University of Incarnate Word (UIW) granted a 90-day medical leave request to its 30-year president, Dr. Lou Agnese, after his behavior and comments “provoked considerable concern for his well-being,” according to a statement Thursday released by UIW Board Chair Charles Lutz.
In the past two weeks, Agnese, 65, “has exhibited sporadic uncharacteristic behavior and comments” with students, faculty, and administrative staff, the statement said. “We apologize to persons who may have been or were offended. Our prayers and thoughts are with Dr. Agnese, his family, and the entire university community.”
Dr. Denise Doyle, provost emerita of the University, will fill the role of acting president during this time.
The university’s press contact declined further comment on the nature of Agnese’s unusual behavior or their specific medical concerns.
At age 33, Agnese became UIW’s eighth president in 1986 at a time of decreasing enrollment and demographic challenges. His marketing efforts helped grow the university from 1,296 students in 1985 to 10,984 in 2015, making it the third-largest private university in Texas, according to the university website. During his tenure, UIW opened campuses in China, Mexico and Germany, created a Division I athletics program, and added doctoral programs in pharmacy, optometry, physical therapy, nursing practice, and business administration. The University will also be opening a School of Osteopathic Medicine in 2017.
Top image: UIW President Dr. Lou Agnese addresses the audience during an event at the Bowden Eye Care Center in April 2016. File photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.