Meet OLLU’s new President Sister Jane Ann Slater, CDP, PhD

Posted on Monday, April 15, 2013

Sister Jane Ann Slater, CDP, PhD, OLLU’s new president, is not afraid to embrace mountainous challenges. Several years ago, she climbed Yosemite National Park’s famous granite formation, Half Dome, an all-day hike that took her up the side to the peak, more than 4,700 feet above the valley floor.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says Slater, a member of the Congregation of Divine Providence. “Seven of us left at 4:30 in the morning. Four of us made it to the top about 2:30 in the afternoon. We ran around, looked over the edge and congratulated ourselves. I told the men, three Oblate priests, ‘Read my lips: From now on, no more he-man stuff.’”

Her current challenge, no less lofty, requires more down-to-earth skills: leading Our Lady of the Lake University as interim president. Her term began March 12 and may run 18 months and possibly longer.
“I’m awed,” Slater says. “I’m a little nervous, of course, but I’m also very excited.”

Slater brings a unique set of experiences to the position. She is the only Sister to serve as Superior General of the Congregation in two millennia, from 1987-93 and from 2005-11.

A native of Texarkana, Ark., Slater holds a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from OLLU and a PhD in inorganic chemistry from the University of Colorado.

After professing her vows in 1957, Slater spent more than 20 years teaching in elementary schools in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. At OLLU, she has served as a faculty member, dean of students, chairperson of the Academic Affairs Committee and as a trustee.

“As a member of the Congregation, an alumna and former faculty member of OLLU, and trustee emeritus on the Board, Sister Jane Ann has a unique connection to the University,” said Roy Terracina, chairman of the OLLU Board of Trustees. “She will provide the perspective and leadership that the University needs in this time as we continue to launch new programs and grow enrollment.”

In following President Tessa Martinez Pollack, who stepped down March 1, Slater left her position as trustee emeritus on the OLLU Board of Trustees and become an ex-officio Board member.

She also relinquished her position as the director of studies for Assumption Seminary for the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

Slater treasures many fond memories from a life of service that spans more than half a century. One moment of fulfillment that stands out is the climb at Yosemite National Park, a difficult task that required rods, steel cables and special gloves. The climb, she says, serves as a metaphor for the task ahead.

“The climb was more of a physical challenge,” she says. “It was an amazing feat. But this new position (as interim president) is more of a spiritual and mission challenge. I feel very positive about it.”