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Water well repairs set for today, cafeteria will be closed

Repair work on the university water well will take place today, June 14, causing water outages in the buildings listed below. In addition, the cafeteria will be closed all day. Affected buildings:

Main Building

Moye Hall

Providence Hall

St. Ann’s

Griffith Fine Arts Building

Sculpture Studio


Thiry Auditorium

The repair work is expected to take at least half a day and could last the full day. Employees who work in these buildings will need to use restroom facilities in nearby buildings and obtain drinking water from other areas of campus or bring bottled water from home.

Men’s tennis announces signing of Gabrijel Kajic

OLLU men’s tennis team has signed Gabrijel Kajic from Zagreb, Croatia. He is an incoming freshman and will join the squad for the fall of 2021.

Kajic has played tennis since he was six years old and was in the top 20 under-12 national rankings in Croatia. He is graduating from high school at IX Gimnazija in June. The 5’9″ freshman currently plays in his home country’s third league and will be majoring in business at OLLU. His hobbies include watching movies and hanging out. Kajic’s role model is tennis star Roger Federer.

Head Coach Sal Castillo said, “I’m excited to have a fine student-athlete such as Gabrijel. I have had several conversations with him and I’m extremely impressed with his attitude and work ethic. I am looking forward to having him at OLLU.”

The Saints will begin their 14th season in 2021.

Women’s tennis adds Valerie Navarro-Cavazos to 2021-2022 squad

OLLU is honored to add Valerie Navarro-Cavazos to the 2021-2022 women’s tennis team. She is a native of San Antonio, where she attended Burbank High School.

Navarro-Cavazos awards and accomplishments include District 27-5A Champion – three years, Region IV-5A champion and UIL Class 5A silver medalist in singles. She became the first tennis player in her school’s history to advance to the UIL Class 5A state tournament and the first from San Antonio ISD to earn a medal at state since 1965. In addition, Navarro-Cavazos was named 2019 San Antonio Express-News Girl’s Tennis Player of the Year. She was featured in the March 2020 issue of Inside Tennis Magazine under the Women’s Open Singles division with a ranking of eighth and under the Women’s Doubles division with a ranking of fourth. Navarro-Cavazos has been a member of her school’s National Honor Society for three years.

The Saints women’s tennis team began competing again this year after the sport was suspended in 2015. The team plays its official season in the spring but will compete in a handful of tournaments in the fall.

Tommie Law joins men’s basketball squad

OLLU is proud to announce the addition of Tommie Law to the 2021-2022 men’s basketball squad. Law, a native of Semmes, Ala., will join the team in the fall of 2021.

The 6’3″ point guard is a graduate of Mary G. Montgomery High School. His stats include 18.4 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, 4.1 assists per game and 2.2 steals per game. He was named Area MVP, as well as All-State Third Team, All-Regional Second Team and All-County First Team.

Law plans to major in kinesiology at OLLU.

The men’s basketball team played an abbreviated schedule this past season due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Saints’ schedule consisted of mostly games against NCAA D1 schools, including those against the University of the Incarnate Word, the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley, the University of New Mexico, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the University of Texas at San Antonio, the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Houston and Rice University. The Saints defeated Texas State 61-58 and narrowly lost to Rice 77-80. The Saints will begin their 2021-2022 campaign in the winter.

President Melby announces retirement for July 2022

Under the leadership of President Diane Melby, EdD, OLLU has doubled annual fundraising, distributed more than $1 million in emergency aid to students, built an $18 million residence hall, expanded online programs and acquired land to build a $7 million Center for Children and Family.

When she assumed office in July 2015, Dr. Melby pledged to uphold and honor the charism of OLLU’s founders, the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence, while leading the university into a “new age.” Having fulfilled her pledge, Dr. Melby has announced that she will retire on July 15, 2022.

The announcement recalls a promise made upon her arrival. Dr. Melby said she would lead OLLU for six or seven years, retire and return to the family home in Virginia with her husband, David Melby. 

“In my 43-year career, I had often missed out on family time to attend to the needs of work,” Dr. Melby said. “I did so only because I had Dave. Not only did he tend to our children, he stepped up to help my siblings and parents whenever they needed support. I will be forever grateful to him for all the experiences that he was able to provide our girls, even when the responsibility of those experiences was solely his.” 

Before arriving at OLLU, Dr. Melby served as Vice President for Advancement at Shepherd University in West Virginia and Dean of the School of Continuing Education at Shenandoah University in Virginia. 

Since succeeding Sister Jane Ann Slater, CDP, PhD, as the ninth president of OLLU, Dr. Melby has provided strong leadership, even during difficult times. She has overseen growth in freshman enrollment and retention, a $5 million increase in the endowment and the construction of new facilities on campuses in Houston and the Rio Grande Valley. In spite of COVID-19, OLLU has avoided involuntary layoffs.  

“When I first spoke of the ‘new age’ six years ago, I did not foresee the pandemic nor the seismic shift that it portends,” Dr. Melby said. “It is said that biblically, seven is the number of completeness. While I cannot say that our work is finished, I can say that we are on the cusp of another advent. And that what we have accomplished provides the foundation for our future.”

Over the next 14 months, Dr. Melby will focus on fundraising, capital improvement projects and advancing on-going initiatives. She will support the Board of Trustees as OLLU transitions to a new president.

The Board will conduct an inclusive, national search for Dr. Melby’s successor. Trustee Steve O’Donnell and Vice President for Administration Rosalinda Garcia will lead a search committee representative of faculty, staff, students and Sisters of Divine Providence. A national consultant will guide the process.

