Women's History Month


Women: Providing Healing Promoting Hope

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982, as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields. [https://womenshistorymonth.gov/]

St. Philip's College is celebrating Women's History Month (WHM) beginning March 1, 2022. The 2022 WHM schedule features events for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community. The diverse schedule of virtual programs and events strives to motivate, inspire and enlighten the SPC community in honor of National Women's History Month.

Celebrating Women's History Month

We are kicking off the month with a screening of "City of Joy" with a follow-up discussion with Dr. Joelle Nanivazo on March 3, 2022, at 3 PM in the Sutton Learning Center (SLC) 115.

SPC Women of Distinction

Gertha Lockett Murphy


At 107-years-old, Gertha Lockett Murphy is the St. Philip’s College and Alamo Colleges District’s oldest-living alumni. Murphy was born on May 20, 1913, in Goodwill, Texas, a small community in Washington County. She is the daughter of late farmers and the granddaughter of a former U.S. slave. Murphy graduated from St. Philip’s in 1936 and worked in civil service for 27 years at Kelly Air Force Base. At the age of 60, she earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of the Incarnate Word.

Every May, the college honors and celebrates Murphy with a birthday bash hosted by St. Philip's College President, Dr. Adena Williams Loston. The annual celebration is attended by SPC and ACD employees, community members and Murphy’s family and friends. Murphy is active at the college and never misses St. Philip’s Homecoming festivities. She has met every one of the college’s presidents, including President Emeritus Artemisia Bowden.

Dr. Marie Pannell Thurston


As an educator and community advocate, Dr. Marie Pannell Thurston has been empowering community members for over 45 years.  Early in her career, Dr. Thurston was a secondary educator and counselor --shaping the minds of youth in her community. In her early career, she received the Wiesbaden (Germany) Junior High School Counselor of Year award in 1972 and 1973.

She became an advocate for San Antonio women and families in 1975 when she accepted a position as a Child Development Specialist with the Department of Human Services. She held the position for only five years, but continued to promote women’s issues through her community service.

From 1979 to 1992, she owned and operated two women’s apparel stores.  In 2007, she joined the initial Board for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy. The Academy is an Exemplary High Performing National Blue Ribbon School that teaches girls to be responsible leaders with effective decision-making skills and prepares them for higher education.  During her tenure on the board, she nurtured advantageous partnerships for the academy as well as promoted the school to minority girls.

For ten years, she worked with the Women’s Global Connection organization fostering innovative partnerships to support projects linking women and girls to education, technology and business opportunities.

Living in downtown San Antonio, she found herself serving on the Board of Directors of Centro San Antonio Management Corporation for two years.  The board served as a “think tank” that advocated for members and property owners and provided leadership for important community issues in order to improve the “downtown experience.”

Dr. Thurston has collaborated with many individuals and organizations throughout the years garnering recognition for her work in the community. She received the National Conference of Christians and Jews (known now as United Communities) Brotherhood/Sisterhood Humanitarian award alongside her husband, Dr. Charles Thurston, in 2006.  They were the first husband and wife team to share the award.  She also received the Top Ladies of Distinction Humanitarian Award and San Antonio Women’s Chamber of Commerce North Star Award for exemplary service to the city.

In 2002, Dr. Thurston undertook the task of compiling the history of St. Philip’s College using artifacts and narratives of past and current administrators, employees, faculty and students. The book, “St. Philip’s College: A Point of Pride on San Antonio’s Eastside” starts in 1898 and chronicles the journey of SPC’s first president, Miss Artemisia Bowden, to the current president, Dr. Adena Williams Loston. It was published by Texas A&M University Press in 2007.

Dr. Gloria M. Jackson


Dr. Gloria M. Jackson, the second female president of St. Philip’s College, led the institution from 1982 to 1984.

She graduated from Prairie View A&M College (now Prairie View A&M University) with a bachelor’s degree in home economics with additional studies in elementary education. She took a position in Bastrop as a Negro Home Demonstration Agent – a county extension agent who visited and assisted rural families with food processing, youth development, farming and livestock management.

When her husband was hired at Alcorn State University in Mississippi, Jackson accompanied him and they both worked for the historically black institution. She later decided to earn a master’s degree and the state of Mississippi helped fund her pursuit at Indiana University.

In 1973, Dr. Jackson left Alcorn State, where she was a full professor and relocated to San Antonio. She joined SPC as an assistant professor in the Business Department. She later became department chair and held various leadership positions.

She was selected as President of St. Philip’s College and led for two years. She left St. Philip’s in 1984 to work for ACCD Chancellor Dr. Byron McClenney on special projects, including the opening of Palo Alto College in 1985.  Dr. Jackson found that she missed teaching and interacting with students, so she took a faculty position at San Antonio College.

Her retirement in 1999, marked her 50th year in education. 

Saint Artemisia Bowden


For the month of March, St. Philip’s College will be celebrating the lives and legacy of valiant women in honor of National Women’s History Month. What better way to kick-off the Women of Distinction series by a woman that needs no introduction - Artemisia Bowden. The history of St. Philip’s is intricately woven with the life of Saint Artemisia Bowden and her commitment to quality education continues to shape the mission and values of the college. Artemisia Bowden demonstrated that there was no greater calling than to have education become a focal point in her community for the marginalized citizens.

Last year, SPC celebrated the fifth anniversary of the canonization of Bowden by the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church that took place in 2015, with August 18 being named her saint day. The church added her name to its liturgical calendar and the denomination’s book, “Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints.” She is among the company of the Holy Bible's Peter, Paul, John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, and notable African-Americans like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Harriett Beecher Stowe, Harriett Tubman, Frederick Douglas and James Weldon Johnson.

The same year she was elevated to sainthood, she was named President Emeritus by the Alamo Colleges District in recognition of her leadership and service to SPC. The daughter of emancipated slaves led the institution from 1902 to 1954. During her time at the helm, Miss Bowden had to overcome many obstacles due to the effects of The Depression. As a result, the college ceased to function as a private institution and joined the San Antonio Independent School District and later to the San Antonio Union Junior College, today known as Alamo Colleges District. The transition led to Ms. Bowden’s title change from President to Dean which she served as until retiring in 1954.

Women History Month Events

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