Feb. 27, 2022
AUSTIN, Texas — Today, the St. Edward’s University Board of Trustees formally welcomed Montserrat Fuentes as the 24th president of St. Edward’s University in a historic inauguration on the hilltop campus in Austin, Texas.
Fuentes is a lauded mathematician, researcher, veteran higher education administrator and the first Hispanic to lead the university, notable since fewer than 5% of university presidents are Hispanic/LatinX women according to the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.
“It is a privilege and responsibility to become the 24th president of St. Edward’s and join a rich tradition of the university,” said Fuentes, who has been serving in her first year as president since July 2021. “I want to celebrate our long history of inclusion by cultivating a vibrant campus and distinctive academic experience for all of our students, regardless of their background or identity which is deeply aligned with our Holy Cross values.”
Originally from Spain, Fuentes immigrated to the United States after she was recruited by the University of Chicago, where she earned her doctorate in Statistics. Fuentes has more than two decades of experience in higher education and has served on committees and advisory boards for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Institute of Health, among others.
“Dr. Fuentes has a keen understanding and data-driven approach to higher education that will position St. Edward’s University and our students for future success,” said St. Edward’s Board of Trustees Chair Steve Shadowen ’80. “In a short time, she has demonstrated an ability to energize our students, campus and Austin community to strive for excellence in academics, professional goals and service.”
In her inauguration speech, “Destination University for a More Just World,” Fuentes spoke about the five main goals of the university’s 2022-2027 strategic plan: academic excellence and distinction; diversity, equity, inclusion and justice; vibrant and inclusive campus; Austin impact; and infrastructure and resources.
Under the strategic plan, Fuentes will seek out new opportunities to deliver distinctive academics through courageous teaching, research and creative work that is responsive to the needs and workforce demands of the Austin community and beyond.
As part of the strategic plan’s emphasis on academic excellence, Fuentes announced that the university will develop new programs in technology and health care, including a new school of health sciences.
“When we look at the needs of our Central Texas community, we see disparities in people’s access to health care and infrastructure that is strained by this region’s growth,” Fuentes said. “The pandemic has exacerbated these challenges. We can be part of the solution by educating compassionate, highly qualified members of the healthcare workforce who prioritize the needs of the disadvantaged.”
Since its founding, the university’s Holy Cross mission has empowered transformative experiential learning, leadership development and a service commitment that prepares informed and responsible global citizens who create a more just, diverse and equitable world.
“At St. Edward’s, we say the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart,” Fuentes said. “We want to engage with our community and make sure our students have access to a transformative and excellent education rooted in mentorship, hands-on learning and academic opportunities. We will become a destination university for a more just and humane world for all.”
For more information on President Fuentes, visit her webpage.
About St. Edward’s University:
St. Edward’s University is a private, liberal arts university in the Catholic, Holy Cross tradition with approximately 3,600 students. Located in Austin, Texas, it is one of the top universities in Texas and offers more than 50 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs. With a network of partner universities around the world, St. Edward’s delivers a premier, highly personalized education that helps students explore their own transformational pathways to knowledge, experience, understanding and success. St. Edward’s has been recognized for 19 consecutive years as one of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report. In the U.S. News 2022 rankings, St. Edward’s continues to rank in the list of top 10 Best Regional Universities in the West for the 3rd consecutive year.