Statement of Purpose

The Office of Inclusive Excellence fosters efforts to define, cultivate and support an inclusive educational community and workplace environment aligned with the St. Mary’s mission and its Catholic and Marianist identity. The office is committed to promoting community building and partnering to serve the common good. The work is guided by the St. Mary’s mission, the Characteristics of Marianist Universities, and Catholic Social Teaching focused on the shared tenets of understanding, appreciation and respect for human dignity and cultural differences.

Inclusive Excellence Initiatives

  • St. Mary’s University Hispanic Heritage Month 2023

    Celebrating Hispanic/Latinx Culture and Identity
    Sept. 15 to Oct. 15

    The Hispanic Heritage Month Committee invites the St. Mary’s University community to a variety of campus events celebrating the month. For more information, contact Margaret Cantu-Sanchez, Ph.D. at

    Sponsored by the Mexican American Studies Program, Office of Inclusive Excellence, Center for Catholic Studies, Greehey School of Business, St. Mary’s School of Law, and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

    Sept. 11 to 17 

    St. Mary’s University commemorates National Hispanic-Serving Institution Week. 

    Sept. 12 to Nov. 12 

    Fotoseptiembre Exhibit: “The Harmony of Emulsion” 
    Blume Library Operating Hours | Blume Library, Art Gallery 

    Thursday, Sept. 14 

    Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff Event
    University Center (UC), Conference Room B 

    9 to 9:15 a.m.
    Opening Reception 

    9:15 to 10:15 a.m.
    Building a Hispanic-Serving Institution Through Title V Initiatives and Beyond 
    Featuring Jason Pierce, Ph.D.; Margaret Alarilla, Ed.D.; Gary Ogden, Ph.D.; Betsy Smith, Ph.D.; and Jennifer Zwahr-Castro, Ph.D. 

    10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
    The Past, Present and Future of St. Mary’s as a Hispanic-Serving Institution 
    Featuring Margaret Cantu-Sanchez, Ph.D.; Gerald Poyo, Ph.D.; Stella Silva, Ph.D.;  
    Arturo Vega, Ph.D.; and Belinda Román, Ph.D. 

    Monday, Sept. 18 

    Choco Meza Civic Engagement Event 
    UC, Conference Room A 

    Noon to 2 p.m. | Lunch and Speaker Panel 
    Tus Derechos: The Status of Voting Rights in Texas and the U.S. 
    Moderated by Charles Cotrell, Ph.D. (B.A. ’62, M.A.’64), President and Professor Emeritus 
    Featuring George Korbel, Civil Rights Attorney; Melissa Havrda (B.A. ’01, J.D. ’07), City of San Antonio District 6 Councilwoman; and Al Kaufmann, J.D., Professor of Law 

    2 to 3 p.m. 
    Civic Engagement Workshop: Learn How to Register Your Community to Vote 

    3:15 to 4:15 p.m. 
    Community Engagement Presentation: CliftonStrengths and Civic Engagement 

    Wednesdays, Sept. 20, Sept. 27 and Oct. 4 

    Merienda Marianista 
    3:30 to 5 p.m. | Cotrell Learning Commons, Contreras Student Lounge 

    Build fellowship and enjoy a snack break on Wednesday afternoons to celebrate our Marianist family spirit. Pastries, coffee and tea will be available. 

    Thursday, Sept. 21 

    Transforming a Hispanic-Serving Institution
    Featuring Lorena Escoto Germán, Dominican American Educator 
    1:30 to 3:30 p.m. | UC, Conference Room B  

    Friday, Sept. 22 

    Fotoseptiembre Artist Reception 
    4 to 5:30 p.m. | Blume Library, Art Gallery 

    The Department of Art invites you to the annual Fotoseptiembre Art Exhibition featuring photographer Liz Potter: “The Harmony of Emulsion.” All are welcome to attend. 

    Tuesday, Sept. 26 

    Anzaldua Borderlands Celebration and Reflection 
    12:30 to 1:50 p.m. | UC, Conference Room B 

    Learn about the importance of American scholar Gloria Anzaldua’s book, Borderlands, La Frontera: The New Mestiza. 

    Thursday, Sept. 28 

    “Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?”  
    Featuring Irma Herrera (B.A. ’71), Solo Performer, Social Justice Activista and Attorney  
    7:30 to 8:30 p.m. | Treadaway Hall, Guadalupe Chapel 

    Enjoy Irma Herrera’s one-woman play about the importance of respecting others’ names and heritage, followed by an engaging conversation. 

