Students Attend Investiture Ceremony and Meet Tuskegee Airmen

February 28, 2020

Alexa Saavedra, Strategic Communications Coordinator

St. Philip’s College students were invited to attend the investiture on February 20, 2020, of Judge Jason Pulliam, the first African American judge to be appointed to the bench in the U.S. District Court’s Western District of Texas.

During the investiture ceremony, students listened as Pulliam explained his path out of poverty through education. As a first-generation graduate, his exposure to advanced degrees led him to overcome poverty and find his place in law. Pulliam served in the U.S. Marine Corps and earned his law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in 2000.

Students also had the opportunity to meet Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen, SMSgt James Bynum and Dr. Eugene Derricotte. In the early 1940s, political pressure exerted by the black press, civil rights groups and historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) lead to the United States Army Air Corps (Army Air Forces) decision to train a small number of African American pilot cadets resulting in the formation of the Tuskegee Airmen.

The success of the Tuskegee Airmen proved to the American public that African Americans could become effective military leaders and pilots. It also helped set the stage for civil rights advocates to continue their struggle to end racial discrimination during the civil rights movement.

Today, African Americans make up about 7 percent of San Antonio’s population; most of whom reside in the city’s Eastside. As a point of pride in the Eastside community, St. Philip's College, founded in 1898, is a comprehensive public community college whose mission is to empower its diverse student population through educational achievement and career readiness.

“As a student, having these experiences and opportunities allows me to prepare for my career. I learned a lot from Pulliam especially from his journey through life, it was inspiring,” said Criminal Justice student Jacqueline Brown.

As a Historically Black College and Hispanic Serving Institution, St. Philip's College is a vital facet of the community, responding to the needs of a population rich in ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic diversity. In February, the campus hosted a series of events to motivate, inspire and enlighten the SPC community in honor of Black History Month. Last fall, Pulliam served as the keynote speaker to a cohort of over 350 students during SPC's commencement ceremony.

“The diversity on campus is apparent, the college serves its audience and provides the opportunities for students to be successful,” said Jacqueline.

Connect with SPC online on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.