As another academic year comes to a close, the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) would like to extend a warm farewell and thank you to several long-time members of the UIW community who collectively hold over 200 years of service to the university.
George Burnette, emeritus director of technical theatre, joined the university in 1979 as an actor with then Incarnate Word College’s resident theatre company. Performances were produced in the Fine Arts Building’s basement during that time and no one was overseeing the technical direction of productions. Burnette decided to assume responsibility of technical direction among his many other duties. As the program moved into the Coates, Downstage II, and Halligan-Ronald Ibbs theatre facilities, the demands of technical support grew. Throughout his career, Burnette has run the box office, designed scenery and lights, directed shows, built props and, of course, acted. He retired on May 31, 2014 as the technical director of UIW’s theatre department. He hopes to continue acting and occasionally serve as a scenic designer.
Debbie Bussineau-King, emerita professor of music, came to UIW in 1980. She studied voice with Leona Witter, earned a BM from Michigan State University, studied voice, opera performance and staging at the University of Texas at Austin, and earned an MM from Southwest Texas State University. Bussineau-King has sung major oratorio and operatic roles with the Lansing Symphony, The Austin Symphony, The Chatauqua, New York Opera Association, and the San Antonio Symphony, among others. She represented UIW in Taiwan in 1996 and 1998 where she sang in Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Tainan. In 2008, Bussineau-King was elected president of the South Texas Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, which she was a founding member. She served as chair of the music department from 1993-1999.
Dr. Jessica Kimmel, emerita professor of education, has served as a faculty member since 1990. Kimmel first came to Incarnate Word College in 1980 to study for Texas Teacher Certification. She earned a BA in English and history and MA in English from Trinity University. Kimmel received her doctorate from Texas A&M in education specializing in adult education. She has taught composition and rhetoric at Trinity, San Antonio College (SAC) and Texas A&M. While at UIW, she has taught all manner of courses in education, served as director of teacher education, revitalized the adult education program with innovative courses and schedules, and taught in the doctoral program. Specializing in women’s studies, Kimmel served as a delegate to the United Nations’ Executive Board of the World Congress in 2013 and 2014.
Dr. Sara Kolb, emerita professor of nursing, joined the university in 1986 in a joint appointment with Santa Rosa Medical Center and assumed a full-time faculty position in the Incarnate Word School of Nursing in 1987. She holds a BS in nursing from the University of Arizona, an MS from Boston University, and a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Texas at Austin. At UIW, Kolb has served as BSN curriculum chair and the MSN program chair. She developed the MSN nursing concentration curricula for education and administrations and coordinated the National League of Nursing Self-Studies. She has served several roles in the Ministerio de Salud project, providing primary and secondary care health services to the underserved elderly using a Parish Nurse Model. Kolb was selected as Moody Professor in 2006-2007 and has received many accolades throughout her career. She plans to remain in San Antonio after retiring this spring and hopes to still teach special topics courses at UIW.
Dr. Mary Elaine Jones, emerita professor of nursing, graduated from Incarnate Word College in 1963. After retiring from the University of Texas at Arlington School of Nursing, she was appointed to the Brig. Gen. Lillian Dunlap Endowment Professorial Chair in Nursing at UIW in the fall of 2002. Soon after arriving at the university, Jones led a Nursing Research Team that established a program addressing cardiovascular risk. Her other areas of research included a qualitative investigation of management of stress among retired military nurses active duty during a war and managing interpersonal conflict in the workplace among nursing students and other disciplines. UIW’s annual Red Dress Fashion Show and Health Fair is an outgrowth of the Nursing Research Team as well as the Dunlap Chair, a campus-wide funded initiative through the National Institutes of Health to create an Office of Research Development at UIW and recently a three year demonstration project in interprofessional education and collaborative practice on San Antonio’s Eastside.
Sr. Sally Mitchell, OSF, religious studies faculty for UIW Online, entered her Franciscan community after high school where her three-year novitiate training afforded her two years of college, which allowed her to teach as she earned her degree. Mitchell taught high school history and education while working toward her master’s degree from the University of Iowa. She began teaching speech and theatre at the university level after earning her degree. After seven years of technical and direction work, Mitchell transitioned into administration. She moved to North Carolina where she continued her education toward earning an Ed.S. in developmental education. Mitchell then came to Texas where she worked for nine years in the area of enrollment development at what was then Incarnate Word College (IWC). This move also gave Mitchell the opportunity to earn an MA in religious studies from IWC. Mitchell then returned to Iowa for three years before returning to UIW as dean of preparatory programs, overseeing both St. Anthony Catholic High School and Incarnate Word High School. She served as dean for five years. During this time, Mitchell began teaching online. She is retiring as fulltime faculty but will continue to teach one course per term for UIW Online.
Dr. Bernadette O’Connor, emerita professor of philosophy, graduated from the Brainpower Connection schools of St. Peter Prince of Apostles in 1957, Incarnate Word High School in 1961, and Incarnate Word College (IWC) in 1966 with a double major in English and history and certification to teach at the secondary level. O’Connor taught high school for five years in institutions sponsored or staffed by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. After earning her graduate degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa., she taught philosophy at St. Michael’s College in Winooski, Vt. and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. O’Connor was encouraged to apply for dean of the Division of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences while representing the Sisters on the IWC board of trustees in 1990. She served as dean for three years and has taught full-time since 1993.
Dr. Chris Paris, emeritus professor of English, joined Incarnate Word in 1986 as an instructor for three years and again returned to the university as an instructor in Fall 1991. Paris became an associate professor of English in 1994. He has taught many English, rhetoric, composition, and literature courses while at UIW. He served as assistant director of teaching services and chaired the JumpStart Program. Paris chaired the UIW First-Year Experience and the Academic Literary Rhetoric Program as well as served as assistant dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. He has published a book of poetry, short stories, several individual poems and numerous reviews. He has represented UIW on panels and as an individual presenter, delivering papers on his administrative experience at international conferences.
Robert Sosa, director of foundation, corporate, and government relations, has played an integral role in numerous capital campaigns that have secured more than $80 million since 1992. They include the Mabee Library, AT&T and Bonilla science centers, and the Feik School of Pharmacy. Sosa also successfully led a campaign to raise $8.3 million for the Bowden Eye Care and Health Center on San Antonio’s Eastside. Recently, he had taken the lead in raising the funds needed for UIW to build a School of Osteopathic Medicine. Sosa has taught as an adjunct instructor of marketing, advertising, and writing composition and literature at UIW, San Antonio College (SAC), UTSA, and St. Mary’s University, among others. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from St. Mary’s University.
UIW wishes these prestigious retirees well in the next phase of their life journeys and thanks them for their many years of invaluable service to the university.