    Friday, Sept. 29 

    Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Emerging Leaders’ Summit* 
    8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. | Alumni Athletics & Convocation Center 

    *Registration is required. Students can register via Handshake by Friday, Sept. 15.  

    Lin Great Speakers Series: Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Art of Solidarity 
    Featuring Nichole M. Flores, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Virginia 
    3:30 to 5 p.m. | Sarita Kenedy East Law Library, Law Alumni Room 

    Flores will offer an account of a “political theology of Guadalupe,” or a theological and aesthetic framework for interpreting Guadalupe’s meaning and significance for our 21st-century democracy in the United States. 

    Monday, Oct. 2

    Latinx Unidos Employee Affinity Group Mixer 
    4 to 5:30 p.m. | The Pub at St. Mary’s 

    Stop by for community building, fellowship, snacks and beverages.

    Thursday, Oct. 5 

    Greehey School of Business Panel 
    Noon to 1 p.m. | UC, Conference Room B 

    Hear from a panel of Federal Reserve employees about their role in our society and employment opportunities for students. 

    Fifth Annual O’Connor Lecture and Reception: Mexican Americans at St. Mary’s University: Education, Activism and Ethnic Identity, 1960s to 1970s 
    Featuring Gerald E. Poyo, Ph.D., O’Connor Chair in the History of Hispanic Texas and the Southwest  
    3:30 to 5 p.m., Lecture and Discussion | Sarita Kenedy East Law Library, Law Alumni Room 

    5 to 6:30 p.m. | Sarita Kenedy East Law Library, Law Alumni Room 
    Visit to RSVP. 

    Friday, Oct. 6, and Saturday, Oct. 7 

    Lawtina Network Summit 
    Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. | St. Mary’s University School of Law 

    For more information and registration, visit the Lawtina Network Summut web page.

    Wednesday, Oct. 11 

    Hispanic Heritage Month and Latina Scholarship Lecture 
    2 to 3 p.m. | Location to be determined 

    Featuring Yolanda Chavez Leyva, Ph.D., Director of the Institute of Oral History and Associate Professor of History, University of Texas at El Paso. 

    Noche de Cultura 
    3 to 7 p.m. | The Quad 

    Enjoy an evening of music from conjunto musician Juan Tejeda, mariachis, food trucks, salsa lessons, poetry and more. 

    Tuesday, Oct. 24 

    Hispanic-Serving Institutions Beyond St. Mary’s University 
    3 to 5 p.m. | UC, Conference Room B  

    Join us for a conversation on a broader understanding of Latinx diversity. 

    Schedule of events
  • Hispanic Heritage Month Resources

    From the beginning, St. Mary’s, as a Catholic and Marianist University, has been rooted in its mission to serve Hispanic students. As a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), the University enrolls a majority of Hispanic students while serving a broad range of diverse students in a multicultural environment. Read more about our Hispanic-Serving history.

    This year HSI Week is observed Sept. 11-17, leading up to the start of Hispanic Heritage Month which is celebrated every year from Sept. 15 to October 15. Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the American Hispanic/Latinx community.

