Graduate Spotlight: Joe Harris

May 15, 2024

SPC Marketing & Strategic Communications


Joe Harris’ journey from Army veteran to honors student is an inspiring story. After enduring a life-changing ankle injury during his service, the Erie, Pennsylvania native found a new beginning in San Antonio.

At the age of 34, he was in the Brooke Army Medical Center's rehabilitation program with a 3% chance of ever walking again. Despite this, he found peace in the middle of it all. “I stared out the window every day and I felt hope. I knew San Antonio was the place for me. Looking across downtown, all I could think of was good memories with the SPURS, Riverwalk, Sea World, and Fiesta Texas,” he stated.

Transitioning out of the military was not easy, but Joe's determination to rebuild his life led him to St. Philip’s College in the Spring 2022 semester. “I searched while I was deciding where I wanted to live after rehab. I looked at schools with respiratory programs, and St. Philip’s College was one of the first that popped up. When I saw that the college was an HBCU and HSI, I knew I would fit in because of my ethnicity as an Afro-Cuban.”

Joe has thrived at St. Philip’s. He has excelled mentally, medically, and academically while maintaining a 4.0 and earning the President’s Award every semester. His involvement in the Blue Blazer Society, serving as Vice President of Fellowship for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society – Psi Kappa Chapter, and president of the Bowling Club at Tiger Lanes echoes his commitment to fostering a supportive environment for all.

This May, Joe Harris will earn his Associate of Science Biology Pre-Major and will serve as the Spring 2024 Commencement Speaker. He plans to continue his education in the medical field as a respiratory therapist and later go to the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Congratulations Joe!

For more information on the Spring 2024 Commencement Ceremony, click here.

Spring 2024 Commencement
Thursday, May 23, 2024
4:00 p.m.