Veterans Day at SPC

November 12, 2018

Public Information Officer

WITH PROGRAMMING UPDATES, THE 2018 VETERANS DAY EXPERIENCE AT ST. PHILIP’S COLLEGE INCLUDES TWO CEREMONIES IN MILITARY CITY U.S.A. ON NOV. 12

The St. Philip’s College family celebrates all veteran students, faculty and alumni over 120 years, the seventh anniversary season of its memorial to community college education for veterans---its first Veterans Day of world-class free services at its Good Samaritan Veterans Outreach and Transition Center---and two new POW-MIA Table of Honor settings for display at the college's campuses

St. Philip’s College students, employees, alumni and guests observe Veterans Day in Military City U.S.A. twice---on Monday, Nov. 12---with ceremonies at the multi-campus college’s 1801 Martin Luther King Drive and 800 Quintana Road locations. 

All are welcome to attend the following two ceremonies on Nov. 12:

  • Wreath laying begins at 9 a.m. at the SPC Memorial to Community College Education for Veterans at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive, followed by a short walk to a ceremonial program in the college’s Turbon Student Center with remarks from retired Army Maj. Luis Flores
  • Veterans Day ceremonial program begins at 1 p.m. in Building 1 of the college’s Southwest Campus at 800 Quintana Road in Port San Antonio and includes remarks from retired Army Maj. Luis Flores 

The college begins the day by observing the seventh anniversary season of its memorial to community college education for veterans with a wreath laying ceremony. The seven-year-old marker is a tribute conceived and funded by 525 honor society students at St. Philip's College to the legacy of college support for the educations of servicemembers. The grey granite marker measures nearly five feet tall and three feet wide, consisting of a four-piece base of concrete and granite, inscribed words and a small Pentagon stone on top. The public is invited at its convenience to view the marker on the Campus Green located between the college’s Welcome Enrollment Center and G. J. Sutton Learning Center buildings at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive. Parking is always complimentary.

Because the college is open to serve on the federal holiday, all are also welcome to visit with the team on duty at the St. Philip’s College Good Samaritan Veterans Outreach and Transition Center at 202 Connelly St. to gain an appreciation for the free services the center team of interagency experts offers. Since grand opening as a stand-alone facility in 2017 alone, the center has engaged over 7,000 transitioning armed forces personnel and while that number includes 4,386 personnel at outreach events throughout the community, the figure also includes 2,705 who have received service within the facility through 113 workshops and seminars sponsored or conducted. 

The college is also engaged off campus as center director Bill Moseley represents free services for veterans at the grand opening of the Bexar County Veterans Services office at college partner Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston on Nov. 12. 

The center team purchased the wreaths for both of the college's ceremonies and two POW-MIA Table of Honor settings for display at the college's campuses. In coming years, the tables---semi-official place of honor in some dining facilities of the armed forces in memory of fallen, missing in action, or prisoner of war service-members---might be displayed as high-visibility exhibits in the college's multicampus library system. With a dignified place for persistent visibility, visitors without access to defense sites can learn for free in multiple environments St. Philip’s College offers to allow visitors ample time to read, reflect and research online on what each item in the setting symbolizes. 

One original primary mission of community colleges in America was to serve the workforce education needs of servicemembers transitioning back to civilian life in the final months of World War II, such as the Tuskegee Airmen. St. Philip's College owes its most significant enrollment growth period to that special population of veterans of World War II service in the Armed Forces. Their children and grandchildren served during the Vietnam era. Today, community colleges educate half of America’s college students, including children whose parents and grandparents served in the Vietnam era. 

Georgia Flores is the senior advisor for military support services at the St. Philip’s College Good Samaritan Veterans Outreach and Transition Center. Her spouse will speak during both events, and this is a family first for the college. 

"I am on the veterans committee at the college and I volunteered him to be the guest speaker because we were looking for a veteran who had served in the recent wars. He has not been involved in any other previous programs with our college and I am a fairly new employee at the college. We recently relocated to San Antonio after his retirement from the Army, and this is an exciting project for us," said Flores.

Some of the college’s alumni, faculty and current students have been on amazing journeys as uniformed and civilian service members in the community of veterans being recognized and recalled on Veterans Day. 

