President Leaving the University

Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dr. Tessa Martinez Pollack, president of Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) since 2002, will be leaving the University effective March 1, 2013.

Roy Terracina, chairman of the OLLU Board of Trustees, said, “Dr. Pollack has helped guide the University through a time of great change, and her many contributions are appreciated by the Board and the University family. 

“With Tessa’s leadership, a new strategic plan was developed and the Board fully intends to follow it as we go forward. We are certain that the foundation exists for this University, with the support of the Congregation of Divine Providence and through the efforts of the faculty, administration, staff, students, alumni and Board working as a team, to continue its work – and provide its service – far into the future. 

“Higher education is changing around the country, with many factors affecting all American universities. Both competition and costs are increasing, and the value proposition for students and their families has never been more important. Since 1895 when it was founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence, OLLU has provided extraordinary educational experiences for students and produced generations of leaders in business, education, humanities and both the social and natural sciences. Moreover, the ‘service-to-community’ ethic which is imbued in our graduates is unsurpassed.

“We are especially proud to be a Catholic institution with a strong record of taking first-in-family college students and helping them to develop and complete undergraduate and graduate degrees which lead to good careers and fulfilled lives.”

In January, OLLU’s accreditation was reaffirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) for another 10 years and there are a number of recent improvements and new programs that position OLLU for growth opportunities in the future:

  • Retention and graduation rates have increased;
  • A new student academic success center has been opened on the main campus;
  • The University opened a new campus in The Woodlands in 2012 and its Rio Grande Valley location is moving to La Feria which will result in increased program offerings and enrollment growth;
  • A number of initiatives have been rolled out in recent months, including “High Achievement through Leadership Opportunities” (HALO), the new quality enhancement plan “QuEST” building on students’ abilities in mathematics and English, and a partnership with DELTAK to expand national opportunities in online learning; 
  • The newly renovated Main Building has won an Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and
  • Enhancements to the 24th Street corridor have made the campus safer, more unified, and more attractive.

Terracina said, “OLLU is a unique institution in many ways, and we will now begin a search for a new president who can step in and help the University move forward in this ever-changing and challenging environment. The presidential search will begin shortly and, while we want to move quickly, there is no specific timetable at this time for a decision to be made.”