    • Afterlife by Julia Alvarez
    • American Poison: How Racial Hostility Destroyed Our Promise by Eduardo Porter
    • American Street (YA) by Ibi Zoboi
    • Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education by Jennine Capo Crucet
    • Becoming Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Opportunities for Colleges and Universities by Gina Ann Garcia
    • Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
    • Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis
    • Chica, Why Not?: How to Live with Intention and Manifest a Life That Loves You Back
    • Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
    • Chola Salvation by Estella Gonzalez
    • Daughters of the Stone by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa
    • Dominicana by Angie Cruz
    • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
    • El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America (El Norte: La Epica Y Olvidada Historia de Norte America Hispana) by Carrie Gibson
    • Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
    • Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity by Paola Ramos
    • For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez
    • Funeral for Flaca by Emilly Prado
    • Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
    • Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) in Practice: Defining “Servingness” at HSIs by Gina Ann Garcia
    • How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
    • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sánchez
    • In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
    • Knitting the Fog (Tejiendo la Niebla) by Claudia D. Hernandez
    • Like Water for Chocolate (Como Agua para Chocolate) by Laura Esquivel
    • Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet
    • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
    • Mother/Land by Ananda Lima
    • My Broken Language by Quiara Alegria Hudes
    • Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
    • Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America by Maria Hinojosa
    • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
    • Open Veins of Latin America (Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina) by Eduardo Galeano
    • Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
    • Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo
    • Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
    • Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
    • Speculative Fiction for Dreamers by Alex Hernandez, Matthew David Goodwin, and Sarah Rafael Garcia
    • The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
    • The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping of an American Political Identity, from Nixon to Trump by Geraldo Cadava
    • The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
    • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
    • The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Senora Reyes
    • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
    • The Taste of Sugar by Marisel Vera
    • The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
    • The Zoot Suit Riots by Charles River Editors
    • Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (Veinte Peomas de Amor y una Cancion Desesperada) by Pablo Neruda
    • Violeta by Isabel Allende
    • When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
    • Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
    • You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation by Julissa Arce
    • Antes Que Cante el Gallo
    • A Better Life
    • Beef (short)
    • Cesar’s Last Fast
    • Coco
    • El Norte
    • Encanto
    • Even in the Rain
    • Executive Order
    • Frida
    • Gotta Kick It Up!
    • I’m Leaving Now
    • I’m No Longer Here
    • In The Heights
    • In The Time of The Butterflies
    • Innocent Voices
    • Instructions not Included
    • La Llorona
    • Los Sures
    • McFarland USA
    • Mi Familia
    • Nothing Like The Holidays
    • Quinceanera
    • Real Women Have Curves
    • Residente
    • Rita Morena
    • Roma
    • Selena (PG)
    • Sin Nombre
    • Stand and Deliver
    • Stolen Education
    • The Book of Life
    • The Children of Giants
    • The Graduates
    • Under the Same Moon
    • Vampires vs. The Bronx
    • Viva
    • All Things Latina
    • Alt Latino
    • Barrio Chef
    • Cerebronas
    • De Pueblo, Catolico y Gay
    • Diversifying
    • Hyphenated with Joanna Hausamann and Jenny Lorenzo
    • La Brega
    • Las Doctoras
    • Latina to Latina
    • Latino USA
    • Latinos Out Loud
    • Latinx in Power
    • LatinX on the Rise
    • Level Up Latina
    • Life as a Gringo
    • Pod Save the People
    • Que Pasa, HSIs?
    • Radio Ambulante
    • Sound Opinions: Latin Music’s Ascent, Opinions on Prince and Billie Eilish
    • Tamarindo
    • Tres Cuentos Literary Podcast
    • Unbreakable Latina
  • 2023 Calendar of Interfaith Observances

    As an inclusive community, we recognize our members have a variety of faith practices and days of observance. Awareness of these differences strengthens our community through respect and compassion.

  • Helping Individuals Enhance Intercultural Competence

    The world we live in is comprised of people from many cultures. Any given day we may interact with individuals from our own culture and/or different cultures. We rely on our personal knowledge, skills, and attitudes to think, act, and communicate effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds. Intercultural Competence is one’s ability to make sense of and respond to cultural differences.

    At St. Mary’s, we recognize the importance of intercultural competence as a key to inclusive excellence. To help each individual on their personal journey, we offer the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) assessment tool and developmental plan to students, faculty, and staff.  IDI aligns closely with our mission to create leaders for the common good.

    IDI assesses intercultural competence –the capability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities. After taking the assessment, IDI generates profiles on an individual’s intercultural competence paired with an Individual Development Plan (IDP) –a detailed blueprint for the individual to further develop their cultural competence.

    For more information, email

  • Employee Affinity Groups

    St. Mary’s University values diversity and recognizes the importance of all individuals feeling connected to our community, regardless of their personal identities. As we continue to foster an inclusive campus work environment, the Office of Inclusive Excellence is pleased to sponsor affinity groups for employees and has established guidelines for employees seeking to form an Employee Affinity Group (EAG).

    These voluntary, identity-based groups may be formed around demographic characteristics (such as, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or ability) as a way to bring together employees with a shared purpose. In addition to networking with individuals from similar and often marginalized communities, EAGs empower members to contribute to the education of our campus community, give back to the local community, and be an active voice for change.

  • Hear the Name, Say it Right with NameCoach

    At St. Mary’s, we value each individual and believe correct name pronunciation is a sign of respect. To continue fostering inclusion, in the classroom and beyond, we are providing faculty, staff and students access to the NameCoach platform which will allow each person to record the correct pronunciation of their name. 

