Tricentennial event at OLLU celebrates role of women in higher education

Led by the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence, women have played a leading role in higher education in San Antonio for more than a century.

From Sister Angelique Ayres and Mother Philothea Thiry, who established Our Lady of the Lake College in 1919, to Sister Mary Immaculate Gentemann, the first dean of the Worden School of Social Service, and Sister Elizabeth Anne Sueltenfuss, the first woman president of Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU), women have produced groundbreaking advancements in higher education.

Sister Diane Langford, CDP, discussed the history and impact of OLLU and pioneering Sisters during the event, “Mujeres en Acción/Women in Action: Grassroots Scholars and Intellectuals in San Antonio,” on March 7 at Thiry Auditorium.

“Mujeres en Acción” was an official San Antonio Tricentennial event and featured two other speakers: award-winning author Norma E. Cantú and prize-winning poet Ariana Brown. Participants discussed women religious, women activist-scholars and women of color.

Sister Langford, a vowed member of the Congregation of Divine Providence since 1979, talked about prominent women who helped OLLU grow from an academy in 1896 to a university in 1975.
In Sister Langford’s view, the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence are “Mujeres en Acción” or “Women in Action.”

“Mujeres en Acción” was hosted by the OLLU Center for Women in Church and Society in collaboration with the Office of the President, Office of the Provost and Center for Mexican American Studies and Research. It was supported by the Impetus Foundation through the OLLU Higher Education for a New America (HENA) Initiative.

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