Hilltop pride and spirit was in full force on February 26, 2022, as St. Edward’s formally welcomed our 24th president, Dr. Montserrat ‘Montse’ Fuentes. Throughout two days of festivities, our campus community and guests came together to celebrate this historic inauguration of the first Hispanic president of the university and her vision for the future of St. Edward’s.
On February 25, Hilltoppers and friends engaged in service opportunities and justice presentations, and a special Mass. The inauguration ceremony took place the next day, with hundreds of attendees, and was followed by an afternoon and evening of lively activities across campus. Festivities included a luncheon and cake cutting, an art exhibit and academic showcase, a Ballet Folklorico performance, food trucks and live music.
During her investiture, Dr. Fuentes shared five bold initiatives that underpin the university’s new Strategic Plan 2027. These inspiring goals reflect the university’s Holy Cross mission and values, emphasizing academic distinction, inclusive excellence, diversity and equity, and a vision of St. Edward’s as A Destination University for a More Just World.
Enjoy a recap of the celebration excitement in our video and photo gallery below.
Excited to witness the historic inauguration and investiture of President Montserrat Fuentes, the audience and special guest speakers stand at full attention.
Dr. Montserrat Fuentes makes final adjustments to her academic regalia in preparation for her inauguration and investiture.
Dr. Fuentes and Dr. George E. Martin, president emeritus of St. Edward’s, share a special moment.
St. Edward’s University faculty and trustees don their regalia as they line up to begin the inauguration procession into the Recreation and Athletics Center auditorium.
Guest speaker Luci Baines Johnson '97, Bishop of the Diocese of Austin Joe S. Vasquez, and Father Peter Walsh, director of Campus Ministry, chat before the inauguration procession begins.
Tom Mengler, president of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, and Debbie Cottrell, president of Texas Lutheran University, joined the regalia procession.
Chair of the Faculty Senate Jason Callahan, PhD, leads the inauguration procession, followed by flag bearers for each academic school.
Steve Shadowen ’80, chair of the Board of Trustees, opens the ceremony with a call to order.
Bishop Joe Vasquez and Dr. Fuentes stand with the audience in preparation for singing the national anthem.
Mia Carter ’22, a BFA in Acting major, leads the audience in singing the national anthem.
Jae De Leon, president of the Student Government Association, welcomes Dr. Fuentes and guests on behalf of the student body.
Laura Lucas, chair of the Staff Council, expresses the appreciation and admiration for Dr. Fuentes felt by the hilltop community.
Alumna Luci Baines Johnson delivered a moving speech, reminiscing on her experience at St. Edward’s and sharing her excitement for Fuentes’ inauguration. “She will be someone we can believe in,” Johnson said.
After the the blessing and presentation of the St. Edward’s University medallion to Dr. Fuentes, she took to the podium to present her inaugural speech.
Dr. Fuentes’ husband and children look on with pride and affection during her investiture and speech.
Dr. Fuentes made sure to credit Hilltoppers with teaching her to make the Topper Pride hand signal, which she proudly demonstrates.
Dr. Fuentes spoke about the 5 goals of the university’s strategic plan over the next 5 years: academic excellence and distinction; diversity, equity, inclusion and justice; vibrant and inclusive campus; Austin impact; and infrastructure and resources.
Dr. Patricia A. Hayes and Dr. George E. Martin, presidents emeriti of St. Edward’s, were among the distinguished guests at the event.
Dr. Fuentes takes in a standing ovation by the audience, including her family members who joined her on stage, after she received her presidential medallion.
After final remarks by Steve Shadowen ’80 and a benediction by Brother Thomas Dziekan, CSC, the ceremony came to a close as Dr. Fuentes greeted the audience.
Following the inauguration ceremony, Dr. Fuentes greets Hilltoppers and guests at a barbeque luncheon open to all.
An all-female Mariachi band entertains the crowd during a luncheon in Ragsdale Center.
The inauguration cake, created in a stunning likeness of Main Building, awaits the cake-cutting ceremony.
Surrounded by the St. Edward’s cheer team, Dr. Fuentes has fun cutting and sharing slices of the inauguration cake.
A special Academic Showcase in the Mundy Library presents impressive projects by each academic school.
Hilltoppers and guests visit an exhibit of artwork by the Brothers of Holy Cross, on display in the Munday Library.
On inauguration day, Hilltoppers celebrate into the evening, dancing to live music and enjoying food trucks brought to campus for the occasion.
With delicious snacks in hand, students pause for a photo after their visit to their favorite food truck.
Students, faculty and staff enjoy a concert in Ragsdale Center as the weekend of exciting inauguration festivities on the hilltop comes to a close.
During an evening of festivities decked in blue and gold, the St. Edward’s cheer team spontaneously lifts Dr. Fuentes into a classic cheer stunt.
Ballet Folklórico performs a number of traditional Mexican dances in celebration.
Surrounded by hilltop spirit, Dr. Fuentes cuts into a cake modeled after the historic Main Building.
“We cannot predict what the future holds, but we are prepared for whatever it brings. We will remain true to who we are: a Holy Cross, Catholic university that teaches its students consciousness, collaboration and the courage to act.”
Before the inauguration and investiture, faculty and staff partake in a variety of service activities in support of the values of St. Edward’s .
A Mass is held to celebrate Dr. Fuentes and connect the Holy Cross community.
Continuing the call to service and justice, faculty and staff create birthday boxes in service of a local nonprofit.
Alumni chapters in Texas and beyond join in service and justice activities by volunteering at food banks and food kitchens, preparing meals for the underserved.