    This animated short highlights the importance of names.

    Ideas for using NameCoach

    • Before a meeting, listen to name recordings if you are unsure of pronunciations
    • Ask students you work with to record their name and to use the recordings to learn their peers’ names
    • Share the Nivedhan video and have a discussion
    • Talk within your work team to discuss ways you might use Name Coach
    • Share the story of your name as an icebreaker and way to get to know each other 
    • Remind students of the NameCoach recordings as a resource before and during group work
  • Language Resource Directory

    The purpose of the Language Resource Directory is to provide contact information for faculty and staff who need assistance communicating with campus visitors during regular business hours. We requested assistance from faculty and staff who speak multiple languages and are willing to be listed in an online directory,  and as a result, we have contacts for 11 languages: Arabic, French, German, Hindi, Kannada, Korean, Persian (Farsi), Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Tamil.

    The directory is available for students, faculty and staff of the University.

  • Resources

    Students, faculty and staff can find comprehensive lists of organizations for diverse populations and resources to learn about systemic injustices and other cultures.

    The resources are available for students, faculty and staff of the University.

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge the San Antonio River as Yanaguana, (Spirit Waters in Pajalate) as the source of life for this city and commit to protecting her, all her tributaries and connected waters and this land called Texas as Somi Sek to the Esto’k Gna people who are called Carrizo-Comecrudo by the Spanish, today and for future generations.

We acknowledge this place known as San Antonio as the traditional homeland of many Native American peoples who are called Coahuiltecan by Spanish records. 200 tribes/bands/clans were documented in historical records and include the Payaya, Auteca Paguame, Jarame, Pompopa, and Borrado, as well as other aboriginal peoples such as the Carrizo-Comecrudo who continue to carry their traditional lifeways.

We acknowledge these Indigenous various communities as the traditional people of this land now called San Antonio, Texas.

We acknowledge this homeland that would later include Comanches and Lipan Apaches in the 1700s, as a place that is now home to nearly 30,000 Urban Indians spanning from tribes across the North, Central, and South America who continue to sustain their traditional languages and customs.

Land acknowledgments honor historical links between Indigenous Peoples/First Nations and the territories. This traditional custom dates back centuries for many Native communities and nations. For the last several years, many institutions of higher education and organizations commonly begin meetings and events with formal statements of land acknowledgments.

In these public statements, institutions acknowledge history and express a commitment to current reality and future relationships between the institution, Indigenous Peoples/Nations, and the land. For non-indigenous communities, this signifies respect and recognition and honors the traditional caretakers of the land on which we work, live, and play. Knowing the unceded land we live on is important because Indigenous history is American history. By learning about the cultures and history of our original inhabitants, we honor their history and counter the narratives of discovery and colonization.

Land acknowledgments alone are but a small gesture and are made more meaningful by authentic and informed actions of support and solidarity with our Native Urban Communities. This is a first step in creating an ongoing intentional practice of amplifying Indigenous voices and moving toward truth and reconciliation. San Antonio College is inspired to action by learning a more truthful existence of our Native Urban community through our alliance with the American Indians of Texas of the Spanish Colonial Missions.

About Land Acknowledgements
  • Advisory Board

    Cody B. Cox, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior
    Greehey School of Business

    Léo Benavides
    Office of Student Financial Assistance

    Mike Martinez Jr., J.D., M.S.I.S.
    Director Sarita Kenedy East Law Library and Professor
    St. Mary’s University School of Law

    Verónica Contreras-Shannon, Ph.D.
    Professor and Program Director – URISE
    Department of Biological Sciences

    Wendy D. Martinez
    Assistant Dean
    Office of Residence Life

    Jenee Margo Gonzales, J.D.
    Chief Development and Communications Officer
    Community In Schools of San Antonio

    Janet Guadarrama
    Executive Director of Human Resources, Title IX Coordinator
    Office of Human Resources

    Paul X. Uhlig, Ph.D.
    Professor and Chair of Mathematics, Marianist Educational Associate

    Andre Hampton, J.D.
    Professor of Law
    St. Mary’s University School of Law

    Marlon Furlongue
    Associate Athletics Director, Compliance and Internal Operations

Contact Us

Stella Silva, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President

Julieta Sanchez
Program Coordinator

Office of Inclusive Excellence
St. Louis Hall Suite 105

Back to top