SAN ANTONIO – Other than a fireworks display, an event celebrating the 125th anniversary of St. Philip’s College on Wednesday is sold out.
But its yearlong observance, “Securing Our Legacy,” will offer a series of events for its students and the public.
“I think Miss Bowden would be proud,” said Dr. Adena Williams Loston, who is also marking her 16th year Wednesday as St. Philip’s College president.
Saint Artemisia Bowden, who was canonized by the Episcopal Church, began with a grammar school that also taught cooking and sewing for young girls who had been enslaved.
Yet 125 years later, following a visit by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board earlier this year, Loston said cybersecurity is now the first four-year degree program at St. Philip’s College.
“So, we’ve taken it to yet another level,” Loston said.
She said in fact, the school’s new cyber range building is named in honor of Saint Bowden.
Loston said the building will house classes for juniors and seniors, and another building is being renovated for freshmen and sophomores.
She said the National Security Agency and the US Department of Homeland Security had already identified St. Philip’s as a “center of excellence in cyber defense” since 2011.
Loston said she expects St. Philip’s first four-year cybersecurity major will graduate in 2026.
She said its litany of two-year programs also are in high demand both at the school and in the business world.
Besides the affordability factor, Loston said St. Philip’s is no longer focused on minimum wage jobs.
“Now, it’s jobs that pay a living wage,” Loston said.
She said its workforce programs lead to salaries “in the high sixties and seventies.”
“Students are getting signing bonuses for certain programs,” Loston said. “We have a 92-93% placement rate.”
“So, we’re proud of the programs that we have,” Loston said.
Despite a drop in enrollment due to the pandemic, Loston said about 13,000 students attend St. Philip’s and enrollment is growing.
St. Philip’s is no longer a community college, Loston said, in the sense that now students come from throughout Bexar County and surrounding areas.
“We’ve just opened five new buildings,” Loston said. “We’ve still got $114 million in construction right now for upgrading additional buildings.”
At this rate, what is Loston’s prediction for St. Philip’s next 125 years?
She said, “Oh, a full-blown university!”