  • St. Philip's College is home of both one of the first Military Order of the Purple Heart colleges programs in the state and iconic inventor St. Philip's College Professor Emeritus Dr. William C. Davis, who is a Purple Heart recipient for service in the line of duty during the Korean War. With a science building named in his honor, Davis still maintains an office on the campus of the Military Order of the Purple Heart program college.
  • The year 2018 marks the tenth anniversary graduation year of 2008 kinesiology program alumnus and Cibolo native Allen Cherry, III. As an Air Force senior airman in 2016, Cherry completed a year of leadership after earning three of the highest recognitions and responsibilities a military service member can receive for leadership, performance, involvement and achievement---the Air Force Association 2015 USAF Outstanding Airmen of the Year award.
  • Nationally regarded educator Daniel Leija (1985) met with President Barrack Obama as Texas’ member of the nation's 61st State Teachers of the Year cohort, promoting the college with the support of the oldest, most prestigious national honors program which focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. He was the Texas Education Agency's 2011 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year., and in addition to supporting the troops-to-teachers movement in America, has been a guest at college homecoming programs in the past.
  • Retired Soldier and current sociology student Angelia Jacobs has provided exemplary corporate leadership and corporate team building services in her capacity as the college's Student Government President and as an Alamo Colleges District Alternate Student Trustee in the era when St. Philip’s College experienced record graduation rates and earned the elite Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence.
  • St. Philip’s College’s second recipient of the $15,000 The Whataburger Scholarship---endowed through the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation by Tom Dobson, owner of Whataburger---is a community college-degreed scholar and member of San Antonio’s startup and corporate government communities. Harry Staley, Jr., is an alumnus of the Texas Business Hall of Fame scholarships program that was part of his illustrious St. Philip’s College experience, and he is a valued Department of the Army civilian in a business intelligence branch http://www.micc.army.mil/communicator.asp in Military City U.S.A.
  • The first former service member to enroll and first to graduate from the college’s Licensed Vocational Nurse to Registered Nurse/Military to RN Mobility Program is Navy veteran and 2018 alumnus Sam Pentowski. He is also an EMT saving lives in San Antonio. St. Philip's College was a stop on the pioneering alumnus' journey to becoming a nurse who works on a commercial ship that could be conducting business anywhere on the high seas of the Earth. Realistically envisioning the day he becomes a medical officer on a ship, Pentowski studied in the emergency room environment of the St. Philip's College Dr. Frank Bryant, Jr., Patient Simulation Center and Nursing Laboratories twice a week. At some points in those weeks of study, working in the Tier 1 Trauma environment at University Hospital was a treasured activity. And on other days of the week this summer, Pentowski served the Westside of San Antonio as a crew member on 13-hour shifts with Superior Care Ambulance in Military City U.S.A.
  • One late St. Philip's College faculty member left a great legacy of service to her country and her industry before passing just before the start of the fall 2019 class season. The former faculty member is Dr. Clara Beatrice Wallace, retired Air Force colonel (1936-2018). Wallace was commissioned into the Air Force as a second lieutenant during the Cold War, in 1961. The 1959 alumna of Prairie View A&M University's College of Nursing received her bachelor of science in nursing, passed state boards, and worked as a nursing instructor at the university before joining the Air Force. Wallace did not enter her profession expecting to become the Pentagon’s consultant to the U.S. Surgeon General, but that is one of her notable acts of public service on the way to teaching students at St. Philip’s College. Her military duties and titles ranged from flight nurse and to Military Consultant to the Surgeon General, according to her obituary. One of many standout images of Wallace in the photo gallery of her online obituary includes Wallace on duty amid the grime, glam and truly dangerous spy games of the Berlin Wall, an iconic image that could have been the inspiration for the many good and patriotic characters of the 2017 action film Atomic Blonde. Wallace earned a master’s in nursing from The University of Washington (1967), and was a veteran of such military campaigns as the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm/Shield before retiring from the Air Force in in 1992 after 30 years of military service.
  • When Ralph Edward Weaver retired from service with the 120-year-old college in 1986, he and his spouse---late faculty member Dolly Weaver---were both awarded Professor Emeritus status. "This was the first time the College had awarded this status to any Vocational Teacher." according to Weaver's October 2018 online obituary. He passed Oct. 10, according to the obituary from Hurley Funeral Home in Lytle. Prior to the Weaver era at St. Philip's College, Ralph Weaver served as an Airman in the Army Air Corps in WWII. In post-war life, the Weaver family ran a custom upholstery and drapery business in Harlingen before moving to San Antonio. The Weavers both first made college history as the parents of four former college programs. While Ralph Weaver started the college's upholstery, furniture refinishing and tailoring departments, Dolly Weaver started the college's interior decorating department, responsible for the formal educations of many entrepreneurs who went on to start and run successful businesses in the contract interior design and furniture-making sectors.

Historically among the area’s top three colleges preferred by local military consumers, roughly 1,200 benefit–eligible uniformed, civilian, retired, transitioning and family servicemembers attend the college in fall and spring semesters, and approximately 750 during summer terms. St. Philip’s College is one of the 1,900 Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges® Consortium Member Institutions, a consortium of Pentagon–certified “military–friendly institutions with flexible policies that allow mobile servicemembers and their families to complete degrees rather than just accumulate course credit.” The colleges also pledge to be military–friendly and design policies and practices in the student services, admissions, and marketing areas that provide easy access to accurate information about the school, its degree programs, policies, and procedures. The multi-campus institution has operated a campus on a former Air Force base in San Antonio for 27 years, and ceremonies honoring the armed forces are part of its regular business operations. More importantly, ceremony spectators should take away critical knowledge beyond the pageantry, that the college asks no homage, merely the opportunity to serve selflessly and strategically in Military City USA---without charge at its Veterans Outreach and Transition Center---and at very lost cost for tuition.

For details on the two events, contact Veronica Griego, the college’s senior coordinator of student success in its Veterans Service Office, at 210-486-2540, vgriego3@alamo.edu.