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Photo credit: Everyday Health Photo of Hernandez (dressed in all black) at The Watcha! Film Series in honor of Women’s History Month.

SAN ANTONIO ­­– “It is said that biblically, seven is the number of completeness,” said Our Lady of the Lake University current President Diane Melby. After seven years of service to the University, President Melby will retire in July 2022. 

In response to Melby’s retirement announcement, a search for Our Lady of the Lake University’s (OLLU) 10th President began in August 2021.

Following a celebrated six-year tenure in May 2021, Melby set a retirement date for July 15, 2022. Since then, OLLU’s Board of Trustees and the Presidential Search Committee have begun searching for a community-oriented leader with incredible vision and the capacity to enhance the University’s profile and key strategic indicators.

According to an article on OLLU’s website, the University seeks a president who embraces its distinctive mission and core values, embodies a bold spirit, possesses significant administrative experience and can attract new resources to the University. The candidate of choice will be a servant leader in the Catholic tradition with a highly relational approach, outstanding communication skills, humility, authenticity, self-confidence, a strong work ethic and a clear understanding of higher education.

Melby was welcomed into service in 2015. Since then, she pledged and committed herself to honor and uphold the charism of OLLU’s Founders. 

“I did not take that pledge lightly, for I knew that our nation was on the cusp of change,” Melby said in her retirement announcement letter. 

In her six and one-half years at OLLU, Melby has significantly reduced the size of administration and is in the process of determining OLLU’s academic structure.

She has created methods for extending support services to all students, including graduate and online programs. Raised and distributed over $1 million to help students with emergency needs and open a food pantry to address food insecurity among the students this spring. She more than doubled the number of funds raised annually and completed the most extensive fundraising campaign in the school’s history, raising over $55 million. She raised the minimum wage, implemented pay increases, held firm on healthcare costs, and avoided involuntary layoffs. She opened a new residential hall, began construction of the Center for Children and Family and repairs on Sacred Heart Chapel and has undertaken structural repairs to Providence Hall and a prepared to assume responsibility for the Convent. 

“While I cannot say that our work is finished, I can say that we are on the cusp of another advent; and that what we have accomplished provides the foundation for our future,” said Melby.

During her last semester at OLLU, Melby supports the board in a successful transition of the presidency and furthering ongoing initiatives. 

OLLU’s Board of Trustee Chair, Chris Paul Olivier, has selected the following committee members to comprise the Search Committee for OLLU’s 10th President: 

Steve O’Donnell (Co-Chair)


Rosalinda Garcia (Co-Chair)

Vice President for Administration, President’s Council

Maria Cabaniss

Director of the Library and Faculty Assembly President

Sister Pearl Ceasar, BA 1968: MSW 1974

Trustee and Superior General

Greg Flores


Sister Rosalie Karstedt, BA 1968


Sister Lourdes Leal, BA 1960; MA 1964


Rosa Hernandez Lora

Undergraduate Student

Mike Martel


Jared Montoya

Associate Professor, School of Business and Leadership

Jackie Walter, BA 2008

Director of the Center for Women in Church and Society and Staff Advisory Council President

Dr. George Williams

Vice President for Student Affairs

Dr. Aimee Villarreal

Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences

Naya Willridge, BA 2015; MS 2020

Undergraduate/Transfer Admission Counselor 

The committee’s work will be supported by Cyndi Trevino, Executive Assistant for the Vice President for Administration and Alex Manzano, Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Board of Trustees.

Storbeck Search, a nationally known and highly respected executive search firm, assists the university in the search. Julie E. Tea, Managing Director, and Lindsay Allison, Senior Associate, are facilitating the search process, working with the search committee to identify candidates, and assisting the committee in making its recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

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