Pictured from left to right: Eduardo Marquez, Corporal Travis Stukes, Cindy Olvera, Rosa Arce, Victoria Aguilar 

U.S. Department of Education makes temporary changes to Public Service Loan Forgiveness  

The U.S. Department of Education announced a temporary period during which student loan borrowers may receive credit for payments that previously did not qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). It is important for borrowers to act soon as the temporary changes will expire on Oct. 31, 2022. The following links may be helpful for borrowers to determine whether the changes affect them. OLLU employees may qualify for this program.

Staff employees have until Aug. 9 to submit benefit enrollment changes

Staff employees have until Aug. 9 to make changes to benefits plans/coverage. To make changes/updates,  

  • Log into the myOLLU portal 
  • Select Self Service/Employees/Benefits 
  • Complete each section until you see a check mark on each icon on left of screen 
  • To complete enrollment, click Review and Submit 
  • Once you see, “Thank you for completing your open enrollment elections,” you are done. 

Faculty employees open enrollment starts Aug.10 and closes Aug. 23. 

Abel Chávez assumes role as OLLU’s 10th President today

Abel A. Chávez, PhD, steps into history today as the 10th President of Our Lady of the Lake University. A native of Denver, Colo., Dr. Chávez is the first Latino to lead OLLU since it opened in 1896 as an academy for girls.

On Thursday, July 14, OLLU recognized a transition in leadership during a ceremony in Sacred Heart Chapel. Dr. Chávez received authority and responsibilities from Diane E. Melby, EdD, OLLU’s 9th President and now President emeritus.

A first-generation, first-in-family, son of immigrants and bilingual administrator and academic, Dr. Chávez is an integrative leader and learner. He has served in multiple roles in and beyond higher education. 

Last Thursday, Dr. Chávez thanked the OLLU community for the opportunity to lead. Afterward, he visited the Convent and attended a farewell reception for Dr. Melby in Chapel Auditorium. 

Dr. Chávez will take a consolidated tour of campus this morning. Marketing and Communications will post images on social media.

OLLU community invited to reception for President Chávez on July 29

Students, faculty and staff are invited to a program and reception welcoming OLLU President Abel Chávez into the Presidents for Latino Success Network, an event that will be held in the Sueltenfuss Library on July 29 at 3 p.m.

Co-hosted by Cynthia Teniente-Matson, President of Texas A&M-San Antonio, Sarita E. Brown, President of Excelencia in Education and Taylor Eighmie, President of the University of Texas at San Antonio, the two-hour event is a celebration.

Dr. Chávez has chosen to join Presidents for Latino Student Success (P4LSS), a diverse group of college and university presidents and chancellors who have committed to making their schools learning environments where Latinos can thrive. 

To RSVP to the event, click here. 

For questions, contact

Cindy Mata-Vasquez named new director for OLLU-RGV

Cindy Mata-Vasquez, a Rio Grande Valley resident with 15 years of experience in higher education, has been named the new director of the OLLU-RGV campus.

Mata-Vasquez most recently served as Director for Student Activities at the University of Texas-RGV for the past seven years. She begins her new position on July 20.

“I am looking forward to highlighting the programs and services the university and satellite campus have to offer to residents of the Rio Grande Valley,” Mata-Vasquez said. “Having grown up in the area, it excites me to be able to provide additional avenues for folks to have options to continue their education and give back, right here in the region.” 

The oldest of three siblings, Mata-Vasquez moved from Queretaro, Mexico, to the Rio Grande Valley with her family at the age of six. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Texas-Pan American (now UT-RGV) in 2004, a Master of Arts in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005 and an MBA from UT-RGV in 2020.  

Prior to working at UT-RGV, Mata-Vasquez served as Director of Special Programs at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen. She is eager to assume her new position.

“One of my first goals is to work closely with the RGV team and find out how my role can help support them and their professional goals,” she said. “I am also looking forward to connecting with local chambers of commerce and city leaders to find out how OLLU can be visible in their communities. Communication and visibility will be key to accomplish these goals as well as creating partnerships with each entity.”

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