“It is a great joy to serve the OLLU community,” Dr. Melby said. “I look forward to the 2021-2022 academic year and all that is on our agenda. So, no goodbyes yet. There is still work to be done!”

To read President Melby’s letter to the OLLU community, click here.

OLLU to host vaccine clinic

OLLU will host a vaccine clinic on June 3 in the University Wellness and Activities Center (Room 112) from 3:30-5:30 p.m. It is open to the university community, family members and area residents.

Below are key details:

• UT Health will provide either Johnson and Johnson or Pfizer vaccines. Those who receive vaccines must return on Saturday, June 26, between 3:30-5:30 p.m. for a second shot if Pfizer is selected.

• Photo identification is required. Those who have medical insurance are asked to bring their medical insurance card. This vaccine clinic does not require any out-of-pocket expense.  

Click here to sign up online by June 1, or scan the QR code below with your smart phone camera.

While OLLU is not requiring students, faculty and staff to receive the vaccine, it is strongly encouraged.

New guidelines for face coverings

With the new guidance on face coverings provided by the CDC, OLLU will no longer require face coverings in any outdoor spaces for individuals who are vaccinated. People who have not received the vaccine can go without a face covering outdoors if they are able to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet.

Everyone still must wear face coverings indoors in common spaces such as hallways, restrooms, etc. The university will phase out the use of face coverings for vaccinated individuals indoors as we develop a better understanding of vaccination rates on campus. The goal will be to phase out face coverings for vaccinated individuals by or before Sept. 1, 2021.

Anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a face covering should feel free to do so. In addition, those who have not been vaccinated should continue to wear a face covering when they cannot be isolated from others.

Three OLLU golfers selected to A.I.I. All-Conference Team

Even though the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) couldn’t award a men’s golf team champion this spring, league officials wanted to recognize players for their excellent spring performances – awarding all-conference and Champions of Character team honors.

All recognized players earned all-conference awards. The A.I.I. did not present any special awards, such as player of the year and coach of the year.

Receiving the All-Conference award from Our Lady of the Lake University was Diego Garcia and Kane Ybarra (SR/San Antonio, Texas). The Champions of Character honor went to Raul Gutierrez (JR/San Antonio, Texas).

Ybarra just completed competition at the NAIA National Championship Tournament, where he placed sixth among more than 150 players. He finished second at the A.I.I. Conference Tournament. He was the top medalist at the San Antonio Invitational, the San Antonio Shootout and the Greater San Antonio Men’s Championship.

Garcia placed 10th at A.I.I. Conference Tournament.

Zerina Shatri selected as RRAC Character Athlete of the Week

As part of the Red River Athletic Conference’s (RRAC) commitment to the NAIA Champions of Character program, the conference recognizes student-athletes from member schools who have exhibited a high level of scholarship, sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and community service. Each week, student-athletes are selected as RRAC Character Athletes of the Week based on character and commitment to their schools and communities. Zerina Shatri of Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) is the fourth student-athlete to be recognized for the 2020-2021 academic year.

RRAC Character Athlete of the Week

Zerina Shatri, Our Lady of the Lake University
Year: Senior
Hometown: Istog, Kosovo
Major: Kinesiology
GPA: 3.75
Champions of Character Qualities/Activities:

  • Volunteered at the Ides Partnership to help Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian minorities
  • Assisted a physical therapist with children to gain experience
  • Cleans Badovc Lake in her hometown with other volunteers and sisters
  • Coaches youth basketball players along with her uncle and shares her playing experience
  • Joined the OLLU team in spending time with residents at Kindred Hospice
  • Volunteereed for the San Antonio Food Bank to support senior citizens
  • Cooked for families at the San Antonio Ronald McDonald House
  • Cleaned facilities inside her church as a volunteer for the Sisters of the Divine Providence
  • Contributed time to help with the Embassy Basketball Camp last year at OLLU
  • Donated time to the OLLU Sport and Leadership Academy
  • Assisted an OLLU professor in conducting the FIT KIDS GAMES event
  • Took academic and athletic responsibilities seriously
  • Fulfilled her role on the team with humility and respect

Future Plans: Shatri’s goal is to be a successful physical therapist. She would like to stay in the U.S. and pursue her master’s degree to become an athletic trainer. She plans to get experience either in physical therapy or as an athletic trainer so she can share her knowledge and experience with others in Kosovo.

Coach’s Perspective: (OLLU Women’s Basketball Head Coach Stacy Stephens) “Zerina is a very intelligent, funny and hard-working young woman. She graduated in May 2021. She was on the Dean’s List almost every semester here and was the starting center for the 2020-2021 women’s basketball team. She loves to sight see and embrace different cultures. She is always willing to help others and watching her grow and mature into the amazing young woman she is has been a highlight in my coaching career.”  

MSW program ranked among Top 50 in U.S.

Intelligent.com, a resource for online degree rankings and higher education planning, has ranked OLLU’s Master of Social Work program No. 46 in its Top 50 ranking for 2021.

Intelligent.com also cited OLLU as the “Best Catholic Institution” for students seeking a master’s degree in social work.

More than 180 accredited programs were analyzed. Intelligent.com based its Top 50 ranking on a unique scoring system, which included student engagement, the potential return on investment and leading third-party evaluations.

In January, College Consensus, a new college review aggregator, ranked OLLU’s online PhD program in Social Work as the 19th best in the U.S.

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