Alumni Profiles

Sr. Helena Monahan, BA '68

Sister Helena Monahan, UIW Chancellor, exemplifies the best of Incarnate Word education. From her time as a high school student at Incarnate Word Academy in St. Louis, to college life at Incarnate Word College Sr. Helena has very special memories and had maintained a special bond with both. Her life with the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Sr. Helena MonahanWord and UIW includes many titles, including student, teacher, sister, and most recently Chancellor. Her community involvement and positive demeanor has led to great respect from not just her colleagues but within the community as well. She was recently honored to be named Grand Marshall of the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade sponsored by the Harp and Shamrock Society.   

Sr. Helena currently serves as Chancellor of the University and is responsible for new program development and the accreditation of all UIW programs. She has identified Education and Innovation as the two most important core principles of UIW. Sister has been and still is a skilled innovator for the University. Early in her career she served as assistant to former IWC President, Sr. Margaret Patrice Slattery and was responsible for the installation of computerized records on campus. Now she innovates in more unique ways, most notably through creative use of the campus capacity to educate. In her mind, UIW must always rise to the challenge to educate students with a 21st century education mindset. She shares solid examples of the Virtual University, ADCaP preparation and the new Doctorate of Nursing that will be offered in the Fall as evidence of the innovative culture at UIW.

While discussing her favorite memories, Sister shares how much she truly loves education. She explains, "It's the most wonderful profession in the world. You can actually see learning in a student's face. You see the actual moment of insight!" She credits her love of education to "wonderful teachers, who made me want to be a teacher." As a devoted educator, naturally she expressed a deep concern about the current state of affairs locally and nationally in regards to education. In her words, "Education and innovation of students is the only thing that will save the world. We owe it to future generations of students. We should ensure that they excel to even higher levels than we have."   

Sister Helena acknowledges how grateful she is for the great privilege she has had over the years to help "identify and hire tremendously talented people." She has many words of wisdom to share with fellow alums and current students. Her shared thoughts are a strong call to action. She urges alumni and students alike, "Get involved in your community. We hope you take the spirit of commitment with you when you graduate. Every privilege carries responsibility. If you want to be truly happy, give back. Make a difference. Get up and enjoy life!"


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