Robert Sosa joined the University of the Incarnate Word in 1992. He didn't know then how much he would grow to love this institution that filled so many facets of his life.
His professional talent with the written word brought Sosa to UIW as a grant writer. Incarnate Word and Robert Sosa were a perfect match. The University's Mission of service resonated with him and he loved his work.
Shortly after his arrival Sosa founded the University's grants office and expanded it to include foundations, corporations, and governmental relations. His work created change that transformed UIW. He played an integral role in numerous capital campaigns that secured more than $80 million during the 22 years he worked at the University. The campaigns benefitted the Mabee Library, AT&T and Bonilla science centers, and the Feik School of Pharmacy. Sosa also successfully led a campaign to raise $8.3 million for the Bowden Eye Care and Health Center on San Antonio's Eastside. In the spirit of the Mission of Incarnate Word, the Bowden Center reaches out to provide eye care and eye health education to an underserved community. UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry students benefit from the opportunity to treat actual patients while serving the community at the same time.
Sosa's contributions to UIW also included teaching. Having earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in English from St. Mary's University, Sosa taught literature and writing courses part-time.
Sosa had an avid interest in the civil rights movement. He had lived through that era and it left an indelible mark in his memory. Over the last eight years of his life he and his long-time friend, Dr. Roger Barnes, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, travelled throughout the southern United States retracing history, and visiting famous places where the stand for civil rights was hard fought. After a few years of this field research Sosa developed a course for History and Sociology majors called The Social History of the Civil Rights Movement.
In the fall semester of 2013, I audited the course and found myself sitting alongside traditional-aged college students. It was eye-opening to see these young people really understanding this segment of American history for the first time. Through this medium Robert was teaching social justice, another one of the tenets of the University's Mission.
His teaching kept him actively involved with UIW's Mission, "educating men and women who will become concerned and enlightened citizens within the global community."
Robert Sosa included UIW as a beneficiary in his will. The funds were to be used to establish an endowed scholarship for students majoring in English, Sociology, History, and Theatre Arts. One of the most important criteria of the scholarship was that it be awarded to first-generation college students demonstrating financial need. It was so like Robert to help those most in need and thereby continue transforming the world through education even after he was gone.