Vela's View: Here to Help

by Dr. Robert Vela 

Volume 1, Issue 1 - March 2016

Vela's View is a reoccurring column about the importance of education and higher learning.  Written from the perspective of Dr. Robert Vela, President of San Antonio College, it provides insight into the world of higher education and addresses topics related to education as a whole.  

We’ve been taught to believe that earning a college degree is part of the American dream. It can lead to a higher paying job, better opportunities, and a brighter future in general. But, for many people, the idea of “going to college” is more of a wish or desire versus a reality.   

Figuring out the maze of higher education is not easy. Like most things in life, you have to learn how to “work” the system. So many times, I come across people who have the desire to pursue higher education, but don’t know where to begin. 

My goal with this column is to provide insight for our gente to better understand the unique world of higher education. In my 20+ years as an administrator, and as the current president of San Antonio College (SAC), I’ve spent the better part of my life promoting education. I realize that I have some insights that could possibly help others, so, I created this column to do just that. 

With “Vela’s View,” I will introduce the reader to important topics related to higher education; and, I will offer some tips, insight and advice based on my own personal experiences. 

In this first edition, I want to take some time to introduce San Antonio College (SAC) and one of our newest initiatives, which is already helping prospective students realize their dream of attending college. 

Introducing San Antonio College

Depending on how long you’ve lived in San Antonio, you may already know that San Antonio College, one of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District, has provided educational opportunities to hundreds of thousands of people since 1925. In fact, we serve an average of 20,000 students each semester; and, with a majority of our students being of Hispanic descent, we are a proud Hispanic Serving Institution.  

I take pride in knowing that SAC has had—and continues to have—a positive impact on so many people’s lives. However, I also realize that there are still some people in our community who believe that SAC, and college in general, is beyond their reach. I am here to tell you— that is simply not true. 

SAC is a community college, which means it is open to anyone in the community who is interested in pursuing a higher level of education. We are here to help. 

Getting Started

After becoming president of the college in August 2014, it was evident that we needed to do more to reach out to our community, especially to engage the people in our own backyard. 

Therefore, I created a new department for Outreach & Recruitment. As well, we opened a brand new welcome center in May 2015 that helps students get started with the college enrollment process.  

The Duran Welcome Center is named after Tino and Amelia Duran, the founders of La Prensa San Antonio who got their start at San Antonio College. The Center serves our community by helping students and families who are new to the world of higher education, or who simply need some assistance navigating our enrollment process. 

This one-of-a-kind Center, which opened in May 2015, is located on the SAC campus at the corner of N. Main and W. Park Ave. It features an ultra-modern design, and is modeled after the Apple store’s idea of “anticipatory customer service.”

There are no lines. There is no waiting. And there are no counters. You simply walk in, and you get immediate assistance. 

Whether you’re interested in enrolling at SAC or not, I invite you to experience the impressive Center in person. For hours of operation and more information, visit or call 210-486-0040.  

Thank You

Thank you for taking the time to read the first issue of my column. I hope you took something from it, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future. 

Hasta pronto, 

Dr. Robert Vela
President of San Antonio College

For questions or comments about this column, please contact

La Prensa article, page 4 in the March 20th edition.