Lou Agnese was just 33 years old when he was inaugurated as president of Incarnate Word College, a small Catholic women's institution that was more than 100 years old but little known outside of San Antonio. Incarnate Word was in trouble. It had been losing enrollment for eight years, and the founding Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word knew major changes were needed.
They called on board chair Amy Freeman Lee, a respected San Antonio educational leader, to form a search committee and conduct a nationwide search for a president who could stimulate that change. They took a chance when they hired a confident young Italian-American educator from New York.