SPC Alumnae to Shine Brightly at Constellation of Stars Awards Gala

November 2, 2018

Public Information Officer


At the chamber’s Constellation of Stars Awards Gala on Nov. 10, the honored---Artemisia Bowden, Lila Cockrell, Marie Pannell Thurston and Nettie Hinton---reflect the inspiring breadth and depth of St. Philip’s College as the pillar of education in the city

A triple-feature special event honoring the best-of-the-best women who assisted in shaping the city of San Antonio over its 300-year 1718-2018 timeline includes several alumnae of the St. Philip's College corporate leadership, faculty, student and business partnership experience.

The event is the 2018 San Antonio Women's Chamber of Commerce Constellation of Stars Awards Gala Nov. 10 in The Vista at Valero at 1 Valero Way, and four legendary St. Philip's College alumnae are being honored during each moment in the Tricentennial-themed experience. 

The chamber announced that its annual Constellation of Stars Awards recipients for 2018 will include college faculty alumni member Dr. Marie Pannell Thurston, author of the definitive 2013 document on the eras of St. Philip’s College, the reference book St. Philip's College: A Point of Pride on San Antonio's Eastside, an oral history book observing its fifth anniversary in 2018---written by Thurston in her former capacity as oral history coordinator and published by Texas A&M University Press. The book was the first in the Texas A&M University Press Peoples and Cultures of Texas series, and proceeds from sales continue to fund scholarships for students at St. Philip’s College.

Parts Two and Three of the triple-feature chamber event join as one and feature three of the college's A-Plus alumnae superstars. Those events within the event are the chamber's 30th Anniversary Celebration and the chamber’s Tribute to the Tri Centennial 30. The honored reflect the breadth and depth of St. Philip’s College as a pillar of education and prosperity in the city.

  • 2014 honorary college alumna The Honorable Lila Cockrell, Mayor Emeritus, City of San Antonio is observing in 2018 the fifth anniversary of St. Philip’s College conferring an honorary degree to the Armed Forces Veteran in 2014, and the fifth anniversary of the popular long-term exhibition from The Lila Cockrell African American Art Collection in the Bowden Art Gallery of the G. J. Sutton Learning Center at St. Philip's College.
  • Saint and President Emeritus Artemisia Bowden led the nondenominational public college for 52 years (1902–1954). She is one of the few educators in the world to earn Holy Woman status for her half century-plus corporate leadership of 120-year-old St. Philip's College
  • 1957 outstanding alumna The Honorable Nettie Hinton is being honored as a pioneering activist, and she spoke today of her inspirational ties to several of the honorees at the chamber program, all in the context of history and including once nominating Thurston for a Juneteenth Legacy Award during the local Juneteenth Freedom Dinner in 2013 and studying under nuns at the St. Peter Claver School founded by 2018 honoree-in-memoriam Rev. Mother Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy. Hinton, who served in several unique federal positions in her career, is also a 1955 alumna of the St. Peter Claver School that Healy-Murphy (1833-1907) opened in 1888 to educate freed slaves and their descendants in San Antonio as part of a Catholic faith outreach campaign for African-Americans and other members of enslaved or disenfranchised populations.

Dr. Marie Thurston is being honored because the history of such Historically Black College and University member institutions as St. Philip’s College is for the most part unwritten and does not reflect who the people who led and attended the colleges are and what those people have accomplished over time,” Hinton, the person responsible for nominating Thurston to receive the award, said in 2013. “The colleges and their leaders have been influential in making certain that Black people can fully take part in a democratic society due to education,” Hinton said. 

“I'm a child of San Antonio's East Side,” Hinton said today. “I will be 80 in January and I’ve had the opportunity to have lived through the era of Jim Crow segregation through whatever we call our era now. As a child, I had the honor of counting the presence of Saint Artemisia Bowden among my two mentors who were of great value who were not family members, along with Prudence Curry, the librarian at The Colored Carver Library when I was a child growing up across the street from that library. My grandmother, who I understand taught (activist) Claude Black in first grade, is the second mentor. Women showed me how endless the possibilities are to use my gifts for the good of people you represent. Then, because the time I graduated from St. Philip’s College in 1957 with my wonderful Associate of Arts degree was when Thurgood Marshall was arguing ‘separate versus equal’ for the Brown versus the Board of Education decision, that allowed me an immediate transfer from St. Philip’s College to be among the first Blacks who graduated [in education] from the University of Texas in Austin in 1960. To show you how strategic and valuable a community college education is, I transferred into UT-Austin with the Associate of Arts… so the [other Black non-community college] students who entered before me in 1956… I earned my degree before those Blacks who arrived first---and we integrated UT. St. Philip’s College and Saint Artemisia Bowden and Rev. Mother Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy with the nuns of Claver have been very significant in my life in helping me to order my steps. They were so integral in my life and my development. St. Philip’s Episcopal Church---the college’s founding church---and The Sankofa Institute for African American Pastoral Leadership at Oblate School of Theology honored me this year. I said ‘Oh my god,’ but it’s okay. I just keep showing up!” said Hinton. 

The full list of the 30 honored at the event web page is: Hon. Lila Cockrell, Rosemary Kowalski, Nettie Hinton, Dr. Gloria Rodriguez, Virginia (Ginger) Purdy, Mary Maverick*, Mary Eleanor Brackenridge*, Jesse Marion Koogler McNay*, Emma Beatrice Tenayuca*, Florence Butt*, Lydia Mendoza*, Maria Gertrudis Perez Cordero Cassiano*, Eleanor Onderdonk*, Mother Madeleine (Louise Chollet)*, Artemisia Bowden*, Ellen Dorothy Schulz Quillin*, Teresa and Andrea Villareal*, Adina (Augustine) Emilia De Zavala*, Sister St. Marie Trouard*, Maria Robaina de Bethencourt*, Maria Josefa Granados*, Emma Koehler*, Maria Josefa Augustina Becerra Seguin*, Clara Driscoll*, Anna Goodman Hertzberg*, Ella Austin*, Rev. Mother Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy*, Katherine Stinson*, Andrea Castanon Villanueva* and Dolores Burton Linton* (*=deceased).

The San Antonio Women’s Chamber of Commerce promotes the business, economic, and leadership development of women in Bexar County while serving as the leading organization to advocate, connect and empower women in business in the community. Bowden, Cockrell and Hinton are among the honored women to keep an eye on during the chamber's 30th anniversary season. With St. Philip’s College as a 2018 sponsor, the San Antonio Women's Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in partnership with the chamber, co-hosts the Annual Constellation of Stars Awards Gala to honor the women in the community who personify the pillars of the chamber mission to Advocate, Connect, and Empower women, girls and families in our community. Find program details at the chamber web page. (Archival images of Artemisia Bowden portrait and Lila Cockrell in 2015 meet-the-artist reception courtesy SPC | 2018 image of Nettie Hinton is an SPC image by Julysa Sosa)